from the what-happens-when-you-let-others-mess-with-search-results dept
The legacy players in the entertainment industry, led by the MPAA and the RIAA have been trying to get the right to edit search results on various search engines for years, under the bogus belief that if people didn’t get search results linking them to infringing files, they’d suddenly start spending more money on entertainment. As we’ve explained in detail, it’s not nearly as easy as some people think to simply demote “bad” sites will promoting “good” sites. Even with a long list of reasons why such a plan won’t work, Google (alone among the search engines) has actually been trying to implement something along these lines. And, exactly as we’ve warned, caving to the demands of the legacy entertainment industry never works. For them, it’s never enough, as they’ll continue to whine and complain until search engines have magically brought us back to 1982.
And there are real dangers when you effectively let third parties “edit” or “shape” Google’s results as they see fit. TorrentFreak recently highlighted a good example of this, as the cyberlocker RapidGator discovered that it’s basically been almost entirely delisted from Google because of DMCA notices. RapidGator already blocks Google from indexing the files hosted on its site — so even if some users of the service post infringing files, they wouldn’t have appeared in Google anyway. As the article notes, copyright holders apparently sent Google DMCA takedowns on links that weren’t even in Google’s index in the first place. But, more importantly, the pages that were in Google’s index were clearly non-infringing, including things like the site’s front page or details about the site and the services it offers.
The end result is that Google has taken RapidGator almost entirely out of the Google index. As the company states, the same thing could easily happen to a more high profile or “mainstream” cyberlocker like Dropbox. Just get enough DMCA notices — legitimate or not — and thanks to pressure from the entertainment industry, the “results” pages on Google get effectively edited by the legacy entertainment industry. I wonder how long it will take until other industries demand similar rights….