When Google removes a pirate link from search it redirects users to very same link on Chilling Effects
Google received a lot of positive press recently with its announcement that notorious pirate sites would be demoted in its search results, but just take a look for a second at how disingenuous that claim is, and how truly duplicitous its business practices actually are. Bear with me as I explain…
Google brags that it’s a leader in fighting online piracy, making this pronouncement in its latest PR missive, its updated “How Google Fights Piracy” report:
Be Efficient, Effective, and Scalable. Google strives to implement anti-piracy solutions that work. For example, beginning in 2010, Google has made substantial investments
in streamlining the copyright removal process for search results.
The report goes on:
Nevertheless, online piracy still remains a challenge, and Google takes that challenge seriously. We develop and deploy anti-piracy solutions with the support of hundreds of Google employees.
This braggadocio makes for good soundbites but is really just more corporate baloney. In truth, here’s what really happens when Google removes pirate links from search results in response to a DMCA takedown notice:
- Search for a free (pirated) movie
- Review results and find one removed due to a DMCA notice, the link replaced by this statement:
- Click the link “read the DMCA complaint.”
- Arrive at a list that includes the missing pirate link along with a bunch of others infringing links (courtesy of Chilling Effects)
- Click one of the listed pirate links and go directly to (free) movie
So, let’s get this straight…Google waxes on how “seriously” it tackles online piracy, about how hard hundreds of employees work to “deploy anti-piracy solutions” yet–with a wink, wink and a nudge, nudge–it redirects users to the very same links it boasts about removing. Google could just as well call this its “link-finder” tool.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the examples above and below. I chose a couple recent, popular films (Dracula Untold and Gravity), searched on Google, ended up at Chilling Effects and–voilà—quickly found what I was looking for. In fact, I didn’t find just one infringing link, but dozens.
How convenient! This makes it much easier to find a pirated copy of the film. Thanks Google. 🙂 Thanks Chilling Effects. 🙂 Thanks for protecting online pirates and ensuring that free (stolen) movies remain easy-to-find online no matter how many DMCA takedown notices filmmakers and musicians send in an effort to safeguard their work.
I’m sure attorneys for Google and Chilling Effects have made sure that this setup conforms to the law while they publicly defend the operation as providing “transparency.” Google admits as much on its own web pages:
We link in our search results to the requests published by Chilling Effects in place of removed content when we are able to do so legally.
And, while both entities may follow the letter of the DMCA, clearly neither Google nor Chilling Effects care much about respecting its intent. It’s also worth noting that Google’s report on piracy fails mention its “legal” reposting of pirate links or its connection to Chilling Effects.
If folks at Google were seriously interested in doing something about online piracy, do you really believe they would provide direct links to the very same infringing content its employees had worked so hard to remove?