Google blacklists The Pirate Bay and other file-sharing sites
Date added: 25 Nov 2011
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Keeping with a controversial procedure that started earlier this year, the Mountain View company is eliminating certain suggestions from its search engine, alleging that they might induce internauts into copyright infringiment. Yeah, right.
The ongoing war against piracy (which includes unbelievable bills, millionaire lawsuits and discussions all over the Web) is roaring, as companies and organizations are taking sides. But some of them are somewhat caught in the middle. Oh, don’t misunderstand me, those companies aren’t pro piracy but they surely don’t endorse any measure that goes around, especially the ones that don’t beneficiate them.
Take Google, for example. The company that defended the freedom of speech in front of the entire Congress and its ill-conceived SOPA bill now is taking a, let’s call it, “contradictory” measure. Continuing with its plan of eradicating “piracy related terms” from its search engine, the Mountain View giant now announced the new additions to the black list. The winners of this doubtful honor? The Pirate Bay , isoHunt and 4shared, among many others.
Find file-sharing sites on your own, matey
The strategy began last January when Google caved in to the pressure of the entertainment industry and started censoring and banning certain keywords from its Autocomplete and Instant features. In that way, terms like “uTorrent”, “BitTorrent”, “Rapidshare” and “Megaupload” were removed from the suggestions of the aforementioned engine’s tools.
Of course, such actions didn’t stop there, as the site TorrentFreak points out. Recently, the Big G silently added a huge number of file-sharing services to its list of banned sites, among which it’s possible to find almost all of the top companies of the field. To the abovementioned sites you can also add terms like “torrentreactor,” “btjunkie,” “btmon,”, “filesonic” and “filserve”, to name a few.
What does this mean for you? If you are a regular to cloud-based “lockers”, such as Rapidhsare or Megaupload, or if you are already a user of The Pirate Bay or uTorrent, probably nothing. You just won’t receive automatic search suggestions on any combination including the banned terms (i.e. typing “alternative rock rapidshare” won’t show anything through instant). You’ll still access the sites and their pages, as Google still indexes them.
The problem comes for all users that don’t know any of these (entirely legal) services and programs. Google’s black list is putting them at a disadvantage against the other players in their fields. To put it in plain terms: it’s like hiding blank CDs in a retail store because customers coming in can get the idea of using them for piracy out of seeing them. Simply ridiculous.
Are these measures really working?
Most likely not. Or at least they aren’t helping in reducing piracy, the main reason for which they were applied in the first place. According to TorrentFreak, Google spokesman Mistique Cano expressed that “this measure is one of several that we have implemented to curb copyright infringement online”.
Except they are curbing the activity of legal businesses. Take BitTorrent for example. Its p2p program can work as an excellent ally for researchers, scientists, students or people interested in sharing their own information through a secure and fast channel. Services like Megaupload, in the other hand, are excellent alternatives to store and back up user-generated data on the Web, granting its availability at a worldwide level.
Unfortunately, such services are mainly used by people exchanging copyright-protected materials, but blaming them for what the users do with the tools they provide it’s like blaming Facebook for the blatant stupidity of some its members. And although you may argue that a site with a name like “The Pirate Bay” implies foul play, banning it based on that logic could lead us to destroy the copies of Pirates of the Caribbean for fear of what its imagery might generate.
Google remains unperturbed in the face of all the fingers that call out the company on which they think as censorship maneuvers. And, in fact, the Big G expressed that it’ll continue with its plan in spite of all the protests. Nobody can say for certain how will this affect the huge search engine, but one thing is sure: Google is starting to drop is user-friendly mask and what’s behind it is a monstrous face with a wide black-tooth grin.
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