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Google announced an update to its search algorithm last week that is sure to please copyright holders: the search rankings will now factor in a site’s copyright removal notices. A site that has received a high volume of copyright complaints will be ranked lower, meaning legitimate sites will rank higher.

According to Google, it is “now receiving and processing more copyright removal notices every day than we did in all of 2009—more than 4.3 million URLs in the last 30 days alone. We will now be using this data as a signal in our search rankings.

Google’s data on copyright takedown requests it receives is enormous. See the graphic below, captured from http://www.google.com/transparencyreport/removals/copyright/

This is big news, of course, because Google handles a significant percentage of internet search queries and traffic.

Google blog post (08/10/2012): An update to our search algorithms

NY Times blog post: Under Copyright Pressure, Google to Alter Search Results

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