Google to Release New “Pirate Update” to Stamp Out Online Piracy

Sad PirateWebmasters and business owners beware. If you are hosting music, movies, and other pieces of online content that are copyright-protected on your site, make sure you take them down before Google catches you. The tech giant announced that it will release a new update on its filtering system to help weed out online piracy this week. Any website that is deemed to be violating copyright laws will be promptly slapped with a penalty.

The announcement came after Google received recent criticisms for allegedly not doing its part to stamp out online piracy, which has become widely prevalent over the past few years. After two years of not updating its anti-piracy filtering system, the tech giant revealed that it will release its latest “Pirate Update,” along with new ad and editorial formats it said may help weed out piracy.

The Pirate Update, which is said to be similar to other search algorithm updates like Panda or Penguin, will work like a filter. On a post published on Search Engine Land, search engine and search marketing expert Danny Sullivan explained that as part of the update, Google will most likely process all the sites it knows about through the Pirate filter. Once it identifies a site that has been violating copyright laws, the website in question will receive a downgrade.

Violators will be “stuck” with a downgrade until the next time the Pirate filter is run. If they receive fewer or no complaints, they might be able to get back on Google’s “good graces,” Sullivan said. However, he pointed out that nobody knows exactly how the process will work because the tech giant has yet to reveal the specifics of the new Pirate Update.

Meanwhile, Katherine Oyama, senior copyright policy counsel at Google, said the tech giant has been testing new ad formats in search results on queries related to music and movies. The new ad formats seek to help people find legitimate sources of media online. As an example, she explained that if you’re going to do a search using the keywords “Watch Star Trek Into Darkness Online,” you will see relevant ads by Amazon, Google Play, Netflix, and other sites that legitimately offer online streaming of the said program. Oyama added that these ads will show on queries that include terms like “download,” “free,” or “watch.”

Currently, the new ad format works only in the United States. According to Oyama, however, Google is planning to “continue investing in this area” and expand the new ad format so it will be available in other countries. This way, the tech giant can intensify its efforts against online piracy.


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