NEW YORK: In a blow to those who have been downloading free illegal copies of media, Google has updated it search engine algorithm that will demote websites that violate content copyrights frequently.
Google senior vice president (engineering) Amit Singhal, in a blog posting Friday, said the search engine receives more copyright removal notices every day now than in all of 2009.
He said since Google is getting much more data by copyright owners about content infringement online, the search engine will now be using this data as a signal in its search rankings. Those reported for copyright violations will be demoted.
Singhal revealed that Google received requests to remove “more than 4.3 million URLs in the last 30 days alone.’’
He said Google engineers have developed over 200 signals in its search algorithms and “starting next week, we will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site. Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results.
“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 Spotifiy.’’
However, Google cannot determine whether a particular webpage does or does not violate copyright law, but its new signal will influence the ranking of search results, he said.
Singhal added that Google “won’t be removing any pages from search results unless we receive a valid copyright removal notice from the rights owner. And we’ll continue to provide `counter-notice’ tools so that those who believe their content has been wrongly removed can get it reinstated. We’ll also continue to be transparent about copyright removals.’’