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Google Pledges to Make it Tougher for Content Pirates

Google has promised to do a better job of cracking down on online copyright infringers, including same-day service (or at least same 24-hour service) for "reliable" requests to remove content.

On its public policy blog, the search giant outlined a total of four steps it would take to "make copyright work better online." It said that was in response to "a growing number of issues relating to infringing content." Hollywood studios, whose TV and movie content is among that being infringed, were understandably pleased, though they called it only teh first steps in what they suggested needed to be a longer journey.

Google, which owns video site YouTube, says that it already responds "expeditiously" to take-down requests for infringing content, but said it is looking to better address the underlying problem.

Giving the time frame of "several months," Google said it would "act on reliable copyright takedown requests within 24 hours," as well as improving countermeasure tools for those who believe the takedowns were unjustified; try to prevent Autocomplete (when a browser anticipates terms similar to those being searched for) from displaying terms most frequently used to find infringing content; improve the piracy review features of AdSense, a free program for displaying "relevant ads"; and make authorized content more readily accessible in searches.

That got a muted hooray from Hollywood, which is looking for more.

"We are encouraged by Google's recognition of the responsibility of all participants in the online world to help combat online content theft," said the Motion Picture Association of America in a statement. "These are important first steps toward helping protect the rights of content owners and the more than 2.4 million American jobs that depend on a healthy motion picture and television industry. We look forward to Google's implementation of its announced reforms. We also look forward to working with Google to address other important issues, including Google's listings and rankings of notorious pirate sites as places to go to get movies that are still only in the cinema and other illegal content.

MPAA pointed out that Google has just announced it was trying to make harder for "unscrupulous merchants" to appear high on search lists. "Similar methods can and should be used to address online content theft as well," MPAA said.