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back to article Google to skew search results to punish PIRATES

Online copyright infringers take note. Beginning next week, Google will modify its search algorithms so that it ranks search results based on the number of valid copyright removal notices it receives for a given site, among other factors. The search giant says it "regularly" receives requests to remove URLs from its search …

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Google to alter search results to hide PIRATES

Aiding and abetting are we Google? :P

A friend of mine tells me that he is a filthy, disgusting pirate who kills people on the seas near Somalia and violates Intellectual Property, but never looked up how to be one on Google. Apparently he heard it on the grapevine, or was a file sharing site recommended to him by his ISP's customer support team? (This has actually happened).

Whatever it was, he started because someone said "all you have to do is X Y Z".

I honestly think this move will benefit people who do want to violate IP. Google was shining a light on it in such a way it made it easy for people with the IT skills of politicians to see how many sites were offering copyright infringing content.

I personally think that file sharing with a casual attitude towards copyright violation will do much better in the dark, without the light of Google shining on it.

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Re: Google to alter search results to hide PIRATES

"I honestly think this move will benefit people who do want to violate IP. Google was shining a light on it in such a way it made it easy for people with the IT skills of politicians to see how many sites were offering copyright infringing content."

If all else is equal, that will probably be true. But it does change how easy it is to find new sources of pirated material. If copyright owners can shut sites down fast enough, hiding their replacements will slow uptake of the new sources. The more piracy requires special effort or a knowledge of where to go to get the material, the more it will be reduced.

I'm actually surprised by Google for this, but good for them for doing something.

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Anonymous Coward

I was about to say...

"Arrr matey, we be needing a pirate search thingy!", but you're right, we don't need more of that. We'll be back to FOAF-advice and lists of bookmarks next to more (kinds of) p2p software. Bit of a throwback until someone comes up with a new search engine idea to open it up, and the cycle begins anew.

As a sidenote, plenty of "people who do want to violate IP" don't, not in that sense. Most people involved want the stuff, and if it was available (at all, within budget, easily enough, etc.) they would've gone out and bought it or otherwise paid for it. They simply don't care that their circumventing IP-owner-imposed obstacles means the rightsholders miss out on a couple pennies a file--pennies is what the artist gets paid in the best of cases, after all. And obstacles abound, starting with such a simple thing as DVD regions. It's the RIAA/MAFIAA that painted it all, using a rather broad brush, with morality and criminality, stooping so low as to pour fingerwagging propaganda over schoolchildren.

Meaning that the rightsholders are still holding the rights, but they're really grasping at straws here. Snatching irrelevance from the jaws of having the law on your side and all that. Suing the customer will do that, especially when the value depends moreso than usually on how much the customer likes the material.

Curious to see google talk about "legitimate" takedown notices. Do they have an app for that? Not for submitting them, but for figuring out which are legitimate. Currently anybody with corporate-looking letterhead can make any claim they wish and it'll be honoured with better chance than owners who posted their own, legitimate work have to get their own work or even their entire accounts reinstated after a frivolous takedown.

In that respect the frivolous-takedown scum are "winning"; they're using bots to take down as much as possible and don't care a whit about false positives. Yet more reason you need to keep any material you want to share locally too, so you can put it back up elsewhere should someone come along and knock it using a DMCA notice.

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Re: I was about to say...

"pennies is what the artist gets paid in the best of cases, after all"

And everyone else involved in producing that product? So someone pirates, e.g. the film 21 Jump Street. A product that involves unnumbered special effects people, actors, camera and lighting crews, technical people working on all the fiddly aspects of editing and adjusting the resulting film for colour, sound-balance in 5.1; and then all the subsidiary people who support them with deliveries, cleaning, catering, transport, accommodation, paperwork, security... All of this is paid for up front by investors who calculate whether they can afford to do this based on future sales both box office and DVD / legal downloads.

But go ahead and justify piracy with "the artist only make pennies". It makes no sense when you examine it, it's just a post-fact justification meant to convince that the profit from a movie or an album isn't going to the people you think deserve it and thus it's ethical to take It without paying.

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Anonymous Coward

"And everyone else involved in producing that product?"

Yes, do tell. How much do all those grunts get paid? How is it possible film after film makes "losses" in the books (as in, the entity paying the people you're trotting out; they get paid a wage and that's it), while the studios, as in the execs and all the other useless cruft, makes more money than that they're putting effort in?

Go ahead and wilfully put out poster child straw men that still won't be any better off should "piracy" vanish overnight. Go ahead and moan about money not paid that I just pointed out could have been had, had the useless gits up top not chosen to sue the customer and drench their actions in morality sauce and back it up with secret, bought legislation, but instead had they went out and reach out, deliver what the customer wants, for a price the customer wants to pay.

There's no inherent right that if you produce something, say a chair or a table or a car or a load of bread or whatever, a customer pops up and says "alright I'll pay you for that". You also have to go out and sell it. Copyright exists to ensure that something that is easily copied, instead can be sold more or less like it was a chair. For a time. Given customers.

That's how it's supposed to work in an economy. The problem isn't copyright, but it's the abuse (and endlessly stretching) of said assigned rights for controlling the audience instead of for what it was ment to do, ensure artists getting paid.

Like what we see so often: Lots of hyping (hollywood do know how to sell their tired old formulaic crap) and then saying to most of the world "nooo you can't haaave it for another three months, neener neener". And they wonder why people don't bother to go to the store --they know it won't be there-- or to use official channels --that are bound to say "sorry not available in your country"-- but instead fire up the old file sharing thing and get it another way. That's what you get for effectively saying "we don't want your money". Well, says the customer, if you don't want it, I'll keep it. But the customer still wants the product, and will find a way to get it.

Go ahead and defend abuse, accusing everybody else that no, they are the abusers. It's a sure-fire way to entice people who previously would've been happy to pay, to instead say sod that and we'll take our money elsewhere. Go right ahead. Please do.

It just gives more rise to the notion that copyright as it exists today is not fit for purpose and that we need something less prone to executive abuse, something more tailored to making sure the grunts do get paid fair compensation for their efforts, and that customers can buy the results for a fair price without silly, arbitrary restrictions.

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Joke

BING!

Bings been doing this since the beginning!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I was about to say...

I doubt if more than a dozen of more of the 4.3m criminal sites Google talks about in that post is a false positive.

Google has made money off the scum, while honest people lose their jobs.

Sooner or later you're going to have to pay for the music you suck down for free. Just like you have to pay for a girlfriend now.

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Meh

Re: Google to alter search results to hide PIRATES

Does this mean any blog, any tweet any mention of pirate sites in news articles, tech sites etc will be demoted?

If El Reg runs an article mentioning said sites will El Reg find itself on page 99999999999999999999?

I cannot see how this will effect things if some blogs ' try xxxxxxx site which as a proxy for xxxx'

Or will you be punished just for blogging 'had a look at Rapidshare'

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Anonymous Coward

@21 Jump Street

If someone pirated that film Sir, it would indeed be a criminal offence. An offence to the viewer of said copy, being that it was a dire "film" and offensive to anyone with more than 2 brain cells. That would leave you out then Sir.

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Anonymous Coward

@ "money off the scum"

Let me fix that sentence of yours

"MPAA and movie execs are scum that made money, while honest people lose their jobs."

There, that's fixed

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @21 Jump Street

"If someone pirated that film Sir, it would indeed be a criminal offence. An offence to the viewer of said copy, being that it was a dire "film" and offensive to anyone with more than 2 brain cells. That would leave you out then Sir."

I saw that film a few weeks ago and thought it was hilarious. Mind you, I watched it on a plane and paid nothing for it. Apart from the £1200 air fare of course.

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Meh

Re: Google to alter search results to hide PIRATES

Won't this just move companies from patent trolling into a new area of removal trolling? Talk about enabling... After all what better way to get more sales than your competitor by issuing multiple take down notices to reduce their search ranking for terms such as 'tablet'.

Here come Apple and Samsung...

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YouTube to be banned from search results?

"Sites with most copyright removal notices sink to bottom"

Does this mean that YouTube will be relegated to the very bottom of any search result list? I'm pretty sure they can't be far from the top of the list for a "site with most copyright removal notices".

If they don't demote youtube results based on this, surely that's monopoly abuse.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: YouTube to be banned from search results?

Google of course was prepared for that. Takedown notices for YouTube videos go to YouTube, not Google search. So no downgrading YouTube..

I also noticed recently that Google Play Store results for at least some music content have taken up more prominent rankings, whereas before those same positions were taken up by illegal downloads.

So an all around good tactic for Google. Tell the world that they're battling illegal content, keep the word's biggest repo of it well ranked and feeding their ad money machine with eyeballs AND on top secure a better position for their own shop!

No wonder Googlers who come up with these plans get so many perks.

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Trollface

Re: YouTube to be banned from search results?

What with that NASA group stealing video from NEWS sites and everything...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: YouTube to be banned from search results?

"Does this mean that YouTube will be relegated to the very bottom of any search result list?"

"Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results..." I.e. May: i.e. may not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: YouTube to be banned from search results?

> "Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results..."

search, click on page 10, carry on....

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FAIL

Re: YouTube to be banned from search results?

"Sites with most copyright removal notices sink to bottom"

Which means that the more items you have, the more likely you are to get shoved to the bottom of the queue just because of the number of notices. If I have 10M items and get 10K notices (a 0.1% hit ratio) (which are immediately responded to upon receipt BTW) I am more likely to get penalized than a site with only 9K worth of notices and 100K items (a 9% hit ratio). This algorithm needs to be adjusted to take hit ratio into consideration. The more items you have to be disputed the more disputes you will have simply due to the number of targets even if the percentage of items in dispute is much lower.

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Captcha?

"it had received 4.3 million such requests in the last month alone."

Sounds like they need to include a hard captcha on their takedown request submission form.

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Well if this actually makes much difference, I'm sure sites like filestube won't be complaining. I also wonder if firing off a load of dodgy copyright complaints to google will become the latest SEO technique!

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Thumb Up

My thought exactly.

Am now waiting with gleeful anticipation the new Copyright Infringement Denial Attack from Anonymous in direction of RIAA/MPAA and witnessing their websites disappear from Google's front page.

Any day now . . .

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Trollface

Hang on!

I think there are other search engines on the intertubes.

Or are people convinced that Facebook and Google ARE the Internet?

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Re: Hang on!

"Or are people convinced that Facebook and Google ARE the Internet?"

I think they are. I had a family member round last week using their laptop once. They opened Firefox, it defaulted to that Firefox Google home page and they'd type, e.g. Hotmail into it and then click on the resulting link. When they wanted to go somewhere else, they'd type Google into the address bar and when it came up they'd type the name of the next site they wanted into Google (e.g. BBC iplayer) and click on the resulting link. Every time. Never mind that all these things were in their address history and would come up the moment you typed a few bits of the name into it.

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Headmaster

Re: Hang on!

I still do that. But it's habbit from back in school with our first PC (No personal bookmarks. :( ). So I had to Yahoo every single page that had more complicated addresses then I'd care to remember. :P

I also like to think I'm boosting their traffic rating through google. That and if I can mess up Googles analytics in the process... ;)

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Re: Hang on!

A friend of mine does this all the time. He won't type the full URL in for a site, even if he has it. Can't be bothered. I've warned him he'll click on a wrong'un in Google search one day and end up with malware on his machine!

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Pirate

Find content from legitimate sources...

Like that is possible. Half of the time I try to view legit content, I get the dreaded "Not available in your country" taunt.

If the f*cking copyright holders want people to go for legit sources, don't f*cking region code! Simple as that!

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Re: Find content from legitimate sources...

"If the f*cking copyright holders want people to go for legit sources, don't f*cking region code! Simple as that!"

So should the BBC not be putting any of their content online, or should we British be subsidizing the entire rest of the world with our licence fees?

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Re: Find content from legitimate sources...

The BBC should make it easy for anybody in the world to buy a BBC license.. and abolish the TV tax.

Don't see that happening though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Find content from legitimate sources...

He wants free beer - your beer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Find content from legitimate sources...

"... or should we British be subsidizing the entire rest of the world with our licence fees?"

As a licence payer, I would accept that, if the rest of the world's broadcasters made all their bits region unlocked too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Find content from legitimate sources...

Easy, watch BBC and other UK content without a TV licence.

I use a VPN service from the colonies to access all UK TV content.

It costs me about 21 quid a year, unlimited bandwidth.

It's fast, I never suffer any buffering.

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Re: Find content from legitimate sources...

" British be subsidizing the entire rest of the world with our licence fees? "

I don't think that's what the OP was referring to when he talked about region coding. But, for what it is worth, I live in France, pay French TV licence (and don't watch French TV, terrestrial blackspot and I don't plan on mucking with my dish setup to support Orange's decoder). I watch British TV off satellite. Some BBC stuff too. I would be willing to pay a reduced licence for access to BBC's online stuff, or a full licence for access to all broadcaster's online stuff (4OD etc).

I don't see this happening in the near future...

You ask if the Brits should subsidise the world. No, but just accept that there will be piracy of British content while your broadcaster makes little effort to find ways to make such content available internationally. I believe, actually, that a lot of the haphazard piracy is people fed up with the ridiculous situation that physical things (books, etc) can be shipped from anywhere, but digital media is locked down in highly arbitrary ways. We, the consumer, might wish to enjoy Torchwood specials and AKB48 and so on. Is our money not good enough? If the pirates can make content available across the globe, what is causing the official media outlets so much difficulty? I guess they are still stuck in the days when they sold a product, told you what to do with it, and even what advertising you would see. Well, newsflash, things are changing. Consider adapting!

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FAIL

Re: Find content from legitimate sources...

or should we British be subsidizing the entire rest of the world with our licence fees?

What? Like the BBC World Service???? But who would broadcast government propaganda then?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Find content from legitimate sources...

@M Gale

"The BBC should make it easy for anybody in the world to buy a BBC license.. and abolish the TV tax."

A dozen years ago I would have gladly paid the full BBC licence fee as long as I got a decent selection of channels.

Instead all I could get was BBC Prime and I was undoubtedly paying for that. They can charge for stuff if they want to.

BBC Prime was dreadful - wall to wall East Enders and ancient unfunny comedies.

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FAIL

Now that really would break your economic back, would it not, h4m0ny -

paying with your taxes for a programme or a webpage which some freeloader elsewhere in the wide world had the audacity to look at for free ?!! No wonder you're suffering from hypertension and associated disorders - the very idea of someone else benefitting in any way, shape, or form from something to the production of which you contributed a few pence ! Your pseudonym seems to be exquisitely well chosen....

Henri

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I thought they were doing that already

... these past couple of years, torrent links have become much less prominent in\ Google searches.

A reasonable measure, in any case, and I believe it will discourage casual piracy. Forcing people to have to join special file-sharing forums rather than just grabbing their torrents off Google scares off the squeamish, because forums means data being handed over.

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IT Angle

Re: I thought they were doing that already

People use Google to look for torrents?

And there's no need to join forums, either.

No strain, no unpleasant bending, no problems, no subterfuge.

Doesn't anyone wander through Mozilla's Mycroft stuff?

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FAIL

Re: I thought they were doing that already

"these past couple of years, torrent links have become much less prominent in\ Google searches".

They seem quite prominent if you add the word t-o-r-r-e-n-t to your search term though

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Meh

Not particularly concerned...

I just typed torrent into google - first three results are torrent sharing websites and torrent search engines.

Whilst incorporating takedown notices into search results may happen, I doubt the big torrent players will have much to worry about. As long as bittorrent remains an extremely effective tool for distributing *legal* works, it will always have a place on search results unless google completely re-write their algorithms to the point where the search engine becomes useless.

Google's actions in this instance seem almost gallic in a "token effort to please someone who keeps on bitching about something" kind of way.

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Re: Not particularly concerned... a couple of seconds - if that

Find link to torrent search engine, right- click, 'add to Bookmarks'.

No more need for Google.

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Anonymous Coward

as it was pointed out in the past by other commentates: unless there is a system that punishes a false/wrong take-down notices, then the system is open to abuse by anyone who call themselves a copyright holder.

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The gaming possibilities are endless ...

Well done, Google. You've just given the spammers a new tool.

Fucking idiot gookids ... They really have no clue, do they?

The scary thing is that WallStreet seems to find them important.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The gaming possibilities are endless ...

Google already remove violating search results, now they're punishing the sites too. The tool isn't new, it's just been enhanced.

Also, try calm down a little, you'll live longer.

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Bronze badge

What is that legal term to preempt such things so business may go on?

Suppose one has had original, personally-created content posted for years and is confident of proving so. Cannot such a person go to a judge, get such a clearance, then post to all the search engines that NO takedown will apply unless it validly counters the pre-takedown protection?

Such proof might be valid, verifiable copyright dates of identicaly, challenged material.

Others can chime in to fill in gaps i my 'logic', please.

Problem for the se and seo camp is they have to recode to avoid being sued for damages for reckless takedowns. The burden may need to be on the complainant, not the defendant.

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Devil

Re: What is that legal term to preempt such things so business may go on?

Or maybe judges have important law things to spend their time dealing with :)

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Facepalm

Re: Or maybe judges have important law things to spend their time dealing with :)

Not according to Apple

HE COPIED OUR ROUNDED CORNERS!!! WHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaa

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Pirate

Re: What is that legal term to preempt such things so business may go on?

I believe the term you are groping for is an "injunction".

However, I am pretty sure it can only be filed against a specific party. In other words, you would need to file a lot of injunctions to protect yourself against the opportunists (although I am certain some are legitimately aggrieved parties m'lud) who are firing out take-down notices on a grand scale.

Might be fun to watch what happens though, if you can afford the legal fees.

And it could create an entire new revenue stream for ambulance chasers.

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Unhappy

Google can go gurgle down the plughole

I'm switching to yahoo as my default search engine because it doesn't indirect all its result links.

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Ho Hum

So i will simply start at page 10 of my search results and work backwards.....

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Facepalm

Re: Ho Hum

I already do.... to avoid the bulk of websites selling products related to my search....

I tried finding a review for printer a week or so ago, the first 3 pages were websites selling said printer, or websites that list comparisons of prices on the websites....

the first real review, and not just a fake customer review came on page 3.....

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