Google to take on online pirates

Google often comes under fire for not doing enough to police the internet and stop people downloading music, movies and game illegally – but it has just announced changes to its algorithm to try and cut online piracy. 

Too legit to quit

Although those in the entertainment industry have long argued that illegal sites should be taken completely out of search engine results pages (SERPs), Google has so far refused to address the problem in this way.

Instead, it will now point users to legitimate and legal alternatives to illegal download and streaming sites – so expect to see sites like Spotify and Google Play have more prominence in the SERPs.

These sites will now feature in boxes at the top and sides of the SERPs, in much the same way as adverts do now.

On the downside though, this means that any sites wanting to appear in these ‘legit’ SERPs will have to pay for the privilege – so more money making from the tech giant.

It will also amend SERPs to make sure that links directing to illegal content will fall lower in the results.

The numbers game

  • The BPI made 43.3 million requests for Google to remove search results in 2013 (the US equivalent group, the RIAA, made 31.6 million)
  • Google removed 222 million results from search because of copyright infringement
  • Google’s Content ID system, which detects copyrighted material, scans 400 years-worth of video every day
  • 300 million videos have been “claimed” by rights holders, meaning they can place advertising on them

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