The land Down Under has been the center of controversy surrounding copyright violation and online piracy in recent months.
For instance, last month, The Abbott Government declared legislation that would permit copyright holders to place an injunction on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in order to forcibly block access to specific piracy websites, especially those existing overseas. However, a copyright holder must first establish that a certain website is created for the purpose of infringing copyright. Once proven, the Federal Court will issue an order for the ISPs to block the website.
But as the move was celebrated by copyright holders, Google opposed the Australian legislation by stating that site-blocking is ineffective in reducing piracy. Google explained, “A recent study of the piracy ‘ecosystem’ in which the authors conducted a detailed analysis of the effectiveness of various anti-piracy measures found that anti-piracy efforts directed towards blocking access to pirated content have not been successful.”
Google stressed that site-blocking may backfire when its potential can be “used in ways that were unintended, included by blocking legitimate content.” The search engine giant also added that this could greatly impact freedom of speech and could lead Virtual Private Network (VPN) services being blocked as well. Currently, VPNs are primarily used for legitimate purposes such as privacy and security. Furthermore, Google stated that it hampers the capability of ISPs to curb piracy.
More effective measures
According to Google, effective measures include denying advertisements for piracy sites, creative industries providing consumers more appealing content options, and service their pirate counterparts are offering.
Google’s algorithm has been updated to rank down infringing websites with copyright violating links. In the US, they’re experimenting with various ad formats that would show searchers where and how to find legitimate content. Examples include the ones offered on Google Play, Netflix, and Amazon. Google also stated in disappointment:
“The lack of a safe harbour for online service providers is also a serious impediment to the growth of Australia’s digital economy. Common activities — transmitting data, caching, hosting, and referring users to an online location — are not covered by the scheme.”