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Google cracks the whip on internet piracy (for some)

In a landmark victory for music, TV and film producers, Google has begun a major crackdown on internet piracy, putting another nail in the coffin of unregulated on-line bootlegging.

How it works

An announcement made by Google last Friday marks the biggest move towards stopping the free and illegal sharing of copyrighted media across the web.  Google’s updated search algorithms will now consider copyright infringement when ranking searches, pushing sites in frequent violation further down the ranks.  Google will demote the sites based on the number of copyright removal notices received for a particular site.  After numerous individual cases against unlawful websites like Pirate Bay, this will finally make it financially worthwhile for everyone to get in on the lawful distribution of entertainment and not continue to short-change the people who should really be making the big bucks.  Amit Singhal, Google senior Vice President of Engineering, said the update would “…help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily.”

While Google cannot make rulings in a legal sense and has chosen not to completely remove the sites without a court order, offending websites that find themselves sidelined in searches and banished into the internet’s black hole will soon reconsider their strategies once traffic slows and they stop being so fruitful.

Exceptions to the rule

Strangely, YouTube, a major offender when it comes to copyright infringement, has been exempted from the new procedures.  Maybe not so surprising considering Google owns the viral giant.  Blogger will also not face the same treatment as every other site on the net but any one wishing to make copyright complaints about these and other sites ‘protected’ by Google will be re-directed to a new area where they can make their complaints known.  It won’t be as straight-forward as placing a removal notice for every other site and points won’t be stacked-up against them in the same way so their search rankings will remain unaffected.

Exempting one of the biggest players online seems a peculiar move to make but Google has assured users that they are not simply treating their own babies differently, but adopting procedures that will only make the rulings easier to police in practice.

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