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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Google Will Put in Place New Copyright Filter

A week ago the search giant made an official statement about its filtering system. The matter is that the websites which receive a huge number of takedown requests will now be automatically outranked by Google.

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Apparently, under the pressure of the music and movie industries, the search engine struggled for quite some time to comply with their demands related to filtering infringing services, but a week ago the company claimed that they will enforce a new filter which will focus on the service receiving numerous DMCA takedown requests. Google said they would start to consider a new signal in the rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices received for any given service. The websites with high numbers of DMCA notices might appear lower in the searching results.

In 2012, Google has published a list of received takedown requests, but the Recording Industry Association of America wasn’t satisfied, pointing out that the search engine still failed to do enough to filter out infringing websites. The list of such websites include filestube.com, torrenthound.com, bitsnoop.com, isohunt.com, and, of course, our extratorrent.com. As such, we could also be the subject of this new filtering system.

In the meantime, only rights owners can know whether something is authorized, and only courts have the power to decide if copyright was infringed. The search engine can’t determine if a particular webpage infringes copyright. As such, while this new signal will have impact on the ranking of the search results, Google won’t be removing any pages from its results unless it receives a valid copyright removal notice from the copyright holder.

Nevertheless, the main problem remains that the company’s new ranking may also outrank legal content. For instance, YouTube hosts millions of legitimate search results, but due to the high number of unauthorized videos it may also fall under the new filtering system of the search engine. As for Google, it claimed that it was treating YouTube like any other website in search rankings. However, the company doesn’t expect this change to demote results for the most popular user-generated content services.

Aside from censoring illegal content, the entertainment industry asked the largest search engines to prioritize sites obtaining certification as a licensed website under a recognized scheme, as well as to stop indexing sites subject to court orders. It is unclear if Google is going to follow on these requests soon.

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