Google have announced changes to their search engine that will prevent popular pirate sites from appearing frequently. This move is hoping to appease movie and music studios/rightsholders alike as Google fights piracy in latest search engine changes. Google have previously attempted to thwart the growing number of piracy websites that have sprung up in searches, this time it aims to prevent the more well-known and prevalent piracy sites from appearing in Google searches.
By targeting specific sites to block from appearing in search engines, Google hopes their efforts will slow piracy down. When people can’t find download links or illegal streaming sites from their Google search then these so-called notorious piracy websites won’t have as much traffic. This move comes after their previous fight against piracy in 2012 wasn’t received as warmly by the music and film industry, when they felt Google wasn’t doing enough for the fight against piracy.
This announcement came with Google’s release of their report on How Google Fights Piracy. Along with their new tactic, the company also showcased changes to the auto-complete and ad format section of their search engine. If someone searches a way to watch a film or TV show online, then instead of illegal sites appearing, it will only display the legal methods of watching content online, with links to Netflix, Amazon and Google Play. If an auto-complete comes back with too many sites that have been flagged for piracy, usually by the music or companies themselves, then the offending words are removed.
One concern with this new tactic of blocking entire sites comes back to the old argument of wrongful censorship. If a site has an offending link on it, rather than blocking the link, the entire site is susceptible to being removed from Google searches. This can be a particularly difficult problem to manage with sites such as Reddit or any other site which users submit content to. As Google fights piracy in latest search engine changes, it will be worth seeing if they do indeed combat piracy, or just over-enthusiastically block websites.
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