Last week we posted the news that Google is making it extremely easy to search Grooveshark, who has been found guilty of massive copyright infringement.
Google has rolled out new ad formats for people searching for free movies. These ads link to sites like Amazon or Walmart, where people can pay to watch the movie online.
They’ve also pointed out that searches for artists or albums often bring up links to Spotify, VEVO, or other “legitimate” services. This has been in place for a while.
Google also says that they’re going to downrank sites with a lot of legitimate DMCA takedown notices, starting this week. They’ve also begun to demote autocomplete search terms based on DMCA takedown notices.
It could be a while before we see results, but I tested the waters by searching for the top-selling Billboard albums. I didn’t go too deep, just a couple clicks to see how easy it is to find illegal downloads using Google.
- Jason Aldean’s Old Boots, New Dirt is the #1 charting Billboard album, yet it isn’t even a suggested Google search. I wasn’t able to easy find a download.
- Searching for Hozier’s Hozier led me to a suggested search of “Hozier Hozier Zip”, which pulled up a whole list of download results (pictured above).
- I easily found download links for Barbra Streisand’s Partners.
- I was surprised to find no illegal first page search results for Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s Cheek to Cheek. Top results linked to Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, etc. Google says they removed one search result due to a DMCA complaint.
- The suggested search of “weezer everything will be alright in the end leak” led to a couple illegal downloads, but Google also says they removed nine results due to DMCA complaints.
I won’t verify that these illegal download links actually work, but I’m pretty sure I could have easily downloaded Hozier, Streisand, and Weezer’s albums. I give Google a 2.5/5.
Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u