eBrandz Blog

Search algorithms of Google tweaked to tackle Copyright Infringement

Google has stated it would be altering its search algorithms so as to favor sites, which offer ‘legitimate copyrighted’ music, television, movie and other content. It added that next week onwards this change would account for the number of copyright removal notices (which are valid) sites had got. Those with such multiple regarding copyright infringement might be pushed lower in its search results.

In a way, big media players won an important battle in their tussle to tackle online piracy. In a way, big media players won an important battle in their tussle to tackle online piracy. This particular ranking tweak should help searchers locate legitimate, good quality content sources more easily – be it’s a television episode on Hulu, new music being streamed from Spotify, or a song that is previewed on music website of NPR.

The global entertainment industry has pressured Google and many other sites for years to take a strong action against culprits of online piracy. They are obviously elated by the move, and are optimistic Google’s actions will bring consumers to the legitimate ways to access content online. According to industry people, Google has shown a new willingness and urge to value the creators’ rights. But they are also asking Google to initiate the change with sincerity and vigor it had in dealing with pirated videos on its social sharaing site, YouTube. Changing its search algorithm is definitely not the sole way out. Also, the mode of actual implementation will equally matter, they caution.

The latest announcement has come just about six months after a battle between technology companies and big media companies over proposed legislations aimed at targeting pirated online material. Earlier this year, Time Warner, the Walt Disney Co and Viacom backed a couple of anti-piracy bills, Facebook, Google and a section of Internet activists argued these bills would hamper Internet freedom. The bills died quickly buoyed by a grass-roots movement online, aided by a move by Wikipedia to go black for one day as mark of protest.

Google has clarified that it would not take out from its search engine pages from allegedly copyright-infringing sites unless it gets a valid copyright removal notice on part of the relevant rights’ owner. Amit Singhal, SVP of Google Engineering mentions in an official blog post:

“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.  We’ll continue to provide “counter-notice” tools so that those who believe their content has been wrongly removed can get it reinstated. We’ll also continue to be transparent about copyright removals. 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.”

Google assures that it will be using this information as a signal in its search rankings. For record, the search engine has received requests for copyright removal for more than 4.3m Web addresses in a span of 30 days, according to its transparency report. The number amounts to more than what the company received in whole of 2009, which signifies the extent of the problem.