Google has pledged to implement a number of new measures to help combat online copyright infringers.
The biggest promise from the search giant is to experiment to make authorised preview content more readily accessible in search results.
This will include 'look at ways' to index the sites which offer legitimate content, so rather than just seeing a blue link to a site, you would be able to more easily access authorised content on that site from search results.
This might include something like offering legitimate sites the option to include a 30 second clip of the song with the result, so users could play it directly from Google then enter the site to possibly legally stream or purchase it.
Other measures include altering the auto-complete settings to remove terms closely associated with piracy, so items like 'Cheryl Cole' won't show 'Cheryl Cole Mediafire' in the preview pane.
Google has also promised to "act on reliable copyright takedown requests within 24 hours", with even faster action for those rightsholders that submit requests responsibly; i.e. not just spamming Google for every slight misdemeanour it perceives.
But it's not all geared towards to the copyright holders - users that think they've had content taken down unreasonably will get improved counter-notice tools, and the takedown requests will become more transparent through public searching.
AdSense will also get an anti-piracy boost, as Google has pledged to kick out any web pages publishing copyrighted material; this is to appease those sites that are not only seeing their content ripped off, but seeing others making money from it too.
Robert Ashcroft, CEO of PRS for Music, which represents artists and publishers in the UK with regards to royalties (and had a long-term spat with Google over YouTube-hosted music videos), has responded to the plans:
"We welcome the steps announced by Google today to tackle online copyright infringement; as the largest search engine on the net they have a duty to help in the battle against piracy.
"The problems that face all creative industries and digital content providers will only be solved by working together and this is a step in the right direction, but there is much more to be done.
"We have been working together with Google to highlight how search points to piracy and were one of the first to license the YouTube video service, ensuring the creators we represent, earn royalties when their music is used."
These changes will be implemented over 'several months' according to Google as it seeks to better address the 'underlying problem' of piracy.
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