Google downgrades searches for Pirate Sites in a bid for IPTV Streaming Dominance

Looks like Google is making a turn for the better despite its anti-Facebook behavior earlier in January 2012 as noted in Chrome 16 beats Firefox and IE8 – Mozilla going Mobile and Cloud OS on Smartphones, Tablets and UltraBoooks. As a way of disclaimer, I’m yet to join Google+. Sorry Googlers; I love my FB, hence my bias!! So it’s good to see Google using their browser and Search Engine Dominance in the form of Google Search and Youtube to fight piracy for Good by de-emphasizing websites that promote illegal downloading of content. After all, their Company Mission Statement states “First, do no Evil”.

At that time in January 2012, the California-based Google was effectively downgrading search results for Facebook and instead re-emphasizing and redirecting searched to its fledgling Social Network Google+, much to the chagrin of SEO and Software Engineers. Google’s initiative, dubbed Search Plus Your World, was a natural outcome of their dominance in the Browser world as mentioned in Chrome 16 beats Firefox and IE8 – Mozilla going Mobile and Cloud OS on Smartphones, Tablets and UltraBoooks. Google even has dominance in the Video Search world, with Youtube ranked No. 2 most popular Search Engine aside from Google.

Or maybe not…….

Remember, Google, along with ISP (Internet Service Providers) has been under a lot of pressure since 2011 from the members of the RIAA (Recording Industry Artiste Association) and the MPAA (Motion Picture Artiste Association) to stop helping Pirates and aiding people to easily find free Copyright infringing Digital Video and Audio Material.

Then in June 2011, Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and  Verizon signed a pact called the Copyright Alert System to effectively disconnect Copyright infringers. This in effect made the Major ISP Enforcers with the power to disconnect Internet Users for life for continuous Breaches of Copyright by downloading for Copyright Infringing Websites after repeated warnings.

It’s similar to a three (3) strike system for Copyright infringing Users in France by HADOPI (French and High Authority for Dissemination of Works and Protection of Rights on the Internet). The French are doing this as a means of boosting revenue from Internet Sales Taxes, Online Gaming and Gambling as noted in Digital Video and Music Piracy – A Land grab for Taxes on the Internet.

The Copyright Alert System works in a six (6) strike system that works as follows:

  1. First Alert: You get an email saying there’s a problem with your account or a user of your account and some educational materials about Copyright infringement.
  2. Second Alert: Another email with educational information and the ISP may escalate you straight to the third alert.
  3. Third Alert: An email that will force the user to click-through to acknowledge that he has received the emails noting the Copyright problems.
  4. Fourth Alert: The subscriber gets another email that forces him to acknowledge that the ISP has flagged the account for Copyright abuse.
  5. Fifth Alert: This is where the ISP can start taking “mitigation measures” that are “reasonably calculated to stop future content theft.” Those include reducing broadband speeds or forcing the consumer to a landing page that directs the user to call the ISP to discuss the content theft. It cannot include disrupting a person’s voice or email connectivity. The ISP doesn’t have to implement any of these.
  6. Sixth Alert: Now the ISP must take some kind of mitigation measure described above. The ISP doesn’t have to cut off service but they could, or the Copyright owner could try to force them to.

Granted, as far back as 2008 and 2009, ISP and Google have been resistant to the idea of policing Downloading Traffic or shutting down websites that allow for the unfettered downloading of pirated material. They have only acted when it affects availability of service for Internet, even at one point stating clearly that the RIAA and the MPAA has to pay them to shut down Pirate Website, their actions tantamount to aiding and abetting Copyright infringing Websites.

But the combined pressure of the US Government since 2010 on College Campuses to crack down on Piracy in a bid to make money from Sales Taxes and Online Gambling and Gaming Activities and pressure from MPAA supported subpoenas brought to bear against ISP’s by Voltage Pictures, the Producers of the Oscar-winning movie The Hurt Locker (2008) eventually made the ISP cave and begin Ratting out Copyright Infringing Websites.

In the Case of the US Government and the RIAA and MPAA, money is their motivation.  Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) in a bill titled H.R. 2267 in 2010, sought to impose a 2% federal “Internet Gambling fee” and require that the IRS be notified of taxpayers’ winnings.

Combined with the H.R. 2268, and H.R. 4976, the US Federal Government could impose and across the States Gambling Tax 6% and collect fifty eight billion (US$58,000,000,000) dollars in tax revenue by the year 2015. In the process, they’d create thirty two thousand (32,000) jobs, based on a study done by the H2 Gambling Capital, a Gaming consultancy.

In the case of US Colleges, the RIAA and the MPAA coerced Congress in 2009 to suspend Title IV Federal Aid to Universities and Colleges in the United States of America in breach of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008. Universities and Colleges have shown Compliance and the work to remove Copyright infringing Video and Audio Downloading websites from University and College Computers and Servers has been an ongoing Work in Progress ever since…..

Google has thus become the last to respond and the last line of defense against Online Digital Video and Music Piracy. For albeit not an ISP, they do carry a burden of the responsibility as the bulk of the Searches by users looking for Copyright infringing material is via their very popular Chrome Browser, their No. 1 Web Search Portal Google and No. 2 Video Search Youtube.

Albeit this may sound a bit corny, but with Great Power comes Great Responsibility!

But more significantly, it would play into Google’s hands to become a dominant IPTV Set top box maker and legitimate content provider via its acquisition of Motorola Mobility as concluded in Google Acquires Motorola Mobility – Weapon of Choice in the IP and Set Top Box Wars by demonstrating that they are doing something about Online Piracy.

By funneling searches to legitimate Websites, they are effect doing the same thing they would do for their own Google+ Social Network by funneling searches away from Facebook via their dominance in Browser, Search and Video Search

Simple as that, folks!

So Google is not turning Good ……they’re just a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing; play the Sheep in order to make a play for Wolf-like dominance in the IPTV Set top Box and content wars now brewing in the heavily Policed Internet.

The implications for Jamaica?

With the coming of Faster Broadband Internet in the form of 700MHz LTE (Long Term Evolution) as mentioned in Digicel’s “Sweeter Deal” FTC Case Victory as Minister Paulwell allocates 700MHz band for New Telecoms Player legislation by the GOJ to make money from Online Purchases may soon be the next target for Taxes.

Especially as many Jamaicans now have Scotia VISA Debit Cards, which is slowly becoming popular in Jamaica as noted in How to use Scotia VISA Debit Card Online. ISP’s in Jamaica may also be corralled in by the GOJ as the usage of  Scotia VISA Debit Cards and Locally hosted Online e-commerce Websites grows.

Folk, stay tuned to the Geezam blog as this story develops!!

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.