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Stats Show Search Engine Results Removal May Not Stop Piracy

Posted by: , 18:53 AEDT, Thu December 1, 2011
Tags: Copyright

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Search engine result filtering may only do so much, aswebsites on the MPAA's "notorious piracy" list derive most of their traffic from other sources

A new article on TechDirt tries to point out that even if the music and movie industries succeeds in the drastic step of forcing search engines such as Google and Bing to remove links to suspected piracy websites, it may not put much of a dent on web piracy at all.

By analysing the visitor statistics of websites like The Pirate Bay and MegaUpload, and many others placed on the MPAA's own "notorious pirates" list, only around 15% of these site's traffic comes from search engines, with the other 85% coming from other website referrals, or just by using typing the domain name into their browsers.

The Pirate Bay receives a slightly larger percentage of its web visitors from search engines, but that number is still just 28%. Interestingly, the top 16 search terms that drive traffic to TPB are all variations of the website's name or domain name, suggesting users using Google to get to TPB are already well aware of the website. So far from search engines like Google "pushing" users towards piracy and away from legitimate content sources, as the movie and music industry likes to claim, the reality is that people know what they want, and Google is just one (of many) ways to get it.

But with search engine result filtering only doing so much, with majority of these website's traffic coming from links on other websites, could the copyright lobby's next move be to make a move towards banning or blocking websites that merely link to these "notorious" websites? SOPA and PIPA would allow entire sub-domains and IP addresses to be blocked just for a single link on a single page, the RIAA's chief has already confirmed via a recent op-ed piece on Cnet.com, and so the SOPA/PIPA blacklist could grow rather large, very quickly.


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