Usually when I write about pirates, it’s to talk about a cool Johnny Depp movie. This post may be less exciting than movies with sword wielding drunkards, but you’ll still walk away with a treasure chest of awesome information.
Since we were tiny tots back in elementary school, we were taught that copying someone else’s work was wrong. As adults living in the online world, we know it’s unethical and generally illegal to plagiarize someone’s work. If those reasons never meant much to you, getting your site docked with a duplicate content penalty from Google probably got your attention. If that still wasn’t enough, Google has started to factor a new Pirate Penalty into their algorithm.
What is the “Pirate Penalty”? According to Google, sites with a large number of valid copyright removal notices may appear lower in their search results. In the past, Google would just removed URLs from their index when they received a valid DMCA notice, but the sites would remain in the index. It will be interesting to see how exactly Google will handle this penalty, especially with the 4 million copyright removal notices they receive each month.
If you care at all about your online success, I would not take the Pirate Penalty lightly. The Pirate Penalty could very well be the real deal. Google even publishes a ranking of sites with the most amount of domains users have requested to be removed. You can see the list for yourself. The majority of these top sites do contain pirated files for download, but that doesn’t mean a site won’t be penalized for posting copyrighted text content.