Google Changing Search Algorithms To Punish Websites Committing Copyright Infringement

Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Google has announced a series of changes to its search engine which will punish websites that publish or promote pirated content by downgrading their ranking and instead featuring legal content providers at the top of the page and in a box on the right-hand side of the results page, various media outlets reported on Monday.
The new anti-piracy initiatives were detailed in an updated version of “How Google Fights Piracy,” a report originally released which year that also covers YouTube, Google Play and other services offered by the Mountain View, California-based tech giant.
“Now more than ever it’s obvious that the Internet is a boon to creativity,” the company wrote in the report. “More music, more video, more text, and more software is being created by more people in more places than ever before. Every kind of creative endeavor, both amateur and professional, is being transformed by the new opportunities and lower costs made possible by digital tools and online distribution.”
“Nevertheless, online piracy still remains a challenge, and Google takes that challenge seriously,” it added. “We develop and deploy anti-piracy solutions with the support of hundreds of Google employees. This regular report details those efforts, as well as how Google products and services create opportunity for creators around the world.”
According to Peter Wade of Fast Company, the changes implemented to Google’s search algorithm will push copyright violators further down the rankings, and the impact will be most noticeable among repeat offenders. The update is also expected to affect autocomplete in order to prevent websites featuring pirated content from appearing in the results while prioritizing Amazon, Vudu by Walmart and other legitimate sources.
“Google said its plan to combat pirated material is more proactive than reactive, focused on driving users to legitimate content rather than eliminating material that violates copyright laws,” Wade added. “Google will continue to respond to the hundreds of millions of takedown requests it receives each year, however.”
Slashgear’s Brittany Hillen noted that certain search terms will trigger the suggestion box, including the titles of movies, television shows, and songs, as well as specific terms like “watch,” “download,” and “free.” The search algorithm changes have been rolled out internationally, she said. However, the suggestion box is currently limited to the US, although an international release is planned.
“Every day our partnership with the entertainment industry deepens,” Katherine Oyama, Google’s Senior Copyright Policy Counsel, explained in a blog entry Friday. “Just this month we launched a collaboration with Paramount Pictures to promote their upcoming film ‘Interstellar’ with an interactive website. And Content ID (our system for rightsholders to easily identify and manage their content on YouTube) recently hit the milestone of enabling more than $1 billion in revenue to the content industry.”
BBC News technology reporter Dave Lee said that the music industry trade group BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) was mostly in favor of the new anti-piracy policies, but took issue with the fact that legal sites would need to pay advertising fees to Google to appear in the legal services box. A BPI spokesman told Lee that there should be no charge for inclusion in the special section.
Even so, Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, added that the organization is “encouraged that Google has recognized the need to take further action and will continue to work with the search engines and government to build a stronger digital music sector. The BPI, together with colleagues from the film industry, will continue to meet with the search engines and government to ensure these measures make a real difference and to persuade Bing and Yahoo to take similar action.”
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