Google Bows To Pressure, Will Penalize Sites Accused Of Copyright Infringement

copyright-piracy-cdBeginning this week, Google will be penalizing certain sites that are frequently accused of violating copyright laws.

In a blog post Friday morning, Google explained the change this way:

Starting next week, we will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site. Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results. This ranking change should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily….

Rights groups such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and many others have accused Google of making pirated content more visible than content that belongs to copyright owners, and told Google that it should change its search algorithm to fight piracy.

And that’s precisely what this week’s changes appear set to do.

Coincidentally, though, some of the most well-known sites that host copyright-infringing material are likely to be unaffected. In the dustup after Google’s announcement, many industry observers wondered if Google’s own YouTube would get less visibility. But Google told our sister site, Search Engine Land, that YouTube and other popular sites aren’t likely to be hit.

We’re treating YouTube like any other site in search rankings. That said, we don’t expect this change to demote results for popular user-generated content sites.

It’s a fairly complex issue with more nuance than some reports have taken into account. For a full look at what Google announced and what it means for marketers, have a look at these current articles on Search Engine Land:

(Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)

Related Topics: Channel: Search Marketing | Google: Legal | Google: SEO | Legal: Copyright & Trademark | Search Marketing

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J6AB7B7E2MLHHWGL4SWKY5UEFM bizhacks.com

     who is using google search anymore? the content is irrelevant, full of paid inclusion links, how can it be taken serious or offer any real interest anymore? Google now decides to ban weapon related items, “medicines” ( anything that comes in pills, including vitamins and herbal teas ) and now content that seems to be breaking any copyright laws, but only according to google’s point of view, who is going to monitor these sites, who will make the decision or what is or what is not legit? The same people who can’t tell a blank from a real bullet, the same people who can’t tell the different between vitamin c and prozac? google is boring now. Take all the “copyright” issues out of google and you will get nothing but amazon links.

  • Matt McGee

    “who is using google search anymore?”

    In the US, an estimated 65 to 70 percent of the population is using Google search. In other countries, it’s typically higher.

    “Google now decides to ban weapon related items”

    That was from Google’s Shopping Search service, which is separate from Google search. If you go to Google.com and search for weapons, you’ll find plenty of results.

    “and now content that seems to be breaking any copyright laws, but only according to google’s point of view”

    Well, not according to Google’s point of view, but according to the copyright owner. And Google isn’t banning the content, they’re saying that sites that are repeatedly found to be on the receiving end of valid copyright infringement claims may lose visibility in search results because that’s now one of Google’s ranking factors. The content itself isn’t banned. It’ll still be there, but it may not rank as highly.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J6AB7B7E2MLHHWGL4SWKY5UEFM bizhacks.com

     I mean who really uses, make a good use of google anymore, because most people can’t use much paid inclusion links

  • http://twitter.com/JESUSMORENOLOPE JESUS MORENO LOPEZ

    SI de acuerdo como se toman esa , fuente de Legimitacion. Si se trata de darles cobertura lo antes posible,en lo que pueda interesar.

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