Google has been filtering piracy related sites from its instant and autocomplete search functionality for a couple years, and now the company has added popular music streaming service Grooveshark to the list of sites that will no longer appear automatically in Google search.
Grooveshark's streaming service offers its users more than 15 million songs for free across mobile devices, its site and through various streaming embeds. For the most part the company has been trying to keep the music industry happy by offering promotion options and analytics tools, but it certainly doesn't completely follow the guidelines set out by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The company has made deals with independent artists and labels but is still running into trouble with the majors.
At this time, it is unknown why exactly the music service has been removed, but it seems to have been somewhat related to the successful appeal by the Universal Music Group against Grooveshark two months ago. Google obviously factors in a number of different criteria when deciding what gets on this blacklist, one of which the company said are DMCA related takedown requests.
“We are removing terms from Autocomplete where we find that those terms are closely associated with infringing results,” a Google spokesperson told TorrentFreak. “When evaluating terms for inclusion, we examine several factors, including correlation between the term and results that have been subject to valid DMCA takedown notices."
This removal of certain sites from its instant and autocomplete search option has both a significant effect on traffic to these domains, as well as to users who may not have discovered them yet.
Although Grooveshark may not be running a completely DMCA standard accepted service and to some, deserved what they got, it still brings up the question of the amount of power Google has over deciding what makes a quality service and what makes an inappropriate one. It is pretty hard not to think of this decision to remove GrooveShark as one that is just taking the side of labels and not users.