Google announced it is changing its algorithms and making websites containing unauthorized material harder to find.
“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,” said Amit Singhal, Gogole SVP, Engineering.
The ranking change will help users find “legitimate, quality sources of content” more easilyâ€”from paid sources like Spotify, Hulu or Quickflix.
Google says it is receiving more copyright removal notices every dayâ€”4.3 million in the last 30 days, and is using this data as a “signal” in its search rankings.
However, the search powerhouse wont be deleting any “illegal” content from its search results, unless “we receive a valid copyright removal notice.”
“Only copyright holders know if something is authorized… and Google cannot determine whether a webpage does or does not violate copyright law,” writes Singhal, on Google’s blog.
So, in other words, if you’re searching for “Sons of Anarchy Series 2” it may now appear on Page 6 of Google search results rather than Page 1, making it harder for web surfers to access content easily.
Some are saying this is Google’s subtle way of cosying up to movie houses like Warner and Sony as it looks to bulk up its licenced content on Google TV, currently available in US only.
But it does seem like the days of free downlaods are coming to a brisk end – with the recent demise of some high profile free content sites including Megaupload.
|However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) isn’t happy with the change, saying it is “effectively telling the searcher that these are not the websites you’re looking for – based on accusations alone gives copyright owners one more bit of control over what we see, hear, and read.”
“Google was blase about copyright until one day its business plan shifted!”one Twitter user also noted.