Google and other search engines employ certain factors that make a site or a blog appear higher in rank than others, that is, it appears first on being searched.
Google itself has encoded more than 200 factors in its algorithm that decides which page to show first on being searched.
Ideally, a site owner who could be a blogger or a team working for some organization would want traffic on their webpage to earn revenue through ads and other means.
Various SEO tools are employed to ensure a continuous and large amount of traffic and there have been others who use unfair means which involve using copyright content to attract online traffic.
Among the many factors used in rating sites, DMCA Takedown Penalty Added As New Factor In Google Ranking is the latest development.
What is DMCA?
The Digital Millennium Copyrights Act or simply, DMCA is a copyright law which was enacted by the US Congress and approved by the then acting President, in 1998.
Many amendments have been made since its passing and the most important one was to exempt, directly and indirectly, the liabilities of internet service providers (ISPs) and their intermediaries.
To qualify for the exempt, they must follow certain guidelines, such as removing copyright infringing content from their systems or blocking such content.
Through the DMCA, acts of circumventing digital rights management software (DRM), which prevents copyright infringement, are criminalized.
It also criminalized production and distribution of such software or service or hardware that helps in circumventing the DRM software.
Hence, it gives a wholesome approach to protecting intellectual property rights.
It was, indeed, made for this purpose as the act was enacted in furtherance of two treaties of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
The DMCA can award monetary damages as well as punishment which implies, that it carries both, civil and criminal penalties for the breach of the copyright law and you might keep hearing news in the related matter such as DMCA Takedown Penalty Added As New Factor In Google Ranking Monetary damages may include fines and the complainant can also receive any profit that the defendant might have made by using the complainant’s copyrighted data or content.
How is DMCA useful to Google?
A copyright owner can send a takedown notice to the ISP stating the webpage which is involved in copyright infringement.
The accused can send a counter-notice to avoid any block or removal to deter away unnecessary claims.
If the alleged infringer still does not remove the infringed content, the copyright owner can file a suit under the DMCA in the US court.
It is important to properly draft a takedown notice and it is equally important to send it to a ‘copyright agent’ whose nature of work is to look into such claims.
The DMCA has been successful in countering copyright infringement as can be seen from the statistics which tells that Google has been receiving millions of removal notices every month.
As a well-known search engine, it is obvious it carries a responsibility towards its users and clients.
Especially after the Panda update as this algorithm update sent more traffic to the copyright violating sites and received a lot of backlashes.
It has since worked ardently and efficiently to deter and copyright infringing URL to get traffic and has therefore added DMCA takedown in its search engine algorithm.
Google DMCA Takedown Penalty will ensure that sites getting plenty of valid takedown notices get a lower rank in search results.
How will it help the bloggers and other sites
When copyright violators get a lower search rank, they do not attract traffic and the sites, with original copyrighted content, gets more preference.
This has ensured that the violators do not earn from the hard work of others. Other tools, such as RSS feed footer plug-in automatically add a back-link to the real content in case of copying of data from various sites.
It is especially helpful for bloggers to track any copyright infringer and also gain revenue from these content copiers.
Under the provisions of DMCA, the copyright owner cannot only ask for a takedown but can also ask for revenue earned, directly, from the copied content.
It is a flexible act when it comes to copyright owner but is strict regarding the copyright infringers.
If the accused commits the offence repeatedly, the civil and the criminal liability of the accused increase.
Basically, the torrent sites and other music downloading sites come under the purview of the act and have been taken down successfully by the combined effort of ISPs, DMCA and copyright owners.
Now, the violators will attract less traffic and it will discourage such unlawful means of gaining revenue online.
Many a time, original content might get takedown notices which are false and it might decrease the rank of the site or the page.
Does it have disadvantages?
It is done to gain an advantage in a competitive market or it can be exploited and used to harass bloggers and other sites; therefore, the DMCA also has provisions to penalize such false claim-makers.
Google also ensures that only valid claims affect the search engine ranking of the site or the URL and in case, it has been affecting any search engine rank on the basis of false claims, the same can be resolved through a counter-notice.
The counter-notice is sent to the ISP stating that the claim was fraudulent or it was because of misidentification and the ISP will enlist the page back in 10-14 days if the claimant does not notify the ISP of a suit which has been filed in the court regarding the copyright infringement.
Therefore, Google DMCA Takedown Penalty is of great use to copyright owners as it would be unfair to them if someone else was making revenue off their hard work, time and efforts spent on creating content.
Google continuously aims to upgrade its algorithm and enhance SEO to give better ranks to genuine sites as a whole, and not just URLs.