Google ramps up anti-piracy efforts; updates algorithm to keep pirate sites at bay

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Google’s anti-piracy efforts will see major tweaks made to its search engine this week to ensure ‘notorious’ piracy sites are out of the search results when people search for music, films and other copyrighted content.

The announcement comes as the search engine giant published an updated How Google Fights Piracy report which explains how it attempts to fight piracy across its services. The report was originally launched in September 2013 as a defence against claims by music and film rightsholders that Google was not doing enough to tackle mass copyright infringement.

“In August 2012 we first announced that we would downrank sites for which we received a large number of valid DMCA notices,” wrote Google’s senior copyright counsel Katherine Oyama in a blog post published on Friday.

“We’ve now refined the signal in ways we expect to visibly affect the rankings of some of the most notorious sites. This update will roll out globally starting next week.”

The report noted that Google’s new ad formats have been designed to lead users to legitimate sources when they search for things like “download”, “free” or “watch” alongside music and movie-related search queries.

The company will remove more terms from its autocomplete search feature that return results with many Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) demoted sites, based on DMCA removal notices sent by rightsholders.

Furthermore, Google is also implementing an “improved DMCA demotion signal” for search results. This will mean websites with more number of Digital Millennium Copyright Act notices for infringement will be rapidly pushed down in the search engine rankings.