Google has revealed plans to suppress copyright infringement through tweaks on its search algorithm such that websites alleged to contain ‘pirated’ content will have very low rankings in its search engine results page (SERP) as penalty.
The search giant announced that it will insert several standards to its ranking algorithm to count the number of times a particular website will receive Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests.
The new Google Search scheme will see websites that gathered a certain number of DMCA takedown requests going down in Google’s SERPs, some of which will definitely disappear from the first page.
Google assured that only valid takedown requests will be honored in the ranking, with Google SVP of engineering Amit Singhal saying in a company blog post, “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. 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 alone.”
The company promised it will only sanction offenders that picked up valid takedown notifications from copyright holders, and it will not pass judgment whether a website infringes copyrighted content or not.
“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 clarified.
“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.”
For quite some time, the company frequently received requests to cease showing prominent links of websites charged with ‘pirated’ content, so the recent news about its update to Google search algorithms eventually gained a standing ovation from copyright advocates.
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) warmly welcomed Google’s action against ‘pirated’ material. BPI CEO Geoff Taylor said it was the right move to provide spark on the current struggle against copyright infringement and the association, which represents British major and independent record labels, will monitor and evaluate its impact over time.
He said, “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. 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.”
Source: Google Search Blog
Image: mjmonty via Flickr (CC)