Google Refuses to Delete Pirate Websites from its Search Results

The copyright industry and Google continues to quibble about online piracy, both in public and behind closed doors. Copyright holders want Google to remove pirate websites from its search results but Google's Eric Schmidt says this is not going to happen. Schmidt stresses that his company is making changes to reduce piracy, but that policing the web and deleting websites goes against Google's philosophy.

google-bayFor years entertainment industry groups have been demanding that Google does something about the “pirate sites” showing up in their search results.

Google has responded to these concerns by taking a variety of measures aimed at decreasing copyright infringement.

The company removed “piracy” related terms from their Instant and Suggest services, and later began downranking websites based on the number of DMCA requests they receive.

Despite these efforts, copyright holders want Google to step up their game. The RIAA has pointed out on several occasions that pirate search results still rank higher than legitimate stores.

Ideally, copyright holders want Google to completely remove clearly infringing domains from its search results, but according to Google’s Eric Schmidt that’s not going to happen anytime soon, at least not voluntarily.

“The industry would like us to edit the web and literally delete sites, and that goes counter to our philosophy,” Schmidt said in a press meeting at the Allen & Co. conference this week.

Google is well aware of the existence of infringing sites and the company’s anti-piracy efforts have reduced traffic to these, Google’s executive chairman insists.

“It is an absolute fact that there are pirate sites and we’ve done things to reduce the amount of people who use them,” Schmidt says.

That said, Google doesn’t believe it’s their role to police the Internet for potentially infringing sites. Instead, copyright holders should take the operators of these so-called rogue websites to court.

“Our position is that somebody’s making money on this pirated content and it should be possible to identify those people and bring them to justice,” notes Schimdt.

While the comments from Google’s chairman make it clear that his company isn’t going to delete any websites from its search results, it’s unlikely that copyright holders will back down anytime soon.

With the way things are going right now it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if the two camps end up battling out their differences in court sometime in the future.

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