Piracy of software and media has run rampant on the Internet since its very inception, and it looks like pirates squeezed by the latest wave of site shutdowns and shakedowns, including big names like Demonoid, Kim Dotcom's MEGA, and The Pirate Bay, have taken a particular liking to Google Drive as a way to illegally disseminate various digital content. While many services such as MegaUpload, have fallen by the wayside due to lax enforcement or other issues, Google Drive was not a mainstream piracy portal until just recently, making it all but immune to a shutdown for those same reasons. However, data pulled by NDTV Gadgets shows a recent influx of DMCA takedown requests pertaining to Google Drive links, with almost 5,000 of them being filed in August alone.
Dozens of places on sites like Reddit and Facebook where users share content amongst themselves using any resources available have been discovered just recently, with Google Drive seemingly becoming a popular alternative among pirates, and publishers are taking notice. Over 4,700 Google Drive links were reportedly included in takedown requests over the course of the last month, compared to around 100 links on MEGA. Pointing users to those links is becoming an increasingly complex task as well, making things harder for publishers and authorities. Pirates are even resorting to using Google's My Maps service to pepper location descriptions with pirate links, and are uploading pirated videos to a wide variety of video hosting websites, even some more niche ones, making them harder to find.
Google Drive may not be the only resource being used by illegal distributors of copyrighted content, but its popularity has a few compelling reasons behind it. Being hard to shut down entirely is not the only reason that Google Drive is gaining popularity; hosting is cheap and plentiful, and bandwidth is all but unlimited for those willing to pay anything, while paid link shorteners can help recoup related costs and then some. Making multiple Google accounts is relatively easy, and each comes with 15GB of free Google Drive storage. Google Drive pages also normally don't turn up in Google Search results, which makes Drive links somewhat harder to find compared to other sites which could be used for digital piracy. The content also does not show up on public torrent trackers or suspect and troubled websites that already have a reputation for piracy, which is yet another reason why Google's cloud service is gaining popularity among this demographic.