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Google Adds Copyright Removal Notices To Its Search Algorithm

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Google Adds Copyright Removal Notices To Its Search Algorithm
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Google announced a new change to its search algorithm today. Starting next week, the search engine will begin taking into account the number of valid copyright removal notices in rankings.

That is the number of valid notices Google receives itself. This should get interesting.

“Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results,” says Google SVP, Engineering, Amit Singhal. “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,” Singhal adds. “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.”

“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,” Singhal notes. “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.”

Google says it will continue to provide “counter notice” tools that people can use, when they believe their content has been wrongfully removed, so they can get it reinstated.

More reconsideration request-like things to file. Why do I get the feeling that fair use is going to be challenged more than ever?

Google says it will continue to be transparent about copyright removals. Speaking of transparency, Google was putting out monthly lists of algorithm changes in an effort to be more transparent, but seems to have fallen behind on that, despite the occasional one-off announcement such as this one.

Google Adds Copyright Removal Notices To Its Search Algorithm


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  • nan

    Good news for the types of copy licencing that don’t tend to suffer this sort of denial-of-service – various kinds of open source, copyleft, etc. People whose business models depend on restricting access will suffer in search ranking.

    How you get recompense from copyable media is a frontier for innovation.

  • http://www.advantagecreations.com Jeremy Ryan

    Does this mean that they will lower the rankings for Youtube.com pages in their own search results? :)

    • Bandit

      I imagine that this will effect YouTube rankings. Due to the fact that YouTube is now owned by google. I know of a person that lives in London that has many videos up that where re-recorded by an 11 year old girl. She has somewhere between 300-400 thousand hits and I think that that is the way that they make their living being google partners. She don’t own the content “Music” but the videos are all of her. Now will that affect their google partnership on this?

  • Mohan

    Google does changes in the algorithm often because it assumes that it has the monopoly.It,s time to take lead by some one so that there will not have fluctuation in the rules of algorithm again and again. There is wide scope for new commer to start better search during such situation.It,s challenge to other enterpreneur. Hope some will come up.

  • http://www.LAokay.com Steve G

    I see this as a bad move. Basically this move will encourage more false DMCA notices to be filed. I think Google only tends to see one side of the issue and rarely the downside to their actions. They tend to do things first without consideration of things like laws and harm their actions may cause. I suppose when you have as much money as they do, fines are treated like flies on your picnic table, you just pay the fine and swat the problem away.

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