Last year, Google announced that it would make efforts to reduce the visibility of copyright infringing sites by taking legitimate violation notices into account when ranking search results.
This was especially relevant to the anti-piracy efforts of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), but they aren’t happy with the outcome so far. The RIAA issued a statement on their official website explaining why:
“Six months later, we have found no evidence that Google’s policy has had a demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy. These sites consistently appear at the top of Google’s search results for popular songs or artists.”
“The sites we analyzed, all of which were serial infringers per Google’s Copyright Transparency Report, were not demoted in any significant way in the search results and still managed to appear on page 1 of the search results over 98% of the time in the searches conducted.”
“In fact, these sites consistently showed up in 3 to 5 of the top 10 search results.”
With great power comes great responsibility, but one of the key issues is how involved Google should be in essentially policing the Internet.
In August, Google’s Vice President of Engineering explained, “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. So while this new signal will influence the ranking of some search results, we won’t be removing any pages from search results unless we receive a valid copyright removal notice from the rights owner.”