Google will start recommending Netflix, Amazon and other legitimate sources of content as it turns up the heat on pirates.
Complementing efforts to push illegal file-sharing sites further down its rankings, the search giant will dangle carrots to would-be customers who want to watch the latest blockbusters on their computer screens.
Google has been actively downranking sites since August 2012, but following complaints from representatives of big studios and rights holders, the company has made a number of changes to how it does this.
Sites are downranked based on feedback Google receives from representatives of rights’ holders including the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) and the RIAA (Record Industry Association of America).
Pages of sites flagged as sources of illegal content will be less likely to be featured in the top results following the update.
Katherine Oyama, Sr. Copyright Policy Counsel at Google says: “Every day our partnership with the entertainment industry deepens. Just this month we launched a collaboration with Paramount Pictures to promote their upcoming film Interstellar with an interactive website.
“Content ID, our system for rightsholders to easily identify and manage their content on YouTube, recently hit the milestone of enabling more than $1 billion in revenue to the content industry. In addition to strengthening these relationships, we continue to invest in combating piracy across all our services.”
As well as actively promoting legitimate vendors like Netflix, Google Play and Amazon Instant Video whenever someone types ‘download’ ‘watch’ or ‘free’ after entering a movie or TV show title using advertising, updates rolling out from today include new tweaks such as removing autocompletion – typing ‘pir’ for example shouldn’t see ‘pirate bay’ automatically suggested.
Search results will first change in the US before Google applies updates to the rest of the world. The full list of changes can be seen in Google’s How Google Fights Piracy report that was first launched in September last year but has now been updated to reflect the changes announced today.
Since May 2012, UK’s biggest ISPs – that’s BT, Sky, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and EE – have routinely blocked the biggest pirate sites when they’re legally compelled to do so by a high court order. Megashare, Viooz, Watch32 and zMovies, EZTV, SolarMovie and TubePlus are amoung the many sites to be blocked over the last two years.