ESA nails 5 million for copyright infringement

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The Entertainment Software Association sent approximately 3.4 million takedown notices regarding 5.4 million allegedly copyright-infringing game-related files. Roughly 96 percent of those files were removed from the web thanks to the notice, as the organization revealed in a recent report. Nearly 5.2 million of the offending files were taken down between January and November 2012, and 55-percent of them were removed within 24 hours of the notice being sent.

The ESA also worked with Google to get 99,500 search results linked to infringing game files deleted. An additional 94,719 listings on sites like eBay and Craigslist were removed as well. The year’s efforts also led to the complete shutdown of 31 piracy websites.

The ESA, which hosts the Electronic Entertainment Expo every year in Los Angeles, works to fight game piracy and “protect members’ businesses from various piracy threats” in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Singapore, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Korea. In 2012, it held 32 training sessions to educate an estimated 1,250 law enforcement officials worldwide on recognizing and stopping game piracy.

That 5.2 million is an impressive figure, but it’s hard to know how deeply the ESA’s efforts cut into piracy when we don’t have a real sense of what the overall totals are across the Internet. Does 5.2 million really represent a significant portion? Especially when we’re talking about an organization that ultimately polices only seven countries? The ESA should be proud of its 2012 successes, but the picture presented in this report is incomplete enough that last year’s victory comes with a heavy asterisk attached.

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