Congress Considering to Push Google to Tweak its Search Algorithm to Kill Pirate Sites

Some members of Congress are willing to consider radical measures to rid the internet of "rogue" websites accused of piracy. Among them: getting search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to tweak their search results, and ordering ISPs to block certain websites from U.S. viewers altogether.Frederick Huntsberry, the coo of Paramount Pictures, described how just […]

Some members of Congress are willing to consider radical measures to rid the internet of "rogue" websites accused of piracy. Among them: getting search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to tweak their search results, and ordering ISPs to block certain websites from U.S. viewers altogether.

Frederick Huntsberry, the coo of Paramount Pictures, described how just four or five clicks from a simple Google search for normal search terms -- like "stream" or "watch movies online" -- still brought up many websites filled with links to pirated content. Huntsberry said the big problem is the flourishing "cyberlocker" sites, which're encouraging users to upload movies and other content by offering rewards. Huntsberry estimated that one site alone, MegaUpload, earns annual profit between $40 million and $300 million.

For e.g., typing a search for "stream movies" in Google makes the top link a site called Solar Movies, which Huntsberry singled out as a site full of links to pirated content, including just-released films like Paramount's The Adjustment Bureau.

Another witness, analyst Daniel Castro of The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, testified that Congress should create a "blacklist of sites, then force ISPs to block them and tell search engines to remove them from lists of search results." "The federal government should work with industry to create a master list of all these sites," said Castro. "You could require service providers and financial networks to stop doing business with these sites."

But, the root problem of piracy won't be solved by censoring search results, according to a Media Piracy Project report. The real issue seems to be a combination of inflated prices and artificially delaying the release of products to other countries.

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