Google Gives Big Content an Olive Branch in Search Algorithm Change | Threat Level |

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Google will begin altering its search algorithm this week to lower search rankings of sites with “high numbers” of copyright-infringement removal notices.

Google is mum on the details of the plan, which some digital rights groups like Public Knowledge suggest is “setting up a process that can be abused” because “entities with questionable copyright claims might be more willing to send” takedown notices to Google.

The search giant’s move looks to be designed to head off potential legislation giving the Justice Department the power to seek court orders requiring search engines like Google include in search results websites the government declares to be rogue. Such a feature was included in the Stop Online Piracy Act, which was defeated for altogether different reasons in January because the package also included tinkering with the (DNS) domain name system.

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