The latest Google algorithm will punish pages with DMCA take down requests. Google announced this algorithm update on the Inside Search Blog, stating that they would begin taking into account a new signal in rankings, including the number of copyright removal notices they receive for any one site. The sites that have large numbers of removal notices will have lower results. Google said the DMCA takedown requests will begin impacting a page’s search rank, with this update. Note that it does not say that sites who actually violated a copyright, it just penalizes you for total number of notices. That seems crazy, right?
Lawyers and Hollywood Have Wanted This for a Awhile
For a long time Google has been under pressure by copyright holders to act on its top dog position, as a gateway to obtain illegal content. During the spring, the Recording Industry Association of America let the search engine know they were not doing enough to stop illegal P2P file sharing. Last year Google Music felt the brunt of the music industry and the search engine has named the Manual Update in reference to Hollywood talent agent Ari Emanuel. Many personal injury attorneys have had this same complaint for years. The problem is complicated by ezines that exceed the scope of their license.
The Underpinnings of Googles Move Seems to Be Due to Its Push into Entertainment
Earlier in the year Emanuel let his disgust about Google be known at the D Conference, and said that if the search engine can filter out child pornography, then they should also be able to do this with stolen content. Google has defended their position that consumers can use it to find content and whatever they do with it, is their decision. In effect what the search engine company meant, was if an individual searching for illegal torrent sites and chose to download illegal content, and were caught it was all on them. It seems with this latest update that Google is softening its stance on this position somewhat. This is a compromise that is going to alter search results and will affect the user in a bad way, to please Hollywood entities.
Copyright Notice Violations Going Gangbusters
According to Google, they have received more copyright removal notices recently, than they did all during 2009, with over 4.3 million URLs being reported in just the past 30 days. They said they are not going to use the data in as a signal in search rankings. Why is Google doing this now? Google is no longer just a search company, they have other interests, they are piling investments in YouTube and its Music service, which is new media, and it still depends on its search feature to help it get going. This means they will have no part of the new media, until they punish the illegal download sites.
There is plenty to worry about with the Emanuel Update and the ones that should be the most concerned are the top violators, which one of them is The Pirate Bay. They are going to see their search rankings sink and it will only get worse for these sites. You can see who is going to lose search rankings, by looking at the takedown requests and see who is making the requests.
Fake Reports the New Negative SEO?
One of the major concerns is false reports of copyrighted material; Google does not have the authority to determine whether something is illegal content or not and instead is counting how many times it is reported as illegal. This is a way to down a site by issuing a lot of DMCA takedown requests from different domains.
This might seem ridiculous, but at some point someone will do it. Once it is clear the site is not in violation of this latest update, it will bounce back up in the search rankings, but as website owners know this is not an easy undertaking, after dealing with Panda. To get the site search rankings back up, it will mean getting out of Google’s Page Rank punishment.
The largest possible concern with Google is their priorities appear to be changing. Basing punishments on DMCA takedown requests does nothing for the users, which was always Google’s mission to give out information and then what the user does with it, is their option. The update has changed this, by taking some of the choice out of the user’s hands.
The only possible good side to this is pirated content, which will most likely always exist often comes with spam and malware. The fact still remains that, Google is beginning to side with an industry that is completely focused on stopping content distribution. Anyways, my take is that this is absurd. How can you even find out if a DMCA takedown notice was even done on your site?
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