The world’s favourite search engine will begin to punish web pages which encourage copyright infringement by pushing down their rankings in results.
The plan which will come into plan by next week will replace torrent searches with digital music stores in a boost to cut down on illegal downloading.
Although the new act is a positive move for the music industry, Google will not begin to remove websites which are alleged to breach copyright. Amit Singhal, a software engineer at Google said, “Only copyright holders know if something is authorized, and only courts can decide if a copyright has been infringed; Google cannot determine whether a particular webpage does or does not violate copyright law.”
Google will begin to push down rankings of illegal websites
Although record labels may have been hoping for more, the move has been praised by entertainment providers around the world. BPI applauded the advancements Google will take to defeat illegal material from being distributed and calls for other search engines to follow suit with BPI chief executive, Geoff Taylor, explaining, “Consumers overwhelmingly want and expect the top search results for entertainment content to feature legal, licensed services.”
On boosting the results for music markets instead of torrent hosts, RIAA chairman, Cary Sherman believes Google’s new move will help the industry, “That is good news indeed. And the online marketplace for the hundreds of licensed digital services embraced by the music business is better today than it was yesterday.”
The introduction of Google’s attempt to combat torrent sites is hoped to excel in the future with record labels anticipating further action against illegal websites.
UPDATE 20/08/12: Since Google declared that it will no longer make pirated material links appear top of searches, Pirate Bay has hit back in a statement. The company claimed in a blog that the change will do little to disrupt their operations and even admitted it may be beneficial to the website – “We’ll get more direct traffic when people don’t get the expected search result when using Google, since they will go correctly to TPB.”
However, the torrent giant also admitted that it was disappointed in Google’s choice to stop providing links to torrent sites, claiming the entertainment industry was ‘corrupt’.
UPDATE 22/08/12: Recent reports show that The Pirate Bay is still receiving over a million visits via the UK domain using a proxy service.
The service, provided by The UK Pirate Party, shows to be battling through ISP blockades and Google’s new plan to lower search results for torrent websites.
Some ISPs are continuing their aim to block access to the site.
UPDATE 29/08/12: Following Google’s attempt to decrease the number of searches for pirated material, figures have shown that takedown requests have doubled since it’s introduction. DMCA, the organisation to protect digital copyrights, has requested the removal of an average of 1.5million URLs per week. This time last year, takedown requests to Google were at 131,577.
Four weeks since Google implemented actions to lower search results to sites which host pirate material, Google has received requests to remove 5.7million URLs from copyright holders and anti-piracy bodies.