Google Caves To Hollywood Pressure: Will Now Punish Sites That Get Lots Of 'Valid' DMCA Notices

from the whose-master? dept

For quite some time the RIAA and MPAA have been going on and on about how Google can just “fix” its search results by either removing or punishing sites that are deemed as “pirate” sites. We’ve explained why this is not as easy as the entertainment industry thinks it is, but it appears that the pressure has gotten to Google… and they’ve just announced that they will, in fact, be punishing sites that they deem as bad players, based on the data they have of how many “valid copyright removal notices” a site gets:

We aim to provide a great experience for our users and have developed over 200 signals to ensure our search algorithms deliver the best possible results. 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. This ranking change should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily—whether it’s a song previewed on NPR’s music website, a TV show on Hulu or new music streamed from Spotify.

Since we re-booted our copyright removals over two years ago, we’ve been given much more data by copyright owners about infringing content online. In fact, we’re now receiving and processing more copyright removal notices every day than we did in all of 2009—more than 4.3 million URLs in the last 30 days alone. We will now be using this data as a signal in our search rankings.

The company notes that it’s just one signal of many and that they will only demote the results, but not remove those sites from the index. In fact, they point out, correctly, that “Only copyright holders know if something is authorized, and only courts can decide if a copyright has been infringed; Google cannot determine whether a particular webpage does or does not violate copyright law.”

As I understand it, the plan is that for people who search for, say, “watch dark knight rises free online,” Google will try to push results that are likely to be unauthorized down the list, and try to have more “authorized” results higher up in the list (though, with a search query like the one above, there may not be any “authorized results” that provide what the person is searching for).

It’s that last point where this gets to be troubling. Part of the reason people are searching for such things is that there isn’t an easy and legitimate way to get that content. The best result would be for Hollywood to get its act together, realize that its whole windowing procedure is a disaster from the consumers’ perspective, and provide more of what consumers want. Instead, the end result is going to be that people do these searches and just get equally frustrated. I don’t see how that’s good for Hollywood or for Google.

My other concern is that things things that later turn out to be quite legitimate and massive opportunities for authorized and legitimate content, are quite frequently demonized as tools of piracy early on. Imagine an equivalent of this announcement today in the early days of the VCR, when the MPAA insisted that it was evil and infringing. Imagine if when you went into a store to buy a VCR, the store instead pointed you to the movie theater down the road. That might be what Hollywood thought it wanted, but the end result would have been a much smaller home movie market — not a market that ended up being bigger than the box office market just a few years after Hollywood insisted it was illegal.

Same thing with the first MP3 players. The RIAA sued the Diamond Rio as being a tool for infringement. Imagine if when you went to buy an MP3 player, stores decided to instead tell you you should buy some cassette tapes instead. It enforces an older way of doing business, rather than a new way.

And this applies online as well. Obviously, there’s still an ongoing lawsuit against YouTube for copyright infringement, and YouTube certainly gets a ton of “valid copyright removal notices.” Would Google demote search results to YouTube based on this? In the past, Google has punished the search results for other parts of its own business, for violating its rules, so it’s entirely possible that YouTube results could get demoted under this system — though I would imagine that Google believes that the many other “signals” it uses to determine legitimacy would minimize the likelihood of this being an issue.

But… that might not apply to a new up and coming site. Take, for example, the cases of Veoh and MP3Tunes. What both of those companies did was deemed legal by the courts, but both companies went bankrupt due to massive legal fees from being sued by the legacy entertainment industry. Imagine if, on top of that, Google also demoted the results from those sites at the same time. Already, Google is facing antitrust scrutiny for what some companies claim was a policy that demoted Google search results to their pages. While I think those claims are pretty bogus, is Google just opening itself up to a similar antitrust attack on that point?

I recognize that Google has a tricky balancing act here — trying to keep the entertainment industry off its back, and the governmental pressure that comes with that, while still providing the “best” search results for its users. And I’m sure that Google has tried to use an approach that minimizes the concerns I raise above. But we’ve already seen, quite clearly, how Google’s automated systems often fail when it comes to copyright issues, and the risk for both abuse and bad results seems quite high. At the very least, it’s going to bear very close scrutiny to see how Google handles legitimate sites, who get swept up in claims of infringement when they’re actually providing legitimate services.

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Companies: google, mpaa, riaa

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Comments on “Google Caves To Hollywood Pressure: Will Now Punish Sites That Get Lots Of 'Valid' DMCA Notices”

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167 Comments
Tunnen (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So, I say we all collectively setup a bunch of shell corporations, so we can DMCA the RIAA and MPAA’s site, maybe some government offices too just to try to get the lawmakers to see there is a problem.

I added the shell corporation part in there, because the current track record shows that if a company files a bogus DMCA, they won’t be penalized. Where I’m sure if a person filed a bogus DMCA, they’d be buried in lawsuits.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The keyword in their statement is “valid”. This implies that it it is not the sheer volume of notices that are in play here, but rather they have left themselves a loophole. If a site receives a lot of DMCA requests that they deem to be invalid then they simply will do nothing and when they decide to do nothing to the index of a site that has had a lot of requests their answer to the critics will simply be to provide proof of the validity of the requests. What I would like to see, (which they very well may be doing without revealing it) is have a ranking system for the requesters such that requests submitted to abuse the DMCA cause subsequent requests from the same source to have a diminishing effect on the system.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If they felt like they were in the slightest danger of that, they’d be ordering Congress to grant them a levy, or some other arbitrary influx of money. (“For the artists!”, who’d get 0% of said money.)
They can take all the tax dollars they want, as long as part gets funneled into their political flunkies’ campaign funds. They just haven’t needed to yet.

Tunnen (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well, according to the 5 stages of loss.

Hollwood has:

1. Denial, of the loss of revenues and how they are alienating their customer base.
2. Anger, by blaming pirates. Lashing out at people with lawsuits.
3. Bargaining, (Where they currently are) with others to try to force people to continue to support their way of life.

So we’re a little over halfway there… Just need them to go through Depression and then Acceptance that their business model is dead. =P

Atkray (profile) says:

Seems like if this works as planned the procedure will be to automatically click to the 3rd page of the search results.

“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.”

This would mean they also have a way to identify invalid copyright removal notices.

So come on Google and share the love, how about restricting the notices from entities that rank high in the number of invalid copyright removal notices.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Seems like if this works as planned the procedure will be to automatically click to the 3rd page of the search results.

I doubt that there will be any linearity to this. In order to be effective, I’ll bet they’ll sprinkle them through a number of pages and much deeper than page three. This will work pretty much like delisting with Google wearing a free speech fig leaf,

Anonymous Coward says:

Once again Masnick, you find fault with any reasonable measure to combat infringement. I’m no fan of Google but it seems like this approach balances free speech with copyright protection.

The fact is that Google is moving into monetizing content even more directly and now has more reason to find the right balance. So now the infringing websites are still there except you might find one on page 47, another on page 202, etc. Most people don’t go past the first few pages so this effectively delists those sites without Google having to answer to cries of censorship.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Once again Masnick, you find fault with any reasonable measure to combat infringement. I’m no fan of Google but it seems like this approach balances free speech with copyright protection.

If I thought it was EFFECTIVE then I wouldn’t have an issue with it.

I will note, of course, that you didn’t respond to a SINGLE issue I raised in the post about how this could cause significant collateral damage. But, then, you’re in the business of *causing* significant collateral damage like this, so what do you care?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The system is based on the DMCA notice and counter-notice system. It’s not like aggrieved sites have no recourse before they’re consigned to oblivion.

Obviously, your friends at Google DO think it will be effective. And simply because YOU think there might be collateral damage doesn’t mean there actually will be any, and certainly isn’t justification to shelf a program designed to rein in people illegally monetizing the creative output of others.

This has to be a depressing development for you. First the payment processors got together and agreed to cut off rogue sites. Next, the ad networks adopted a best practices policy to cut these guys off. Then the ISP’s join to implement six strikes. Now the apologists most formidable ally has agreed to bury infringers in their basement. The noose tightens and you and your fellow piracy apologists become more shill, more desperate and further on the margins of the debate.

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I do repeat business with several establishments on a weekly basis. For example I shop for groceries and purchase gasoline typically in the local area. Using your assumptive logic, they must therefore be my friends. Although it could be true, in most cases (and mine) it is not. The logic fail is strong here and will most likely be ignored in the pursuit of trollerific splenditude.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

This has to be a depressing development for you. First the payment processors got together and agreed to cut off rogue sites. Next, the ad networks adopted a best practices policy to cut these guys off. Then the ISP’s join to implement six strikes. Now the apologists most formidable ally has agreed to bury infringers in their basement. The noose tightens and you and your fellow piracy apologists become more shill, more desperate and further on the margins of the debate.

It’s not a “depressing development” for me. I think that Google and Hollywood are making a big *mistake* here, because this won’t help things, and could cause collateral damage. There are ways to deal with infringement, and this isn’t it.

Also, you’re the first person to accuse us of carrying Google’s water all the time. Yet, now when this proves that’s total bullshit, you forget all those old claims and now pretend that we’re somehow “marginalized.” Reminds me of your predictions about how SOPA was going to sail through….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

As I said, no one was more surprised at the reversal of SOPA/Protect IP than I was. I even offered kudos to the other side. You’re not a player Masnick. Nor are the other hysterical anti-copyright zealots. The lesson of SOPA has moved all enforcement from legislation-based to industry agreements, best practices. By definition, you and your fellow copyright anarchists are on the margins as you hold no sway in industry agreement discussions. Friends like Issa can’t do much to help without appearing to be over-regulating industry- which for some reason has more political gravitas than consumer concerns.

Finally, your way of dealing with infringement is to ignore enforcement entirely. While I agree that new business models are necessary and actually in process, ignoring people who monetize the copyrighted content of others should not be tolerated, and by the look of things- will not be.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“The lesson of SOPA has moved all enforcement from legislation-based to industry agreements, best practices. By definition, you and your fellow copyright anarchists are on the margins as you hold no sway in industry agreement discussions.”

You know who does hold the most sway? The paying customer! If you think back-room industry deals are going to endear customers to these companies you’re out of your frickin’ mind. The process that sunk SOPA will be equally effective at dealing with companies trying to secretly screw over the very people that are their income source.

“Finally, your way of dealing with infringement is to ignore enforcement entirely.”

Correction, the way to deal with infringement is to ignore enforcement entirely and concentrate on meeting your customers demands instead.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Seriously dude? You’re going to cut up your credit cards, boycott all products using Internet ads, cut off your Internet connection or move to satellite and boycott Google (and likely other search engines) Be sure to let me know how that works out for you. Probably almost as well as the March blackout.

Milton Freewater says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“The system is based on the DMCA notice and counter-notice system. It’s not like aggrieved sites have no recourse before they’re consigned to oblivion.

… and simply because YOU think there might be collateral damage doesn’t mean there actually will be any”

So you agree with Mike that it’s likely, not because he says so but because YOU say so. You actually put it more strongly than he does – aggrieved sites will be consigned to oblivion and will have, at best, recourse. That is a chilling paragraph, my friend.

For the record, I don’t agree with you. Sites won’t be consigned to oblivion. But I disagree slightly with Mike too, because this kind of ordering does improve the search experience for certain types of users. In the future, search engines and their prejudices will be marketed like any other product.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Let me ask you this Mr. Facist Anon. Why are you so against due process?

Why do you like systems that are ripe for abuse?

> The system is based on the DMCA notice and
> counter-notice system.

Yes, a system that has been abused so much.

I wouldn’t mind the DMCA if the penalty for getting it wrong had some serious teeth in it.

I’ll just add, I would be happy to see piracy completely disappear. Yes, really.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Why are you unable to grasp that due process is a duty owed by the government in the judicial process. It simply doesn’t apply to the private sector.

And the system most ripe for abuse is the one where the intellectual property of others is ripe for the taking with little effective legal recourse. That has given rise to the industry agreements which will end up making you wish you had SOPA instead. At least there was judicial oversight. Now you will be relying on the benevolence of the private sector. Good luck with that.

Nigel (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Way to not actually respond to anything as usual.

As someone who has had to rank about 1200 sites in my day. I can tell you assuredly that his is not going to do shit.

Google lowers the ranking of shady sites so more legit sites can rise to the top? Ok then, so free streaming site ranks for x search query. If hollywood does not provide legit options, there is nothing to be ranked about the so called rouge sites and nothing changes across what folks are searching for in the first place.

Cream rises to the top, shit sinks to the bottom.

Nigel

John Doe says:

What about the next search company?

This article got me to thinking about the next search company. Only there won’t be one. If Google were to pop on the scene today, they would be immediately sued out of existence by the legacy gatekeepers as a young upstart company could never afford to defend themselves. This is good for both Google and the legacy gatekeepers. Maybe it is time to start viewing Google as a legacy player?

Lord Binky says:

Re: Re:

Why are they not open? And ‘open’ does not mean community controlled either. Pretending to be ignorant of patent laws and crying for ‘openness’ when that very openness would be used to destroy you in horrible patent system wonderland, is just silly. Any amount of sharing ANYTHING is to be applauded in technology businesses right now.

Often any time they are not ‘open’ it is to concede to other companies so that they can work together. Do you remember cell phone games when they were completely run by carriers? Yeah, those carriers haven’t changed their ideals one bit, they just merely have to comply to giving up any control to compete properly, but they fight ‘open’ every chance they have.

Do you really think Google would prefer to ‘censor’ results if they were able to maintain all their legal protections while returning results based solely on their algorithms? Who would make work harder for themselves for no benefit whatsoever?

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I hope you aren’t implying that Apple would be a better choice… because they are so much more open and accommodating, never censor anything from their app store, nor do they collect any obtrusive advertising results… oh wait…

Sometimes the devil you know is better, and I’ve always felt this way about Google. I’m by no means happy with a lot of what they do, but it’s typically better than the alternatives.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They can’t.

I wish they would define what they mean by “valid copyright removal notices”. That is a pretty vague phrase — it could mean removal notices about actual copyright infringement (which it can’t mean, as even Google admits that they can’t tell if something is really infringing or not), or that the webform for the removal request was completely filled in, or — as I suspect — removal notices that resulted in Google removing something.

In any case, Google is become less relevant with every passing year.

Anonymous Coward says:

Since we re-booted our copyright removals over two years ago, we?ve been given much more data by copyright owners about infringing content online.

This. Right here. What the hell.

This homeless guy says you stole his house, and his car, and his clothes, and his food, and his dog. Please return all these things to him immediately. Investigate? What? No, of course not. He says you did, that’s good enough for us.

Lord Binky says:

Re: Re: Re:

Then we get rid of ISPs and sign up to _SP’s which connects the users of other _SPs but is it definitely NOT the internet, it’ll be something completely different that internet laws do not apply to because it is NOT the internet, even though all your internet devices function through it when using a ‘not the internet’ modem. We should give this ‘not the internet’ network a name that’s nice and warm, that has a connotation that can’t be twisted into being connected to piracy in any way and will be very difficult to blame. Like cute-fluffy-animal network or something…

Anonymous Coward says:

Quick - a mole!

now receiving and processing more copyright removal notices every day than we did in all of 2009—more than 4.3 million URLs in the last 30 days alone

Whack.

Whack. Whack.

Whack. Whack. Whack. Whack.

Whack. Whack. Whack. Whack. Whack. Whack. Whack. Whack.

… etc. …

Hopefully, you get the picture.

Greevar (profile) says:

Once again...

The MPAA and RIAA expect others to protect their monopoly at the expense of those they demand compliance from. Why should Google give them one iota of server overhead to protect their monopoly for free, when they could solve all their problems internally? Google and other service providers should be sending the **AA a bill for operating costs for all this effort they have to put in to punish “rogue” sites. Then we’d see how fast they back off. Or they may just cry to the courts to issue a mandate for compliance.

Demanding that others to solve your problems for you out of charity is just insane. This is their problem, not Google’s, not Yahoo’s, not your ISP’s, it’s Hollywood’s problem and no one else’s. They should bear the cost if they want to combat this “problem”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Once again...

Demanding that others to solve your problems for you out of charity is just insane. This is their problem, not Google’s, not Yahoo’s, not your ISP’s, it’s Hollywood’s problem and no one else’s. They should bear the cost if they want to combat this “problem”.

So you are suggesting that players in the ecosystem have no responsibility to guard against illegal activity? Bullshit. Banks, S&L’s, Credit Unions, brokerages and other financial institution are all on the front line against money laundering and other crimes. UPS and FedEx all bear some of the costs of preventing drugs, weapons and contraband from moving through the delivery ecosystem.

So once again, you have embarrassingly proven that you are full of shit.

Welsh Fargo says:

Re: Re: Once again...

“So you are suggesting that players in the ecosystem have no responsibility to guard against illegal activity? Bullshit. Banks, S&L’s, Credit Unions, brokerages and other financial institution are all on the front line against money laundering and other crimes. UPS and FedEx all bear some of the costs of preventing drugs, weapons and contraband from moving through the delivery ecosystem.”

You are a nutjob.

Why are you even on this site? Are you just here to yell “babykiller” at the abortion clinic? We get it. You think certain types of data distribution are CRIMES and WRONG. Adults have a range of opinions on the topic. The person you’re responding to doesn’t think pirated uploads are as serious as you do. The existence of this difference of perspective should not be a shock to you, and it alone does not make him “full of shit.”

Are you one of these people who believes that grown men and women don’t have the right to have differences of opinion on law and conscience? If you believe something, everybody else must believe it too or you will beat them until they see things your way?

Or maybe you just assumed that he, like you, is driven to psychotic rage by minor civil infractions, so for him to not immediately recognize the equivalency of laundering drug money and filtering search results based on alleged minor copyright issues only means that he did not think things through?

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re: Once again...

Banks et al have a personal stake in fighting laundering. Parcel companies have a first hand stake to ensure shipping contraband through their system doesn’t happen. What’s more, neither can solve the issue by changing their business model. The **AA can. The very fact that they can solve all of their problems internally, without law intervening, makes it absurd that they should demand Google solve it for them at Google’s expense.

Google does not have a direct stake in fighting infringement. They are providing a service to the **AA that they aren’t really mandated to; and were this anyone else demanding Google provide a service that doesn’t benefit Google in any way to provide it, and would actually cost them money, Google would likely tell them to get stuffed.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Once again...

I didn’t say Google is being pushed around. Merely, that Google is providing services that cost them overhead and the content lobby expects that compliance as a matter of course. Perhaps there is something in it for Google, I can’t say whether there is or not, but that doesn’t negate that Google has no obligation to acquiesce to the content lobby. Google owes them nothing and is apparently doing this out of their own volition, without compensation from the content lobby and the content lobby acts like they are entitled to it. If Google ever got tired of being their lap dog, Google could turn around and tear them a new one.

Lowestofthekeys (profile) says:

Re: Re: Once again...

I’m going to assume you are making the typical asinine assumption that a download results in a lost sale therefore it is the equivalent to stealing, and in some hyperbolic sense, drugs, contraband and money laundering (you took quite a few steps there).

Oh…wait, you’re the guy who is just here to harp on Masnick with carefully worded ad hominem attacks. it must be nice to sling insults instead of back up your statements, right?

Anonymous Coward says:

” Part of the reason people are searching for such things is that there isn’t an easy and legitimate way to get that content.”

Yeah, great example. They can’t get an easy and legitimate copy of a movie that hasn’t been release on DVD yet. How nice.

Why don’t you just tell Ford they need to deliver your 2016 car today too. The design is done, so you should be able to get it easily and legitimately now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Actually, he’s referring to content that is available, not things that haven’t been released yet. And that’s what most people want, things that are out. But due to stupid restrictions that no longer work in a digital word, they can’t get them.

Which is why they search for other means of acquiring them.

The 2016 example, per your own stupidity, wouldn’t work because A. the 2013 models aren’t even being shipped yet and B. they still need to manufacture the vehicle from scratch.

You trolls really suck with analogies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Ok how about this. I want to buy a plug-in Prius. But they don’t sell them in Wyoming. So by Techdirtbag logic I’m entitled to obtain one my illegal means due to the failure of the Toyota business model. How about instead I do without or find a substitute instead of acting like an entitled asshole.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Except that your ludicrous example doesn’t fit either because you have a legal means by travelling to another state to purchase one and I suspect providing them there is not a arbitrary decision to create artificial scarcity but rather a decision made based on cost/benefit analysis (ie expense to supply for the amount of return in an area where population density is such that the demand for them is likely much lower). It actually costs MORE to limit digital distribution over the Internet by region as the very design of it is to allow access from anywhere. Nice try but no. You still look like the entitled asshole here.

JMT says:

Re: Re:

“They can’t get an easy and legitimate copy of a movie that hasn’t been release on DVD yet.”

Exactly! They should be able to get a legitimate copy on DVD on the day the movie is released. They should be able to watch a legitimate stream or legitimate download on the day the movie is released. They should be able to, because the technology allows it and the customers want it. But the old-fasioned, backwards-looking content industries want to keep pretending it’s 1995, and base their release schedules, distribution methods and pricing on technological and physical restrictions that simply don’t exist anymore, and then get all upset when people don’t respect these non-existent restrictions. What a great long-term strategy!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Of course, if Google no longer gave useful results, they’d get dropped like AltaVista. Which would drop their ad revenue. Which would, in turn, drop them.

A difficult balancing act; the “we’ll bleed you dry through legal fees” ex-gatekeepers on one hand, a fickle public with inevitable alternatives on the other.

For Google’s sake, I sincerely hope they’re merely trying to stave off the MAFIAA temporarily while secretly working on a way to deal with them permanently. Google will never be able to please them; they’re not complaining about “rights”, they’re trying to eliminate competition. And they will never try to compete fairly.

Anonymous Coward says:

If I were Google and a fiscal small-fry like the MPAA came knocking on my door, I would just release the hounds and point to the ‘no panhandling’ sign.

People keep saying ContentID and now NoGoogleForAnyone are about money being diverted or “stolen by pirates”, but the numbers just don’t add up.

The reality of ContentID is automatic assignment of ownership rights to approved corporate entities. Essentially, this locks out the Internet as a distribution system for individual producers, innovators or business-people.

There’s more to this madness than a few small-time greedy twits whose own ignorance caps their industry’s profit potential.

DannyB (profile) says:

Prediction

Knowledge and news about sites carrying unauthorized material will move underground. Such unauthorized sites will deliberately keep themselves from being indexed by Google.

Now the copyright owners can’t find any piracy in Google, and so they will be content to believe that piracy doesn’t exist. Just as there was no unauthorized drinking during prohibition.

Hollywood will win the war on piracy just like the US is winning the War on (some) Drugs.

That One Guy (profile) says:

I would be totally okay with this...

If google also enforced an actual penalty for issuing faulty DMCA claims. Maybe turn one of the *AA’s own favorite ideas back at them, a ‘6-strikes’ plan, where they get an allowance of 6 bogus DMCA claims per year, and if they go over they cannot issue any more DMCA claims for the rest of the year.

Seems like a fair trade to me, especially as they always seem to insist that they always research and make absolutely sure never to issue bogus DMCA claims.

Androgynous Cowherd says:

And now SEO companies can knock their clients’ competitors that have user-generated content (even just comments; so, almost all of them) down in the google rankings simply by using sockpuppets to upload copyrighted content to those sites and then sending anonymous tips to rightsholders announcing that “a little bird told me that xyz.com has a pirated copy of your content Foo Goes to the Bar, and this Google search finds it”. The rightsholders will let fly with DMCA notices, some to the sites and some to Google search results for the sites, and Google will demote the affected sites.

william (profile) says:

Well, I think for Google, their bigger problem is how search result is tainted by search optimization which makes all the junks float to the top. This makes Google way less useful. A impartial search becomes bias and skewed.

Instead of trying to solve that problem, Google spend their resource on this to manipulate results and appease to MPAA/RIAA/**AAs. This makes Google searches even less impartial, skewed and potentially much less useful.

I can’t think of a better way to destroy yourself by messing with what customer perceives and wants. Sure, since they are a big company and since their user base is so large, it will take some time before noticeable decline in search. But I believe it will eventually come if they continue this path.

Not that I particular like Microsoft or something, but I heard Bing’s search are getting better. Perhaps I should start testing searches with it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Microsoft supported SOPA. Do you seriously think they won’t jump on the bandwagon? Seriously, the way industry agreements work is that if someone breaks ranks or remains an outlier, legislation codifying the best practices will soon follow to force everyone on board. Google and other compliant search engines will complain, the content industry will complain and the outlier get crushed. First they’ll get hauled before a committee to explain why they aren’t playing ball and if that doesn’t work legislation will follow. Unless they’re a Google-sized player they’re done for. See how it works?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Microsoft supported SOPA. Do you seriously think they won’t jump on the bandwagon? Seriously, the way industry agreements work is that if someone breaks ranks or remains an outlier, legislation codifying the best practices will soon follow to force everyone on board. Google and other compliant search engines will complain, the content industry will complain and the outlier get crushed. First they’ll get hauled before a committee to explain why they aren’t playing ball and if that doesn’t work legislation will follow. Unless they’re a Google-sized player they’re done for. See how it works?

Jeremy says:

Google is making a huge mistake.

Filtering is never what you want to do, and this amounts to search filtering. It doesn’t matter that illegal activity is rampant and needs to be addressed, filtering will cause a loss of market share for google. If they start filtering, someone will come in to replace the function that google is filtering from you, and that could in the future turn into a wedge that google may not recover from.

If you’re going to be a search engine, than do so. The minute people believe there’s something you can’t find with Google, it loses its entire purpose.

nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile) says:

DMCA - Digital Mafiaa Censorship of America

Maybe Google will give up censoring search results when it gets too much and more all their American .com access requests through their .hk domain like they did with that other authoritarian regime?

Anyway I can foresee…

1. 1st and 2nd search result pages become boiler-plate same websites listed everytime. Innocent search terms by people doing research for non-music, non-movie related topics e.g. “torrents of water” results 1-10 = Simon & Garfunkel official website… Buy Deep Purple album from Warner today etc… causing annoyed users to flock elsewhere or learn to click thru the first couple of pages.

2. Search competitors rising and capitalising on this self-imposed performance degradation.

3. SEO methodology switches to getting your website to appear at the top of page 3…n as the first couple of pages become meaningless.

4. Bit players in search and SEO are going to begin ‘craigslisting’ by building websites that filter Google search results to get rid of all the first page junk, or curate the salted results to get what you want (Google play whackamole with them).

5. Google search slowly declines… Mafiaa move on too persecuting the next new tech (holovids?) Google finally fix their broken search in an attempt to catch up with the competition that passed them, but loss of goodwill and perception of being ‘the search engine only your parents use’ will plague them, they never recover.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is a major problem since false DCMA submissions are classified as perjury which is punishable by fines,prison, or both.

Now here is where the problem lies even though perjury is illegal when it comes to the DCMA and Hollywood they don’t give two shits if the DCMA request was illegal or not.

If Google wants to do this I guess it could be good but on the other side the courts need to start handing out punishments for false DCMA takedown request.
If they do not do this I’m sure this method is going to be abused to the max.

Anonymous Coward says:

Could it be...

It may be that this is a step toward showing balance in trying to deal with the bigger problem of false DMCA requests. As I said earlier, the key word in this announcement is VALID. Given Google’s recent release of the DMCA transparency tools, it appears that Google’s aim may be to publicly expose the abusers of the system. The Content Cartels are constantly claiming that Google is intentionally profiting from piracy. This sort of announcement is a rebuttal in the PR war over this. Since Congress has a history of listening to the Content Cartels, Google needs initiate something that shows that they are not doing what the Cartels are claiming. If they only devalue indexes of sites from valid requests. No one has a problem. When a requester complains that his numerous requests didn’t result in the index being devalued, the basic response from Google likely will be, “Give us the proof you have that the request is valid.” Add all of this to the transparency report and the abusers start dropping like flies.

John Thacker (profile) says:

Google wants to sell entertainment...

The WSJ has the correct take on this.

The move comes as Google itself is attempting to become a major seller and distributor of professional video and music content through a variety of services, from its YouTube video site to the Google Play online-media store to its pay-TV service in Kansas City, which required deals with cable-channel networks.

Why is Google caving? Because they want to compete with Apple and others, and this is the price that the content creators insisted upon.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Google wants to sell entertainment...

I said this three or four different ways already. Hopefully with your comment and the WSJ link the Google-worshippers will snap out if their spell and realize that they’ve been sold down the river by “Do No Evil”. What a bunch of chumps. Google is just another soulless profit maximizer who would sell your kids to the gypsies if there was a dollar to be made.

Anonymous Coward says:

Profit making companies look to maximize profits. Toyota has determined its formula and the studios theirs. The risk both run is that consumers will find substitutes and abandon them for something else. Neither should have to be coerced by the theft of their product. It’s entertainment asshole. Not food, water or medicine. You actually CAN do without. The problem stems from your staggering sense of entitlement

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

To boycott the studios and labels one just need to cut the money flow.

Which by the way it is being a tremendous success according to the labels own statements people halved the size of that industry by half.

Keep up the good work people another decade an that industry could be 1/4 of the apice, which could be accelerated by the creation of free open alternatives.

Piracy is slowing down, and the labels still don’t get money, that should tell you something about what is happening.

People are just turning their backs to “musicians” and they will do the same thing to movies at some point if idiots keep pushing it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“It’s not a “depressing development” for me. I think that Google and Hollywood are making a big *mistake* here, because this won’t help things, and could cause collateral damage. There are ways to deal with infringement, and this isn’t it.”

I have to ask the obvious question though Mike:

If you don’t want to deal with the ignorant people you call the “legacy industry” (like it’s going away) why does it matter what Google does about their DMCA complaints?

If sites are pushing new artists, with all the legal rights to have their content on their sites, the stupid legacy players can’t do a thing.

My thought? You are not thrilled because you understand that this greatly undermines the piracy systems, which in turn may hurt of some your “new business models” which hinge either on using the piracy infrastructure, or that depend on the stupid legacy players getting dragged into financial ruin by piracy.

Otherwise, can your new business models truly compete? Or are we looking at a collection of sideshows, with perhaps a lottery ticket winner’s chance of turning into a long term business?

If the legacy industry is making such big mistakes, they will fade away even more quickly if you let them. I think you are upset because you realize this sort of thing tips the balance against your desired outcome, and perhaps is another indication that the tide of piracy is already slowly going back out.

calicojones (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I have to ask. Why would this tip the balance of anything? Do you really think that Google has that big a role in connecting people who you call “pirates” to sites that cater to that?

I have scary news for you. “Pirates” will “pirate”, and they don’t use Google to do it. If their favorite site goes down, they move to one of the other 50 that they already know about. They don’t need Google to point them.

This will ultimately mean nothing, and that’s the ultimate take-away from this. Once again, the “Content Industry” does something that doesn’t address the issue while clinging to their “business model” and refusing to even consider change.

Yes, I understand that people getting content for free sucks. People should be paid for their work. I haven’t seen anyone here argue against that, despite your claims to the contrary. What people ARE saying is that, if the market shows you, point blank, what they want, you’re a fool to ignore it. A wise and savvy businessperson will look at it and think “What can I do to capitalize on that?”. Instead, you think “How can I squash that behavior?”.

In other words, for the love of Pete, INNOVATE!

Niall (profile) says:

Re:

We already rely on th ‘benevolence’ of the private sector and whichever laws/lawmakers they choose to buy. They are already abusing a due, legal process to falsely take down legitimate content under pain of perjury, while still whining on about their ‘moral rights’ being ‘hurt’ by ‘pirates’. They are abusing a due, legal process to falsely take down competitors’ products under pain of perjury, while stilll whining on that everyone else but them is ‘anti-competitive’.

Oh do grow up and grow a pair. And finally admit that piracy has always happened, will always happen, and the most important thing is learning to adapt to it. Because the march of technology will go on, and people will expect more and more that the legacy industries are consistently failing to deliver.

Niall (profile) says:

Re:

It’s more like you can’t ‘legitimately’ buy the Prius in Wyoming. But they do sell them in Nebraska. Trouble is, only Nebraska residents can buy them. But you have a cousin in Nebraska…

False limits lead to creative ways around problems. Is someone ‘breaking the law’ by getting their Nebraskan cousin to purchase that Prius? Or is it just another element of the ‘free’ market?

Sometimes I wish Ayn Rand were around to go and beat the content industries around the head. Because that would be the only use for her asinine and inhuman economic philosphy.

Niall (profile) says:

Re:

Precisely! I have a small child and usually no babysitters. So my wife and I can’t go to the cinema more than about once a year. Additionally, she’s on call all the time, so there’s a 50/50 chance if we were out she’d get a call then. So it would be much easier to be able to get a movie when it’s actually coming out – I don’t really want to have to miss all the ‘batman’ buzz, for instance, just because I can’t go to the cinema. So what if I were willing to pay to see it at home? No chance! Even though the producers might make more money than if I saw it at the cinema…

DannyB (profile) says:

A modest proposal

Google downranking sites with too many “valid” DMCA notices is a fantastic idea! We must protect valuable IP. Here is my proposal.

Google should not just downrank them, but really seriously downrank them practically into non-existence. Now if you search for something like the name of a song or movie, the authorized versions would appear at the top of the very first page. Yea!

The non-authorized versions would appear at the bottom of the very last page. Just click the “last” page button to get to the end of the list of 158,390,194 zillion search results. As you can see, by downranking the non-authorized sites, they will become impossible to find. 🙂

Problem solved. Everyone happy.

PCCare247 Reviews (profile) says:

Google search??

Google has to serve the users and not a particular group. We appreciate the step taken by Google to punish piracy. But Google might loose some of its users. Its the users who Google serve and not interests of any particular group. If people search for free stuff online, it has to provide results that satisfies their search query. If not, then it would be a bad user experience, which Google would certainly not want.

michael says:

maybe when hollywood start making good films again like they did in the 90s people would actually pay for films.In the past 10 years theres been 25 remakes nobody gives a shit about remakes and they blame piracy for free music piracy isnt only thing to blaim itunes and spotify is too.On itunes You dont even have to buy the full album if you dont want to and spotify you can listen to albums for free so before they point the blaim at piracy they need to think about the movies and music there producing first because i wont pay ?16 for a shit film thats mostly done by computers or CDs thats done by auto tunes

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