Google blacklists The Pirate Bay's domains

Google has added The Pirate Bay's domain names to its list of censored search phrases within the last month. While pages from the website are still indexed, the blacklist prevents certain keywords from appearing in the Google Autocomplete and Instant search results.

As TorrentFreak explains, certain words will not bring up the expected search results in Google unless you explicitly search for them. Typing in certain anatomical words will not display the obvious suggestions in Google's Autocomplete and Instant results, until you search for the whole word.

Google has applied this filter to piracy-related terms since January 2011. Attempting to search for terms such as "BitTorrent", "RapidShare", "Megaupload" and others will not display suggestions or search results until the full word is typed.

"The Pirate Bay" was censored last year, but its other domains thepiratebay.org and thepiratebay.se have since been censored within the last month. Unsurprisingly, the search volume for these terms has dropped dramatically.

A spokesperson for The Pirate Bay told TorrentFreak that the website has not been hurt by Google's censorship, as only a small percentage of traffic is referred by search engines. Even then, referrals from Google have not noticeably dropped.

Source: TorrentFreak
Image Source: TorrentFreak

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45 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Heck, any newsgroup, hacker site, and a lot of legit sites talk about TPB, so delisting them from google isn't going to do anything.

I don't get this. Torrents are legal. Thepiratebay serves as torrent search engine. Now, why are they censoring legal search engine? If it is because of lawsuits tpb have, Google could also censor Apple and Samsung and most of today's leading companies. I don't get it.

Aleksandar Toplek said,
I don't get this. Torrents are legal. Thepiratebay serves as torrent search engine. Now, why are they censoring legal search engine? If it is because of lawsuits tpb have, Google could also censor Apple and Samsung and most of today's leading companies. I don't get it.
Because of good karma in court. TPB is mainly used for piracy. If Google distance themselves from a site mainly used for piracy, that looks good for them as a company, as well as if they'd end up in court where defendants would use the "Google is a torrent search engine too!" defense.

It's absolutely no coincidence they do this against The Pirate Bay and not LegalTorrents.com.

A search engine is should be neutral like a librarian who directs you to the section or a book no matter offending the content is...

It should not censor anything.

I don't really see any problem with Google not including infringing websites in search suggestions.
Them not indexing those sites (or any other sites that some organization / governement wanted to censor) would be a different issue entirely.

a0me said,
I don't really see any problem with Google not including infringing websites in search suggestions.
Them not indexing those sites (or any other sites that some organization / governement wanted to censor) would be a different issue entirely.

Its just to create goodwill. To show Google combats copyright infringement blablabla etc.etc.
total BULL though, a large part of their active userbase comes for their piracy needs.
Also as a company, Google loves to jump aboard the copyright infringement.

This is just hypocrite, not helping at all regardlessly.

Shadowzz said,

Its just to create goodwill. To show Google combats copyright infringement blablabla etc.etc.
total BULL though, a large part of their active userbase comes for their piracy needs.
Also as a company, Google loves to jump aboard the copyright infringement.

This is just hypocrite, not helping at all regardlessly.

I see you posting those "facts" all over this story. Please inform me of your source from which you obtained that information stating a large portion of their user base is people seeking to pirate stuff.

Then tell me how it's hypocritical of Google to blacklist searching for TPB.

Funny how it suggests "thepirateparty", the first result for that appears to be a proxy that allows access to The Pirate Bay despite it been blocked by many ISP's in the UK.

Stuff like this is pointless and only informs more people that such sites exist.

happyout1 said,

to stop illegal activity.
Legality is determined by the ruling powers at a given time. Incest, rape, pot, and honor killings were legal at one point. Some are legal today depending on where you are. Alcohol was illegal at one point. Some are illegal but the victim is punished.

Now, tell me again how you're in favor of censorship to stop 'illegal' activity...

KCRic said,
Legality is determined by the ruling powers at a given time. Incest, rape, pot, and honor killings were legal at one point. Some are legal today depending on where you are. Alcohol was illegal at one point. Some are illegal but the victim is punished.

Now, tell me again how you're in favor of censorship to stop 'illegal' activity...

Very good point. Time and jurisdiction are the key factors here. furthermore, it's not Google's job to enforce the law.

Funny & interesting.
Last week the wife of a known political figure in Germany sued Google because her name would show up with other "red light district" suggestions when using Google to search for her. Google's reply was that they can't do anything about it, as the suggestions are coming from the most used searched of the people. Interesting how the truth gets distorted when it is convenient. Looks like it is possible after all.

Odom said,
Funny & interesting.
Last week the wife of a known political figure in Germany sued Google because her name would show up with other "red light district" suggestions when using Google to search for her. Google's reply was that they can't do anything about it, as the suggestions are coming from the most used searched of the people. Interesting how the truth gets distorted when it is convenient. Looks like it is possible after all.

The ex-first lady is it, yes. In one point she has right: Google decisions are not democratic

thekim said,

The ex-first lady is it, yes. In one point she has right: Google decisions are not democratic

How is "suggestions are coming from the most used searched of the people" not democratic? If people are searching for it, and their searches cause it to change, then I don't see how that isn't democratic.

I can see your point on a few things, but in general I don't.

Apple-a-Day said,

Actually dont they now use magnetic links but still called torrents?
No, the magnet links are called magnet links.

My question is what's up with this 'anonymous' download thing on TPB now? Some exe that you download that when ran, downloads the file I guess. I'm not going to be the first to try it that's for sure.

For those who don't seem to get it, google isn't trying to block TPB, they are simply complying with laws or implementing best practice that stops searches auto completing. If you search for "xxxxx thepiratebay" you will still get results. The difference is now that if you search say "Photoshop" you wont get suggested "Photoshop CS6 tbp torrent"

It will help reduce pulling people into accidental piracy. Not that it will in any way stop piracy, or TPB

Auzeras said,
For those who don't seem to get it, google isn't trying to block TPB, they are simply complying with laws or implementing best practice that stops searches auto completing. If you search for "xxxxx thepiratebay" you will still get results. The difference is now that if you search say "Photoshop" you wont get suggested "Photoshop CS6 tbp torrent"

It will help reduce pulling people into accidental piracy. Not that it will in any way stop piracy, or TPB

I hope so, I can't stop accidentally downloading stuff...

Auzeras said,
For those who don't seem to get it, google isn't trying to block TPB, they are simply complying with laws or implementing best practice that stops searches auto completing. If you search for "xxxxx thepiratebay" you will still get results. The difference is now that if you search say "Photoshop" you wont get suggested "Photoshop CS6 tbp torrent"

It will help reduce pulling people into accidental piracy. Not that it will in any way stop piracy, or TPB


Weird when I search for Photoshop I still get hints like 'serial', 'crack' and 'download' withouth even pressing enter.
Google doesnt want people that look for torrents and warez to go away, wouldnt surprise me if its a really large part of their userbase what uses Google for their piracy needs.

mahara said,
Does it matter?

I think that it might, legally for Google. They probably wish to uphold some sense of "defense" against claims that it is a torrent search engine.

Ricardo Dawkins said,

Exactly, when I am looking for a newer version of my software and the ftp:// doesn't show
a newer version nor does the website even though there is a newer one, glary utilities for example, you can bet your arse to a barn dance that someone has posted on youtube where you can get it and a pirate serial.

Google doesn't understand that there's plenty other torrent websites out there besides the pirate bay. People who pirate will definitely find ways around this. The best way I find is by just typing the name of what you want and add torrent after it.

dtourond said,
Google doesn't understand that there's plenty other torrent websites out there besides the pirate bay. People who pirate will definitely find ways around this. The best way I find is by just typing the name of what you want and add torrent after it.

That's not the point. They're trying to keep from giving suggestions to go to the site. Of course people that already know what torrenting is and how it works isn't going to be affected by this.

dtourond said,
Google doesn't understand that there's plenty other torrent websites out there besides the pirate bay. People who pirate will definitely find ways around this. The best way I find is by just typing the name of what you want and add torrent after it.
And I doubt that Google don't understand, they probably just don't want to implement more censorship than necessary.

smooth_criminal1990 said,
And I doubt that Google don't understand, they probably just don't want to implement more censorship than necessary.

I think this pretty much is for legal reasons (even if someone hasn't requested this to be censored already, they would at some point), as Google care little if people use the Pirate Bay or not.

dtourond said,
Google doesn't understand that there's plenty other torrent websites out there besides the pirate bay. People who pirate will definitely find ways around this. The best way I find is by just typing the name of what you want and add torrent after it.
Oh I'm pretty sure Google understands that. Probably more so than you do since they oh, I don't know.... indexed the entire web.

People that pirate have already found a way around this. Then again, I don't think most actually use Google as their torrent search site. There's really no 'way around' this one needs to find. It's a search engine that blacklisted a search result. Way around that? Use a different search engine or just do what we did back in the hardcore days of 1995 and type in the URL manually. Pretty simple.

people pirating know where to go anyway, I've never searched for a torrent on google and then gone to a piratebay link.

Xerax said,
people pirating know where to go anyway, I've never searched for a torrent on google and then gone to a piratebay link.

What surprises me is that people would, although they know the name of the site, still search for it in google

sagum said,

What surprises me is that people would, although they know the name of the site, still search for it in google


It's easier and less error prone to just Google the name of the site and use the link you get there.

Lamp Post said,

It's easier and less error prone to just Google the name of the site and use the link you get there.
Because you can't just retype it in the URL bar if you get it wrong? If you're going to Pirate Bay odds are you've been there before and you know the address.