The Takedown Project is a collaborative effort housed at UC-Berkeley School of Law and the American Assembly to study notice and takedown procedures. Researchers in the US, Europe, and other countries are working collaboratively to understand this fundamental regulatory system for global online speech.

Recent Work

August 2018: Sharon Bar-Ziv and Niva Elkin-Koren have published a new empirical study of large-scale random sample of 10,000 removal requests sent to Google Search regarding materials on .il (Israel) websites. The article, Behind the Scenes of Online Copyright Enforcement: Empirical Evidence on Notice and Takedown, sheds light on major changes that have taken place in copyright enforcement following the transition to the online arena over the past decade. The authors find that the notice and takedown procedure has been extensively used to remove noninfringing materials, and most removal requests pertained to allegedly inaccurate, defamatory, or misleading content, raising serious concerns that the notice and takedown procedure is becoming fertile ground for misuse. They also find that online enforcement is dominated by multinational companies, which prefer to target global intermediaries rather than attempt to remove materials hosted by local platforms, potentially resulting in under-enforcement. Bar-Ziv and Elkin-Koren used the Coding Engine (see the “Projects” page for information) developed by Takedown Project researchers to analyze the notices.

May 2018: The Stanford Center for Internet and Society (CIS) completed its new and improved World Intermediary Liability Map. Through the contribution of a global team of experts, the WILMap tracks the rapidly changing laws and other developments that shape online speech and platform responsibility around the world. New features include:

February 2018: Jennifer M. Urban, Joe Karaganis, and Brianna L. Schofield’s empirical work on how Section 512 notice and takedown works “on the ground” has now been published in two papers in the peer-reviewed Journal of the Copyright Society of the USA. “Notice and Takedown: Online Service Provider and Rightsholder Accounts of Everyday Practice” reports on our qualitative study of the experiences of online service providers and large rightsholders with notice and takedown. “Takedown in Two Worlds: An Empirical Analysis” reports on our quantitative studies of notices from the Lumen database. Read together, the studies provide a broad picture of notice and takedown as experienced by some stakeholders.

December 2017: Knud Wallberg of the University of Copenhagen published a new paper in the Oxford University Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice. The article discusses the relationship and connection between the contractually based ‘notice and takedown procedures’ (NTD procedures) that are widely applied by operators of online marketplaces, and the fundamental rights of the three main parties to such procedures. An abstract is available here.

June 2017: Jennifer Urban, Joe Karaganis, and Brianna Schofield released a response to Dr. George S. Ford’s review of Notice and Takedown in Everyday Practice. Click here to read the response (or here for the html version).

March 2017: Jennifer Urban, Brianna Schofield, and Joe Karaganis released the coded samples from their research report, Notice and Takedown in Everyday Practice, along with detailed documentation. These materials are available to anyone who agrees to certain research ethics practices. More information and links to the materials are here. In addition to the data, they released an updated version of Notice and Takedown in Everyday Practice, with a few updates and corrections to the text, and new documentation in additional appendices.

December 2016: Nicolo Zingales and colleagues’ new report, Terms of Service and Human Rights: an Analysis of Online Platform Contracts, analyzes the Terms of Service of 50 online platforms and assesses how they deal with the human rights to freedom of expression, privacy, and due process.

May 2016: Martin Husovec’s new paper, Accountable, Not Liable: Injunctions Against Intermediaries undertakes a law and economics analysis of intermediary liability and conceptualizes the role of injunctions against non-infringing intermediaries.

March 2016: Jennifer M. Urban, Joe Karaganis, and Brianna L. Schofield’s report, Notice and Takedown in Everyday Practice, provides a broad picture of how section 512 notice and takedown works on the ground. The report is based on three empirical studies, combining qualitative survey and interview data with two quantitative analyses of takedown notices housed at Lumen.


November 2015: Brianna L. Schofield and Jennifer M. Urban’s recent paper, Takedown and Today’s Academic Digital Library, examines academic libraries’ interaction with DMCA and non-DMCA takedown requests.

August 2015: Results from three studies undertaken by the teams at The American Assembly and Berkeley Law are coming soon. One aspect of their findings is discussed in the Communications of the ACM’s September issue.

2015: Annemarie Bridy’s forthcoming paper, Internet Payment Blockades, discusses the use and efficacy of “follow the money” enforcement for anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy purposes.  Bridy’s forthcoming book chapter, Copyright’s Digital Deputies: DMCA-Plus Enforcement by Internet Intermediaries, surveys cooperative enforcement measures beyond what the DMCA requires by both intermediaries that are eligible for section 512 safe harbors and those that are not liable under secondary liability doctrines.

2014: The American Assembly and Berkeley Law teams are currently conducting confidential interviews about notice and takedown with online service providers, notice senders, and rights enforcement services. We welcome participation; please contact the teams if you have interest in participating. The published results of this survey will be limited to aggregated information and generalizations based on confidential responses. (Update: This study has concluded; results are available here, here, and here.)

2014: The American Assembly and Berkeley Law teams are currently soliciting confidential survey responses  from online service providers about notice and takedown. We are conducting a survey of OSPs and a survey of libraries and archives to learn more about their experience with the DMCA and the evolution of DMCA practices. The published results of this survey will be limited to aggregated information and generalizations based on confidential responses. (Update: This study has concluded; results will be available soon.)

March 2014: Daniel Seng, Stanford Law School, has released a paper, The State of the Discordant Union: An Empirical Analysis of DMCA Takedown Notices. Forthcoming to the Virginia Journal of Law and Technology, the paper charts a 711,887 percent increase in DMCA notices received by Google over the time of the study. Seng’s research systematically analyzes half a million takedown notices drawn from Google’s Transparency Report.

November 2013: Christina Angelopoulos, Institute for Information Law at University of Amsterdam, published Beyond the Safe Habours – Harmonising Substantive Intermediary Liability for Copyright Infringement in Europe. The article examines intermediary liability under the regimes in the UK, France and Germany, picking out their commonalities and divergences and revealing the confusion that governs the topic across European borders.

September 2013: Brendan Van Alsenoy, Aleksandra Kuczerawy, and Jef Ausloos published Search Engines after ‘Google Spain’: Internet@Liberty or Privacy@Peril? at the 41st Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy. The paper analyzes the role of search engines with regards to privacy, freedom of expression, and due process within the framework of EU Data Protection Directive 95/46.

Events and News

May 16, 2018: The Stanford Center for Internet and Society (CIS) launched its new and improved World Intermediary Liability Map at RightsCon Toronto 2018.

February 2, 2018: Content Moderation & Removal at Scale Conference. Santa Clara University is hosting a conference to explore how Internet companies operationalize the moderation and removal of third party/user-generated content (UGC). A range of Internet companies, big and small, will participate. This conference promises to be fascinating, timely, and informative. Registration and information here.

March 2016: Annemarie Bridy and Daphne Keller submitted extensive comments in response to the Copyright Office’s Notice and Request for Public Comment on the impact and effectiveness of Section 512.

March 2016: Brianna Schofield presented research on academic libraries and takedown at the Future of Libraries in the Digital Age symposium on Mar. 25, 2016.

January 2016: Joe Karaganis and Brianna Schofield presented research findings at the Copyright Society of the USA Conference in New York City on Jan. 19, 2016.

December 2015: Joe Karaganis and Brianna Schofield shared preliminary findings from Section 512 notice and takedown empirical research at the 4th Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest in New Delhi, India on Dec. 17, 2015.

November 2015: Joe Karaganis presented preliminary findings from Section 512 notice and takedown empirical research at the 2015 Conference on Empirical Research on Copyright Issues (CERCI) on Nov. 20, 2015.

September 2015: Joe Karaganis presented new empirical work on the rise of automated notice and takedown practices at this year’s European Policy for Intellectual Property conference at the University of Glasgow, Sept. 2-3, 2015.

July 2014: Intellectual Property Watch features the Takedown Project in an article describing the Takedown Research Network and its goal of creating greater transparency on notice and takedown practices in order to improve the quality of this global regulatory system.

July 2014: The World Intermediary Liability Map (WILMap) launches. The WILMap is a detailed English-language resource comprised of case law, statutes, and proposed laws related to intermediary liability worldwide. The WILMap covers more than 50 jurisdictions in Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe.

The WILMap is an ongoing project at CIS and is led by Giancarlo Frosio. CIS will continue to update and expand the map with the help of an amazing network of collaborators from around the world. The WILMap will also add enhanced interface, usability features, and data aggregation tools in the near future. Check the map out here.

May 2014: Takedown Network members Jef Ausloos, Annemarie BridyLilian Edwards, and Martin Husovec comment on the Google Spain “Right to be Forgotten” decision, requiring Google to take down links to to webpages containing personal data. See Ausloos’ coverage on the LSE Media Policy Blog, Bridy’s at Freedom to Tinker, Edwards’ on panGloss, and Husovec’s on the CIS Blog. Additionally, Motherboard asked Joris van Hoboken for his perspective on the decision.

May 13, 2014: The Court of Justice of the European Union released its long-awaited judgement in Google Spain. The case lies at the intersection of data protection law, freedom of expression and intermediary liability. The Court ruled that – under certain circumstances – search engines can be asked to remove links to webpages containing personal data. Download the judgment and opinion here.

May 2, 2014:  The Takedown Research Network held an all-day workshop at the University of California, Berkeley to share ongoing and planned projects, research methodologies, and challenges and successes. Researchers discussed ongoing projects, shared tools and data sets useful in studying takedown, discussed current policy debates and reform efforts, and identified next steps to continue to leverage efforts across jurisdictions and research groups.

April 2-3, 2014: 18th Annual BCLT/BTLJ Symposium: The Next Great Copyright Act, Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. This conference brought together scholars, policymakers, and representatives of various stakeholder groups to consider what changes would make for a next great copyright act. Brianna Schofield, Research and Policy Fellow in the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, was among the featured speakers at the event. She presented some of the Takedown Project work.

December 13, 2013: Intermediary Liability Workshop II at the 3rd Global Congress on IP & the Public Interest in Cape Town, South Africa. The Takedown Project convened a workshop to discuss research and policy efforts and to grow connections. Rules governing the liability of online service providers for copyright infringement are likely to be reexamined in a number of jurisdictions in the coming years, including in the US and EU.  In part, this is a response to changes in the landscape around intermediary liability, such as the use of robots and automated systems by all participants in the enforcement ecology – pirates, enforcement groups, and service providers.  The research community on this issue remains small and in need of better coordination and knowledge sharing. This meeting engaged researchers from around the world interested in being part of a research community.

June 28-29, 2013: Intermediary Liability Workshop I at Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam (IViR). Hosted in conjunction with an IViR workshop on intermediary liability, the Takedown Project convened a group of European researchers working on intermediary liability  to identify and connect major research efforts.