Links to YouTube and other popular sites will not be impacted by new policy on search engine rankings demotion, Google suggests

Out-Law News | 14 Aug 2012 | 2:46 pm | 1 min. read

Google's plans to display links to pirate content further down its search rankings on the basis of the number of "valid" takedown requests it receives will not have an impact on listings for YouTube, the company has suggested.

Late last week the internet giant announced that the number of valid copyright takedown notices it is served with would, from this week, begin to influence where links to websites appear in its search engine results.

Google has confirmed that it will take account of copyright notices filed through YouTube's own infringement reporting system as well as those filed through its search engine reporting procedure, when search rankings are calculated, according to a report by SearchEngineLand.com. However, despite this Google said that popular sites may still appear at or near the top of search rankings even accounting for the new ranking system.

"We’re treating YouTube like any other site in search rankings," the company said in a statement, according to the report. "That said, we don’t expect this change to demote results for popular user-generated content sites."

According to the SearchEngineLand.com report, Google has said that the number of copyright notices it receives is only one factor that will influence where it displays links in its search rankings. It said that it expects YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other popular sites to be unaffected by the new ranking regime but insisted that there is no 'whitelist' of sites that are exempt from being affected, according to the report.

"Rather, Google says the algorithm automatically assesses various factors or signals to decide if a site with a high number of copyright infringement notices against it should also face a penalty," the report said. Google did not elaborate on what those factors or signals were, it added.

In May Google reported that it was receiving more copyright notice and takedown requests from rights holders in a week than it did during the entirety of 2009. The internet giant said it has experienced a 'rapid' increase in the number of takedown requests and added that it is "not unusual" for it to receive requests to remove more than 250,000 individual web address links from its search rankings in a week.

At the time Google admitted that it does receive bogus takedown requests but said it had removed 97% of links identified as infringing in rights holder requests between July and December last year.

According to the latest figures published by the internet giant, Google has been asked to remove 4,444,757 website addresses from its search rankings in the past month.