On the news that Google announcing they will downrank sites “with too many valid DMCA takedown notices”. Since isoHunt is currently listed as #3 of most noticed sites, that is likely to happen to to us.
But let’s get it out of the way that we are crying foul just because we are scared of losing traffic. About 75% of all our traffic are direct traffic, with 21% coming from Google searches (and much of that being searches on “isohunt” and “isohunt.com”). So even if Google takes isoHunt entirely out of their index, we’ll survive. Unless Google start censoring isoHunt at the Chrome browser level, but let’s not give them any ideas.
What I want to bring to attention about this search algorithm change is Google is no longer the search engine upstart they used to be (for a while now). As Search Engine Land says, Google is now a content distribution company. What’s missing on Google’s DMCA notices report? Youtube. The by far largest video content website in the world ought to have very high volume of DMCA notices, if not the most, and it’s inconspicuously missing from the list. To downrank and censor any website that’s not Google’s that receives a high number of DMCA notices? Sounds exactly like antitrust to me.
Now, on what is “valid” DMCA notices to warrant Google labeling a site as pirate? Google Legal has already labelled us a “pirate” service before, to prop themselves up as “legit”. That is their opinion. What is really wrong with downranking/censoring websites based on “valid” DMCA notices however is that what’s valid is simply notices that has not been countered. With millions of links subject to notices, we never bothered countering any DMCA notices on Google (not to mention Google only recently put up their transparency report so there hasn’t even been an easy way to review what’s been noticed per domain). That does not mean all links under isohunt.com which Google has filtered by notices are valid, just because we haven’t countered them. Not any more valid than how Youtube took down NASA’s Mars video just because a broadcaster said so. Is what Google/Youtube routinely call valid takedowns valid, like many others before? You tell me. (although to Google’s credit, a video of a Canadian urinating on his passport is too good to takedown, unlike a video from Mars)
To complicate matters, we are also a search engine, like Google, not just a regular website. We have our DMCA policy and takedown process, like Google. (ours was electronic by email years ago I might add, when Google was still requiring snail mail) And contrary to popular beliefs, we have plenty of torrent links to non-copyright infringing content, and we’ll be adding 1.4M more from the Internet Archive soon. Is it right for Google to downrank or outright censor torrent links to legit, non-infringing content on isoHunt.com (or any other site), just because copyright holders have spammed a million “valid” DMCA notices on our other pages to Google that hasn’t been countered? Censorship will never be easier, by DMCA spam.
The media conglomerates failed to pass SOPA, now they are getting in bed with Youtube at the public’s expense. I’d point you to Google alternatives like DuckDuckGo (which respects your privacy a lot more to boot), or heck, bing but since everyone google, that’s unlikely to go far in practice. While Google already started down this path of censorship with autocorrect before, search ranking based on mere DMCA notices is a line that should not be crossed.
We need a protest against Google censorship and antitrust.
This is almost funny: they can’t write correct English, they can’t write “correct” slang, and they can’t send to the correct recepient
Two schools in Georgia were on lockdown for two hours today after an autocorrected message sent to the wrong person led police to suspect a shooter may be looking to harm students.
“Gunman be at west hall today,” read the text, referencing West Hall middle and high schools.
Tracing the message back to its sender, police quickly learned that autocorrect was to blame for the threat. The unidentified person was merely informing the recipient that they were “gunna” be at the school today.
The word “gunna” was autocorrected to “gunman,” and the text was sent to the wrong person, triggering a call to police.
“While this event caused a great deal of anxiety among students, staff and parents,” said Hall Superintendent Will Schofield in a statement, “be assured that we will always err on the side of caution when it comes to the safety of our boys and girls.”