DMCA Notices Took Down 20,517 GitHub Projects Last Year * TorrentFreak

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GitHub received more than 2,000 valid DMCA takedown notices last year, resulting in the removal of more than 20,000 projects. The specific repositories included pirated apps and games, as well as hundreds of RARBG backups. The number of demolitions has increased significantly in recent years. However, legitimate projects have grown faster and GitHub says it continues to take a developer-centric approach.

With more than 420 million code repositories, GitHub is proud to be the largest and most advanced development platform in the world.

Like other platforms that host user-generated content, this huge code library occasionally has copyright infringement issues.

Pirate developers

In some cases, people use code without getting permission from the creators, while others use GitHub to store pirated books or even music. And there are also developers whose projects are considered pirated tools or applications, which often leads to complaints from copyright holders.

Some high-profile shootdowns have grabbed headlines over the years, including the Removal of YouTube-DL by the RIAAwhich was later reversed.

Other rights holders were more successful: GitHub removed a variety of hacking apps last year, including vancedflix and flow cloud. After the disappearance of the original torrent site, hundreds of RARBG magnet link repositories They were also shot down.

The RARBG repositories appeared online last May, shortly after the popular torrent site closed its doors. In response, some archivists collected the site's magnet links and posted them on GitHub. Others copied these repositories to keep data secure, but most of this effort was nullified by a single delete request.

20,517 repositories down

This week, GitHub updated its latest transparency report with the latest data, which reveals the total number of notices received and projects affected. The report shows that the platform processed just over 2,000 takedown notices in 2023, affecting 20,517 repositories.

Of all the notifications received, only 35 were challenged or retracted and, as a result, a total of 65 repositories remained online.

As seen above, most of the repositories were closed in March. After looking at the reported advisories, we could not immediately find anyone responsible for this large increase, but with many hundreds of "Eaglecraft” repositories marked by Minecraft's parent company, Mojang, which certainly left a mark.

GitHub says it will continue to take a developer-centric approach to content moderation, minimizing disruption to software projects while protecting developer privacy. These transparency reports and publicly posted takedown notices are a means to that end.

The transparency report also sheds light on how takedown activity is evolving as the platform grows. This historical data shows that, relatively speaking, the number of repositories on GitHub is growing faster than deletions.

For example, Github hosted just under 40 million repositories in 2015, of which 8,268 were taken offline. Today, the platform has more than ten times as many repositories, but deletions failed to triple in the same period. In fact, the number of demolitions in 2023 is less than a year before.

Increase in circumvention notices explained

Last year, GitHub reported a notable increase in DMCA circumvention claims. These quadrupled compared to previous years and this was not just a coincidence, as the most recent transparency report shows.


At least initially, the reasons for this were unclear, prompting GitHub to launch an investigation. The results of this exploration, released this weekshow that the explanation is quite simple.

In fall 2021, GitHub updated its DMCA takedown submission form with questions explicitly related to circumvention. By offering that option, many more shippers checked that box, increasing the number of "circumvention" claims.


These additional circumvention "claims" do not necessarily mean that more notices were processed for this reason. According to GitHub, many of these notices were processed for other reasons, including common takedown notices.

“[W]While many more notices we process allege circumvention, the speed at which we process takedown notices due to circumvention has not accelerated,” GitHub writes.

Processing circumvention notices is quite costly for the company, as all requests are reviewed by a team of lawyers and engineers, to ensure that developers' projects are not withdrawn without valid reasons.

This additional scrutiny first came to light during the youtube-dl takedown saga, after which GitHub released a million dollars. Developer Defense Fund.

GitHub is now actively involved in policymaking in this area. The company previously urged the US Copyright Office to expand DMCA anti-circumvention exemptions to benefit developers, while eliminating FUD.

All in all, it's good to see that GitHub remains committed to deletion transparency and we will continue to monitor these and other trends in the future.

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