“One Bad Apple Don’t Spoil The Whole Bunch, Girl”: What do Google’s “new” anti-piracy policies really mean? Part 2

 “Google: Pirate Bay booted off search by mistake

“’Google received a (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) take-down request that erroneously listed Thepiratebay.org, and as a result, this URL was accidentally removed from the Google search index,’ Google said in a statement.  ‘We are now correcting the removal, and you can expect to see Thepiratebay.org back in Google search results this afternoon.’

Later, Google updated it’s statement: ‘The removal appears to be an internal error and not part of a DMCA request.’”  

Well.  I guess they can filter, if only by mistake.

Notwithstanding its “mistaken” removal of The Pirate Bay from search, Google recently announced four primary changes in its business practices to address what I would call the massive theft online and what they call “….some bad apples who use the Internet to infringe copyright.”  Some?  Really.

We will take a look at each of the four changes in separate posts—this is Part 2 of four parts.

Google’s proposal for addressing piracy concerns with its search index seems a bit limited given that they were apparently able to remove the entire Pirate Bay from search results.  In a post on the Google Public Policy Blog, the company said:

“We will prevent terms that are closely associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete. While it’s hard to know for sure when search terms are being used to find infringing content, we’ll do our best to prevent Autocomplete from displaying the terms most frequently used for that purpose.  (‘Google’s autocomplete algorithm offers searches that might be similar to the one you’re typing.’)”

So if you were to use Google’s Discover Music search “Paramore Ignorance torrents” as opposed to Google’s suggested test search “Paramore Ignorance”, would the “torrents” search be kept out of Autocomplete?  Not so far—number one search result for the Google Discover Illegal Music search of “paramore ignorance torrents”?  The Pirate Bay. Followed by Isohunt.  One criminally convicted, the other found liable for copyright infringement. 

What if Google were told that nobody had licensed Paramore for any transmission using BitTorrent?  Would that be enough?  What do you bet it wouldn’t be?  I just can’t wait to see how this Autocomplete thingy works.  Taking into account fair use as a business model for a multi-billion dollar corporation and all.

What does trying to anticipate search terms accomplish, though?  Not much.  The point isn’t to stop searches for illegal files, the point is to stop the illegal files from being returned in search. 

Like Google did by mistake.

See also: One Bad Apple, Part 1