Google Search to Start Targeting Copyright Violators
The new policy, meant to promote high-quality media sources on the web, won't banish sites like torrenthound.com entirely -- but they will turn up much lower in results.
In a bid to steer Internet users to higher-quality video, audio, images and text on the web, Google beginning next week will push links that most likely contain content that violates copyrights lower in search results.
The effort should thrill the creators of TV shows, movies and music that have long complained of Internet pirates who illegally post their content on websites they have no control over and, therefore, earn no money from.
Google said in a blog post Friday that sites receiving a large number of valid copyright removal notices will continue to be listed during a search, though much lower on the results page.
An example of some of the sites that could be negatively impacted by Google's new policy are filestube.com, extratorrent.com, torrenthound.com, bitsnoop.com and isohunt.com.
The new "signal," the latest of more than 200 already used in Google search algorithms, will apply to all of the sites the Google index touches, which amounts to an estimated 30 trillion unique URLs.
"The ranking change," senior vp engineering Amit Singhal blogged, "should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily -- whether it's a song previewed on NPR's music website, a TV show on Hulu or new music streamed from Spotify."
In a statement, the MPAA cautiously applauded the move.
“We are optimistic that Google’s actions will help steer consumers to the myriad legitimate ways for them to access movies and TV shows online, and away from the rogue cyberlockers, peer-to-peer sites, and other outlaw enterprises that steal the hard work of creators across the globe. We will be watching this development closely – the devil is always in the details – and look forward to Google taking further steps to ensure that its services favor legitimate businesses and creators, not thieves.”
The RIAA on Friday called the new policy "a potentially significant change" that it has been "urging Google to take for a long time."
"Google has signaled a new willingness to value the rights of creators," the RIAA said in a press release. "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."