October 27, 2014
On October 17 Google published a blog highlighting its continuing progress in combating internet piracy. By October 23, it was reported that the company had already pushed out an update to its Google Pirate Update.
Torrentfreak reported on Friday that, “Google’s previously announced anti-piracy measures have now kicked in and as a result popular ‘pirate’ sites are noticing a massive drop in search traffic.”
Google has long been criticised by the entertainment industry for its seemingly lackadaisical stance on piracy, with NewsCorp being one of the latest to complain after its chief executive branded the search engine a “platform for piracy” in a letter to the European Commission on October 18.
Before the Pirate Update, released in August 2012, very little could be done to tackle internet piracy, with licence owners being made to lodge individual complaints against particular sites.
Speaking upon the introduction of the original update, Google said:
“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.
“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.”
As well as torrent sites, the update seems to have impacted media hosting sites including popular site, novamov.com, which has experienced a 71% drop in traffic since October 16, according to SearchMetrics:
That said, popular media linking site, Project Free TV, does not seem to have suffered any recent damage. Despite taking a large hit in May 2013, around the time that Google Penguin 2.0 was rolled out, it seems to have fared slightly better over the last few days.
But many in the entertainment industry have welcomed the update with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) taking the lead, having made 43.3 million requests for Google to remove search results in 2013.
From a user point of view, anyone searching for pirated media shall now be pointed towards legal alternatives such as Spotify, which shall be listed in a box at the top of the search results – if they pay Google first.
“There should be no cost when it comes to serving consumers with results for legal services.
“Instead we have urged Google to use the machine-readable data on the Music Matters website, which lists all services licensed in the UK, and to promote these legal services above illegal sites and results in their search, using appropriate weighting applied fairly and equally across services.”
The BPI has pledged to continue meeting Google and the British Government to ensure that measures taken make a legitimate difference and to “persuade Bing and Yahoo to take similar action” in regards to online piracy.
Check out our Google Update Algorithm Timeline for more information on Google updates.