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Google's Proactive Anti-Piracy Measures: Beyond the DMCA


Google has expressed its unwavering dedication to combatting online piracy. In a recent communication with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Google divulged that it preemptively blocked numerous URLs even before their inclusion in search results. This preemptive action is a facet of a comprehensive strategy, which also addresses potential streaming piracy advertisements.

The current DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) mandates that US internet services expunge infringing links upon receiving complaints from copyright holders. This ensures these platforms aren’t held directly accountable. Despite debates about its efficacy, the DMCA's procedure remains predominant.

While endorsing the DMCA's effectiveness, Google has, amidst scrutiny from rights holders, implemented diverse anti-piracy protocols across various platforms. The tech giant underscores the critical part copyright owners play in this dynamic.

Addressing Piracy: Google's Stance

Google recently reemphasized its view to the USPTO. It argued that readily available legal content is pivotal. Google observes that piracy thrives where there's a void of legal content. “The best antidote to piracy is offering accessible and lawful alternatives,” Google contends. With services like YouTube Music and YouTube TV, Google aims to meet this supply gap. Simultaneously, search alterations deter users from piracy.

Over the past decade, Google addressed seven billion DMCA takedown notices. However, not all these URLs were expunged from its index. Google champions ‘preemptive‘ takedowns, blocking flagged URLs even before search indexing. In their 2022 USPTO letter, Google disclosed that over 40% of the reported URLs were never part of their index, thus never showing in search results.

Anticipating Piracy: A Step Ahead

Google’s proactive approach is further evidenced by accepting takedowns for anticipated piracy. For major live events like the Super Bowl or World Cup, where pirates often pre-advertise unauthorized streams, rights holders can proactively remove them prior to the event.

Deprioritizing Pirate Platforms

Every reported URL is tracked. Habitual offender sites get relegated in search rankings, reducing their visibility. Google claims that these demoted sites witness an 89% reduction in clicks. The company has also stymied attempts by these sites to redirect users to alternative domains.

The detailed letter enumerates various strategies deployed by Google to counteract piracy. While no new proposals were suggested, Google's ongoing commitment to refine tools and strategies to address the dynamic piracy landscape is evident.

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Posted: 2023-09-04
By: dwirch
Viewed: 168 times

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