Google has decided to downgrade piracy search results in response to criticism from rights holders who complained that illegal file sharing sites were often more visible than the legal alternatives.
"Starting next week, we will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site," wrote engineer Amit Singhal on the official Google blog.
"Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results. This ranking change should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily whether it's a song previewed on NPR's music website, a TV show on Hulu or new music streamed from Spotify."
Google won't completely remove results from its listings unless it receives a valid copyright notice from the rights holder, and will offer a means for sites to challenge these claims if they are wrongly accused.
It's a big win for copyright holders such as record labels. With over 400 million searches made every day, any nudge towards legal sources of content will help creative industries generate more money to invest in artists.
Are you pleased with this new effort by Google, or should it do more to combat piracy? Let us know in the comments.