Google to downgrade pirate sites in search results (Update)

Aug 10, 2012
Google on Friday said it is tweaking its search formula to give higher priority to legal content and sink rankings for websites hit with piracy complaints.

Google Inc. is altering its search results to de-emphasize the websites of repeat copyright offenders and make it easier to find legitimate providers of music, movies and other content.

The move is a peace offering to Hollywood and the music recording labels. This year, Google joined other Silicon Valley heavyweights to help kill legislation that would have given government and content creators more power to shut down foreign websites that promote piracy.

The Motion Picture Association of America issued a lukewarm response, saying it was "optimistic" the change would help steer consumers away from piracy.

"We will be watching this development closely — the devil is always in the details," MPAA senior executive president Michael O'Leary said in a statement.

Next week, Google will start using "valid copyright removal notices" to rank its search results, according to a Friday blog post by Google's senior vice president of engineering, Amit Singhal.

Google typically ranks websites based on how many other sites link to them, on the belief that sites that get more links are more trustworthy and useful. But Google also regularly tweaks its formulas to reflect special circumstances.

In this case, sites with high numbers of copyright-removal notices may get bumped down in rankings. In effect, that will help users find legitimate sources of content without removing any pages from its results completely. Google did not elaborate on what it considers to be valid notices.

Google's icy relationship with content creators has thawed slightly.

Last month, Google said it would offer a $50-per-month TV package over a super-fast fiber network in a Kansas City test bed. The package would offer mainstream channels including Viacom Inc.'s Nickelodeon.

Google, which is based in Mountain View, California, also sells movies and music through its Google Play store on mobile devices that use its Android operating system.

But a $1 billion copyright lawsuit filed by Viacom against Google's YouTube in 2007 was re-instated by a federal appeals court in April after a lower court threw it out.

And last week, court papers showed that the Authors Guild is demanding Google pay $750 for each of the 20 million books it has scanned in a 7-year-old case.

Explore further: Japan court orders Facebook to reveal revenge porn IP addresses

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User comments : 18

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Temple
3.5 / 5 (11) Aug 10, 2012
Mark your calendars. This is the beginning of the end of google's dominance on search engine usage.

With the frightening regularity of bogus copyright infringement notices (see Mars Curiosity for recent examples), this sort of behaviour will be quickly corrupted, serving as a mechanism for large entertainment companies to sink their competitors.

At that point, Google will lose its relevance, and a more open (and less privacy intrusive) competitor will emerge.
sanita
1 / 5 (7) Aug 10, 2012
Many people already prefer the Bing in search of porn.
xX_GT_Xx
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 10, 2012
I'm with Temple. The mere admission that Google can do this is notice that they will do this in the future, and have done it in the past for all we know. Buying ad space to make your links show up on the home page is one thing. The new service will be to make your competitor's site appear less relevant than it actually is.
axemaster
4 / 5 (4) Aug 10, 2012
Well, this is kinda interesting. Expect websites to start challenging every single copyright notification in order to stay on top - this will likely result in fewer spurious infringement notices. In other words, this might actually have a positive side effect.
Deathclock
2.4 / 5 (12) Aug 10, 2012
Google is playing judge jury and executioner here... a position that I don't think they should be in. It's there service and they can do with it what they want, but I think they are making a mistake.
Skepticus
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 10, 2012
So, unless the sites are not ranked, i'd imagine people will start to go to the last search page and work backward..!
zbarlici
2.3 / 5 (6) Aug 10, 2012
Alternative search engines shall rise to populatity.

One that i seem to use with increasing frequency is

duckduckgo.com
dtxx
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 10, 2012
Death to link farms, good. Death to freedom of exepression that opposes Google's views, Google says fantastic, and then Google's days are limited. I use google now, but will switch instataneously to something which is more privacy orietned. Attention Google: you are not the internet police. That's what regular uniformed services are for.

I feel a desperate ghasp from Google. "We've got to hold on, and no matter what, they must do what they say!" Pardon me if I push my boot down on your forehead as you drown. After all, I've worn those boots to view content that keeps you up at night. Now you have made it a self-fullfilling prophecy.
GenesisNemesis
5 / 5 (2) Aug 10, 2012
Alternative search engines shall rise to populatity.

One that i seem to use with increasing frequency is

duckduckgo.com


I recently learned about it and I started using it instead of Google. Good site.
alfie_null
not rated yet Aug 11, 2012
I can see Google walking a tightrope here. I doubt Bing would do better. Remember Vista? Crafted to be attractive to the likes of the MPAA by offering end-to-end DRM (one of the reasons its performance was so bad).

I'd like to look forward to seeing the end of monopolies like the MPAA, seeing that organization relegated to an insignificant role. The entry barrier to producing and distributing movies, music, books, etc. is lower with the advent of the Internet, and continues to drop as more people are connected, at higher bandwidth.
sanita
1 / 5 (2) Aug 11, 2012
I doubt Bing would do better. Remember Vista?
Of course, the only reason why Bing still appears more liberal is, it doesn't attracts so lotta money of MPAA related advertisers. In this sense the position of Google isn't given with company politics so much, but rather with objective balance between number of advertisers and the people, who use the Google for seeing their ads. Google just tries to maximize its profit like any other company.
NonLinear
not rated yet Aug 11, 2012
Can tech informed people suggest an alternative 3 options? Thank you.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.9 / 5 (25) Aug 11, 2012
Mark your calendars. This is the beginning of the end of google's dominance on search engine usage.
Yeah, because the overwhelming majority of google users seek out pirated content. Or maybe its just physorg commenters.

See, like I say we are encouraged to break the law. With the Internet this offers the benefits of vastly increased usage and dependability. In order to know if your defenses will work they must be tested in earnest by genuine adversaries. The best way to do this is to entice them to attack at the proper Time, when you can best Benefit from the encounter.

This is also the safest way of identifying potential enemies for elimination, by tempting them to expose themselves. War is the purest form of technological innovation. The Internet is war.
Shootist
Aug 11, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Meyer
not rated yet Aug 11, 2012
Google would not do this if they were not secure in their monopoly. Regardless of one's stance on piracy and perpetual copyright expansion, this is an abuse of monopoly power.
zbarlici
not rated yet Aug 12, 2012
Can tech informed people suggest an alternative 3 options? Thank you.

as already mentioned twice in the comments, one decent option is duckduckgo.com , but there are lots others as well.
Rick150
2.3 / 5 (4) Aug 12, 2012
Yep, Google will go the same way as all those that pander to big business, the slippery slope to oblivion.It's not about seeking out pirated content but who who supports big business that charge too much and sticking it to us with Google's support.
Aloken
5 / 5 (1) Aug 13, 2012
Goggle is widely used because it shows people what they want to see. If they start pushing those things far down the results list the only thing they'll achieve is creating the opportunity for a competitor to expand. I already thought using your google plus profile to filter search results was too much, then your emails from gmail and now this. Maybe this is the break yahoo needed to get back on its feet.
Deathclock
1.7 / 5 (7) Aug 13, 2012
Google would not do this if they were not secure in their monopoly. Regardless of one's stance on piracy and perpetual copyright expansion, this is an abuse of monopoly power.


They are not a monopoly by any stretch of the imagination...