Google will change its search algorithm to steer internet users away from infringing sites.
In 2012, the California-based company promised to demote sites with significant amounts of piracy. However, the Motion Picture Association of America, Recording Industry Association of America, and others noted that the change in its search algorithm failed to deliver on its promise.
This time around, Google believes that the latest global algorithm update will work.
“In August 2012 we first announced that we would downrank sites for which we received a large number of valid DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] notices,” wrote Katherine Oyama, Google’s senior copyright counsel, in a blog post.
“We’ve now refined the signal in ways we expect to visibly affect the rankings of some of the most notorious sites.”
The algorithm change announcement came as Google presented its latest “How Google Fights Piracy” report, which revealed that the company received 224 million takedown requests in 2013.
The report noted that Google removed 222 million results, which implies that the company reinstated or rejected less than one per cent on account of being unable to find the page, considering the material not to be infringing, or needing additional information.
With over seven million takedown requests each, the top three sites that were subjects of complaints were RapidGator, 4Shared and Dilandau.
Last year’s biggest requestor was BPI, the lobbying group of the UK music industry.
“When fans search for music or films, they should get legal results—it’s as simple as that,” said Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI.
Taylor added that if these steps could help lead more consumers to services such as iTunes, Deezer and Spotify, which give back to music, “then they would represent a step forward for artists, labels, and all those trying to build a thriving music economy online.”