Google is, without a doubt, the most popular way people use to find online content, from movies to music to text. For long, Google has been criticized by the content industry for not doing enough to discourage the piracy sites from appearing in its search results. Now, the search giant seems to be heeding their demands.
Google has launched a new measure which is going to make the piracy sites appear lower in the search results. This will be accomplished by adding a new signal into the rankings. The more a website has been flagged with DMCA notices, the lower it will appear in the search ranking.
According to the official blog post by Google, “We will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site. Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results.”
This essentially is not going to sit well with websites which indulge in piracy. The reason is that the content industry can manually start generating hundreds of DMCA notices simply to flag such websites and that may, in turn, reduce their search ranking within days. Given the sheer amount of resources that the content industry has at its hand, this is going to benefit it a lot.
In the past, the content industry has been demanding from Google to simply filter out piracy sites from its search results. Although Google didn’t relent that much, it seems to be on that path. Google still asserts that it is not launching an antipiracy campaign, rather it intends to bring quality and original content to the users.
According to the search giant, “This ranking change 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. Since we re-booted our copyright removals over two years ago, we’ve been given much more data by copyright owners about infringing content online. In fact, we’re now receiving and processing more copyright removal notices every day than we did in all of 2009–more than 4.3 million URLs in the last 30 days alone. We will now be using this data as a signal in our search rankings.”
Clearly, the content producers are actively targeting major piracy websites with DMCA notices, trying as far as possible to secure their revenue streams. And as soon as Google announced these new plans, they were the first to applaud.
The CEO of Recording Industry Association of America, Cary Sherman, said, “Today Google has announced a potentially significant change in its search rankings that can make a meaningful difference to creators. This change is an important step in the right direction — a step we’ve been urging Google to take for a long time — and we commend the company for its action.”
Business decision to bolster content for YouTube/Google Play:
Many analysts have speculated that given the huge stake Google has in YouTube and Google Play, Google inevitably had to take this step. This is because Google has to rely on the same content producers for content for the aforementioned portals. And if it couldn’t reach a fair relationship with the content industry, YouTube and Google Play had to suffer in the coming days. So Google’s move seems to have more to do with good business than with so-called good ethics.
This was also pronounced in the statement from Public Knowledge, the public-interest group, “It may make good business sense for Google to take extraordinary steps, far beyond what the law requires, to help the media companies it partners with. That said, its plan to penalize sites that receive DMCA notices raises many questions. Sites may not know about, or have the ability to easily challenge, notices sent to Google. And Google has set up a system that may be abused by bad faith actors who want to suppress their rivals and competitors.”
Moreover, it would have been far wise if Google had devised a method to gauge the views of its users in deciding whether or not it should take such a measure.
Source: Google blog