Perhaps you recall this winter’s great SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (PROTECT IP Act) war, when the Internet masses rose up against two anti-piracy bills that would have required search engines to block users from websites accused of copyright infringement. Thanks in large part to online outcry and petitions from the likes of Reddit, Wikipedia, Facebook, and Google — which peaked with January 18th’s Internet Blackout Day — lawmakers declined to pass the legislation. Today, however, the bills’ entertainment and media industry backers got a consolation prize from Google, which announced that it would alter its algorithms to favor sites featuring legally acquired movies, music and TV shows.
While the company won’t limit access to sites that have received copyright complaints, it will move them farther down in the search results. Google’s Amit Singhal said they were “receiving and processing more copyright-removal notices every day than we did in all of 2009 — more than 4.3 million URLs in the last 30 days alone,” giving them enough data to put the new system into effect next week. So, maybe pour a quarter of one out for The Pirate Bay?