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Tech Week Ahead: Google Takes On Piracy

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

I'm Melissa Block. And it's time now for All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)

BLOCK: As of this week, anyone going to search for songs or films on pirate Web sites is going to have to look a little harder. Google has changes its algorithm to lower the rankings of those sites.

NPR's Laura Sydell joins me now to explain. Laura, what exactly is Google doing here?

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Well, in a blog post, the comp adds they would start to take into account the number of valid copyright removal notices they've received for given sites. So that means if you're a site that's basically all about finding unauthorized copies of movies and music, you're going to appear much lower in the search results.

BLOCK: And have they been under pressure to do this?

SYDELL: Yes, they have. The big media companies, the record labels, the film companies have all been really upset about the amount of piracy. And they keep saying to the search engines, why don't you do something. And the search engines have always said, you , we're just here to rank things and we don't want to get involved in this. But this is a way for Google to do it and to just sort of feature it into the search results.

BLOCK: Laura, I would think that one of the sites that gets a lot of these copyright removal notices, that you talked about, would be YouTube. Is that going to be effected by what Google is doing here?

SYDELL: Indeed, they do get a lot of copyright notices. And I'm sure Facebook and Twitter and other big sites do, as well. But they will be effected. And I think it's largely because they have so much legitimate traffics. So Google has said that those sites won't get lower in the search rankings. Though because Google actually owns YouTube, that's probably very convenient for Google.

(LAUGHTER)

BLOCK: OK, NPR's Laura Sydell, thanks so much.

SYDELL: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.