Fake merchandise and pirated goods are nothing new. If something is popular, someone, somewhere will copy it and try to make money from it.
With recent news that Google will start demoting sites based on how many ”copyright infringement” notices they get, it appears that one of the key players needed in the war against piracy as come on board. In the future, sites that sell fake goods or host pirated content will be pushed further down the search results, and in contrast, sites offering legal content will be near the top. It is a big step in the direction that film and music companies have been asking for a long time now. The British Recorded Music Industry sent over half a million infringement notices to Google last month and their representative made the following comment;
”We have argued for some time that sites with a lot of illegal content should feature lower in search rankings, based on notifications we send to Google… We welcome the announcement from Google and will be pressing other search engines to follow suit.”
While it could be seen as a victory to have the worlds biggest search engine provider censoring results for you, whether it will have any effect is another matter. People who search for illegal content know exactly what they are looking for, so if it appears on page 1 or page 10, it wont make any difference, they will still go to it. The UK High Court made a ruling in April that all broadband providers in the UK must block access to popular file sharing website Pirate Bay. Anyone who tries to visit the site gets a message stating that the broadband provider is legally obliged to deny access to the site. But the block can be easily bypassed by using a proxy site if you know how, so the ban has had little effect.
It is clear that pirated films, music and merchandise do have a detrimental effect on companies profits which in turn have an effect on the amount of money they are prepared to risk on the content they produce. Unless they tackle the reason behind why people choose to download a pirated movie or buy a fake designer handbag, which is cost and convenience, the problem will not go away by simply filtering search results.
So in celebration of the ongoing war against the pirates, here are ten ingenious and not so ingenious examples of copyright infringement.