Google says its anti-piracy algorithm will now visibly affect file-sharing sites’ rankings

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Google is tweaking its search engine to make sure that the most “notorious” piracy sites are less likely to appear when people search for music, films and other copyrighted content.

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The changes were revealed in a blogpost by Katherine Oyama, the company’s senior copyright policy counsel, and they include new ad formats that are designed to point people to legitimate sources when they search for things such as “download”, “free” or “watch” alongside the names of big movies, music tracks or media in general.

Oyama did not give details on which sites were being downgraded, or by how much their demotions would affect their rankings.

Her announcement came as Google published a new version of its How Google Fights Piracy report, which was launched in September 2013 as a defence against claims by music and film rightsholders that Google was not doing enough to tackle copyright infringement.

Stuart O’Connor