On Friday, August 10, 2012, Google announced that it was changing its search
algorithms so that websites with high numbers of valid copyright
infringement removal notices would appear much lower in the search
results. This announcement was greeted with strong approval by many
online copyright content owners who have for years tried various
methods of pressuring Google and other Internet site operators to
take action to combat copyright infringement and piracy. Many of
these large media companies had backed two anti-piracy bills before
the U.S. Congress earlier this year – known as SOPA
and PIPA – which had proposed significant penalties for
online pirating of copyrighted content, with particular aim at
infringing foreign websites. That legislation was opposed by many
constituencies, including Yahoo and Google, claiming it would
abridge freedom on the Internet. The legislation
Google said it now receives more than 1 million copyright
removal notices a week related to its search engine, and, in the
last 30 days, had received over 4.3 million. To put this in
perspective, the number of notices received in the last 30 days is
more than what Google received for all of 2009.
It remains to be seen whether any others will follow
Google's approach, and whether this action will result in any
diminishment of copyright infringement online.
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