Originally posted 2012-08-21 15:42:26.

The search engine, Google has made some very interesting changes to its search algorithm aimed at deterring the use of sites that host copyright infringing content. This is a critical step in protecting valuable creative content on the internet.

Google is now taking into account the number of valid copyright removal notices that they receive for a given website. Sites that receive a high amount of removal notices will be appearing lower in the search results list, lowering both the chances of their site being seen as well as the copyrighted content they host from being misused. In the worst case scenario, a website can even be removed from Google’s search index altogether.

According to the Google Transparency Report, Google has logged over 4.6 million takedown requests in only the last 30 days. This is more than all requests received in all of 2009. This surge of takedown requests reflects a dire reality that many websites may soon be facing if copyright infringement does not cease.

These takedown requests are typically filed when a rights holder believes that their content has been used without their permission. For anyone who does any sort of business online, be it social media or for profit, this could mean that one image you lifted without permission from Google Images could seriously damage your ranking in Google’s search results.

If you are active online, in any capacity, there are ways you can protect your ranking in Google’s search index by making sure your site isn’t hosting any copyright infringing material.

First, if you are aware of any pirated content on your website, you should immediately remove it. Even if you are sure your site is safe, it would be time wisely spent to double check and inspect your site to make sure it is free of copyrighted content.

Next, if your site allows users to upload content, write a Terms & Conditions for your site stating that by uploading content, the user agrees that what they are posting doesn’t infringe on any copyrights. After that, create a process that blocks users from posting content to the site until they have agreed to the Terms & Conditions.

Finally, if you work with an outside company that manages your SEO, make sure they aren’t filing fallacious takedown request against competing sites to hurt their search results rankings. These sorts of tactics will draw Google’s attention, and can only harm you in the long run.

With the amount of takedown requests being issued coupled with the fact that Google holds over 66% of all online searches, Google’s new policy may be a promising weapon against online piracy.

A copyright is a right to prevent others from using your originally authored work. To protect their creative ingenuity, as well as to ensure that they are the only ones who can make use of and profit from their material, authors of artistic or intellectual works have their material copyrighted. Those who have copyrighted material have many exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce the work, distribute copies to the public for sale, and perform the work. Since anything you create can be copyrighted, copyrights can protect endless types of creative work. Some examples are recorded music, books, software codes, video games, paintings, plays, or sculptures.

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