.tk was once designated as the riskiest ccTLD. .ru is often said to be, after .com, the most used in the content of spam messages. But is there a ccTLD that is a favorite destination for copyright infringement?
The question is worth asking in view of the growing trend for .com domain names seizures related to copyright infringement. If publishers of illegal content are afraid of being the next target of I.C.E.'s Operation in Our Sites, do they move to other namespaces (and if yes, which)?
In 2012, Kim DotCom launched a new project out of the .com zone… to see the registration of his me.ga name abruptly terminated as soon as he announced it. This can also be seen as a signal to websites engaged in copyright infringement, which are not encouraged to move their activities under the .ga flag!1
To try to have a view of ccTLDs 'favorited' by such websites, I used data Google recently published regarding copyright removals requests it receives. Though Google is the recipient of only a (small) part of notices sent by copyright owners, this data consists of millions of requests, which makes it an interesting database to play with.
I used the 'URLs' file provided by Google (which lists of domain names where the alleged infringing content is available) and disregarded all the copyright notices related to gTLDs. Left with 391510 domains, I counted the number of notices ccTLD by ccTLD2. Here is a table3 of the first 15 ccTLDs:
|ccTLD||Number of requests|
.se is the ccTLD where registrants are the most targeted by removal requests. ThePirateBay.se plays its part, as readers have guessed, but only for ~20% of the total (this domain is specified in 12739 requests). Beyond this example, the ranking may help fight against prejudices: There are, for example, less than 300 requests mentioning .cn names.
In the case of at least one ccTLD, .ai, 99.99 of all requests relate to the same name (tz.ai accounts for 5657 out of 5659 requests). In the .ly space, famous for having suddenly blocked vb.ly used for adult content, there are only 5 names cited in the notices, among which one, adf.ly, is mentioned in 5125 requests out of 5150.
The counting above remains of limited interest for the moment. It will be interesting to see, in one year for example, if there are significant changes and if they can be linked with domain seizures. Though they were limited to the .com space, these seizures have recently expanded to ccTLDs such as .uk, .eu, .be, .dk or .ro.
1 Note that the Me.Ga project, which remains unknown at the time of writing, cannot be said to be infringing copyright or any other law.
2 See Google disclaimer regarding the data here. I used Google Fusion Tables and removed two columns from the original file to get a lighter file one. I share the file here.
3 graph Copyright removals by ccTLD (and thank Google for this data)