Thursday, August 16, 2012

Google: Sites With More DMCA Takedown Requests Will Rank Lower in Search Results

Google has announced an
update to its search ranking
algorithm that will demote sites
serving pirated content, in a
move that should please
copyright holders who have
long called for this move.
The company said that it would
be adding a number of criteria
to its ranking process which will take
into account the number of Digital
Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
takedown requests a site has
With the new system, sites which
have in the past received a higher
number of DMCA takedown requests
will be placed lower in a user's
Google search results.The company said that only valid
takedown requests will be considered
in the ranking.
"Since we re-booted our copyright
removals over two years ago, we
have been given much more data by
copyright owners about infringing
content online," Google senior vice
president of engineering Amit
Singhal said in a company blog
post. "In fact, we are now receiving
and processing more copyright
removal notices in one day than we
did in all of 2009, more than 4.3
million URLs in the last 30 days
The company noted that it will only
penalize sites which have received
valid takedown notices from rights
holders and that Google itself will
not be judging whether a site is
infringing on copyrighted content.
"Only copyright holders know if
something is authorized, and only
courts can decide if a copyright has
been infringed: Google cannot
determine whether a particular
webpage does or does not violate
copyright law," Singhal noted. "So
while this new signal will influence
the ranking of some search results,
we won't be removing any pages
from search results unless we
receive a valid copyright removal
notice from the rights owner."
Google has often been asked to stop
prominently displaying links to sites
thought to offer pirated content, and
the news it is overhauling its search
results was welcomed by the creative
The BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor
said it was a good first step in the
ongoing battle against copyright
infringement and that it would be
assessing the impact of the change
"We have argued for some time that
sites with a lot of illegal content
should feature lower in search
rankings, based on the notifications
we send to Google," he said. "We will
look carefully at how much impact
this change will have in practice, but
we welcome the announcement from
Google and will be pressing other
search engines to follow suit."

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