With Trade Group Pressure Rising, Google Revamps Anti-Piracy Tactics

Last week Google announced significant changes to its search engine designed to discourage users from accessing websites that trade in pirated materials. The British Phonographic Industry, which has been the most active trade group in fighting online piracy, welcomed the changes.

About a month ago, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) set a record that it wasn’t all that comfortable about hitting—it topped 100 million URLs in U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests.

At the time, the trade group emphasized that it’d rather see another solution—one in which Google does more to discourage the appearance of known piracy hotbeds in its search results.

“Despite its clear knowledge as to which sites are engines of piracy, Google continues to help build their illegal businesses, by giving them a prominent ranking in search results,” BPI said in a statement to TorrentFreak in September.

Last week, the trade group got its wish.

On Friday, Google offered a series of updates to its piracy-fighting efforts, offering a threefold strategy to combat the problem: First, promote legal options in search results; second, demote websites that receive numerous DMCA takedown requests, and third, change the way its autocomplete function works to discourage results from search terms tied to piracy.

Search Engine Land noted that it was Google’s first piracy-related change to its system in more than two years.

“The good news is that the most popular queries relating to movies, music, books, video games and other copyrighted works return results that do not include links to infringing materials,” Google stated in its report, “How Google Fights Piracy.” “This is thanks to both our constant improvements to the algorithms that power Google Search, and the efforts of rightsholders to prioritize and target their copyright removal notices.”

BPI’s CEO Geoff Taylor said Google’s updated anti-piracy effort is a step in the right direction. He said he hopes the move will encourage the search engine’s primary competitors, Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing, to follow a similar path.

“We will monitor the results carefully,” Taylor said in a statement, “but we are encouraged that Google has recognised the need to take further action and will continue to work with the search engines and Government to build a stronger digital music sector.”

(iStock Editorial/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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