It's Google's Web, we just search in it

Google's new algorithm targets torrents sites -- and opens the door to bogus copyright claims. Chalk one up for content cartel!

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That's not the only aspect of this deal that smells like a week-old flounder. Starting last spring, the number of DMCA takedown requests sent to Google began to skyrocket -- from around 300,000 URLs per week at the beginning of April to nearly 1.3 million last week.

Over the same period, RIAA was quietly admitting that online file sharing has declined significantly over the last year. In an internal presentation leaked to TorrentFreak, RIAA deputy general counsel Victoria Sheckler noted that only 15 percent of copyrighted files were swapped online last year, down from 21 percent in 2010. Far more people are sharing music by swapping USB drives and ripping other people's CDs (the way we used to back in the days of the mix tape).

Logically, one would assume that DMCA removal requests should be going down, not up. Instead, they have quadrupled. And which copyright owners are filing all those takedown requests? You guessed it -- the media companies.

Six of the top 10 copyright owners filing DMCA notices in the past month, representing nearly half of the 4.3 million offending URLs, are music companies. (Rounding out the top 10: three porn companies and Microsoft. Insert your own joke here.)

With the exception of Microsoft, all of these sites ramped up the number of their URL removal requests significantly over the same period. You think maybe Google tipped them off that they were about to make this change to their page-rank algorithm? Yeah, so do I.

This is yet another example of content cartel trying to get other people to do their dirty work for them -- whether it's the U.S. government, your ISP, or now Google. Who will be next?

Is it time to switch search engines? Tell me what you think about this below or email me here:

This article, "It's Google's Web, we just search in it," was originally published at Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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