On August 10th, Google reaffirmed its commitment to combatting online piracy by announcing changes to its search algorithm that will promote sites that host legitimate copyrighted materials and push pages with illegal content down the ranks. The search engine will begin taking the number of valid copyright removal notices into account when determining the rank of Web pages in a specific search, a new factor among the over 200 components that already determine the results of Google searches.
This announcement will certainly come as good news to organizations like the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, and other major entertainment industry groups and lobbying firms, some of who have criticized Google for not taking a stand against copyright violators, and it should make pages with illegal content harder to find and download. Because this algorithm only takes copyright removal notices into account and is based on the number of these notices received, it’s not likely that simple parodies and expressions of free speech will be significantly affected.
In response to Google’s announcement, Victoria Espinel, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator for the Executive Office of the President, praised the company’s effort to reduce copyright infringement and protect intellectual property. Espinel reiterated the U.S. government’s commitment to the same endeavors and pledged its continued participation in the battle against online piracy
CADNA applauds the efforts of both the United States government and Google to ensure the security of intellectual property on the Internet and shares the same commitment to the protection of copyrighted materials
How exactly this change will affect Google searches and the accessibility of pirated materials in the future remains to be seen, but it’s a step in the right direction. The new algorithm is scheduled to go into effect this week, so changes could be immediately apparent, or it might take time for the ranks to get readjusted. Even before any results come in, though, Google’s announcement and the U.S. government’s response demonstrate a clear stance against online piracy that is shared by both the private and public sectors, which bodes well for the future of intellectual property online.