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Google: Rank and File

Google has allegedly (i.e. according to them) made a further commitment to downgrade piracy sites in search engine results based on takedown notices issued under America’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The announcement was made alongside the publication of a refreshed version of the search giant’s amusingly literally named ‘How Google Fights Piracy’ report. File alongside ‘The idiot’s guide to the Internet’.

Google’s Senior Copyright Policy Counsel Katherine Oyama posted a blog outlining the measures, stating: “In August 2012 we first announced that we would downrank sites for which we received a large number of valid DMCA notices. We’ve now refined the signal in ways we expect to visibly affect the rankings of some of the most notorious sites. This update will roll out globally starting next week”.

Google have also been experimenting with new ad formats pointing people towards legitimate film and music content when they search using obscure dark web code words such as ‘download’, ‘free’ and ‘watch’.

Making his second appearance in The Gen this week, BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said: “If these new steps help guide more consumers to services like Spotify, Deezer and iTunes, which give back to music, instead of to fraudulent torrent or hosting sites, then they would represent a step forward for artists, labels and all those trying to build a thriving music economy online”.

Taylor continued: “We will monitor the results carefully, but we are encouraged that Google has recognised the need to take further action and will continue to work with the search engines and Government to build a stronger digital music sector”.

Of course, the reality is that content owners have seen little in the way of impactful and tangible change from the Google gatekeepers since 2012, hence continued lobbying pressure from rights owners and trade associations, resulting in this renewed attempt from Google to send the message that they are working on it.

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