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UK government to investigate Google over piracy link removal

While that headline might sound like the British government is doing something noble, by cracking down on evil Google’s practices, it’s actually the other way around. Despite the search giant’s removal of many millions of links that sent users through to websites that facilitated piracy, it apparently isn’t doing enough and now the politicians are weighing in.

In August this year, Google announced it would be taking increased notice of requests from copyright lobby groups on downvoting and removing links to copyright protected content. While this has led to the ultimately led to sites with lots of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests having their listings ranked far lower in the search engine’s results, this still isn’t enough.

What’s interesting though, is that despite initially having an impact on listings, Google’s efforts now appear to have done very little. A test carried out by TorrentFreak shows listings that were previously hard to find, now appear very highly for generic search terms.

PirateBay
With the PirateBay now in the cloud and everyone able to get there regardless of Google listings, does this even matter?

The same couldn’t be said for music however, as some of the top artists at the moment weren’t found in any piratical capacity in Google’s results, suggesting some efforts have certainly been made.

Never one to pass up the chance of a bit of publicity, Mr Geoff Taylor, head of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has been commenting to the press, stating: “Google said it would stop putting the worst pirate sites at the top of search results. Google’s transparency report shows they know clearly which are most infringing domains.”

“Yet three months into the much-vaunted algorithm change, many of these illegal sites are still dominating search results for music downloads. We are talking to Google to try to establish why this is the case.”

KitGuru Says: I wonder how much of the music labels’ earnings – and thereby a percentage of their artists’ earnings – goes into funding these lobby groups and their legal teams? Perhaps if that money was instead funnelled into promoting their musicians or in search engine optimising, pirated links wouldn’t rank so highly on search engines like Google.

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