DuckDuckGo blocks piracy websites from search results
What just happened? The privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo has removed several major pirate websites, such as The Pirate Bay, 1337x, and YTS, from its search results. This move also includes YouTube ripping services, which are considered a gray area in terms of legality.
DuckDuckGo is one of the most popular search engines focused on privacy and a popular alternative to the data-hungry Google. Unlike other search platforms, the site does not keep a record of sensitive user information or share search trends with advertisers.
The site made another move that differs from Google in the past week: piracy-free search results. On Friday, Torrentfreak found that the site has de-indexed several popular pirate websites, effectively removing them from search results.
Piracy websites hail DuckDuckGo search results https://t.co/daBvoUlvht pic.twitter.com/SbvSBRa78z
– yugatech.ph (@yugatech) April 16, 2022
DuckDuckGo has removed all domains for these sites entirely from its database, with either empty search results or only displaying a single result. This crackdown includes several types of pirate sites, including torrent indexes, movie streaming portals, and blogs with cracked video game downloads. However, many less popular piracy websites remain visible.
The change removes DuckDuckGo’s potential vulnerability to copyright issues, despite not hosting any copyrighted content. Google has an automated system that eliminates possible DMCA-infringing entries, but has done little to discourage search results for the most popular piracy websites. They have also demoted piracy websites in some regions, such as the UK.
Surprisingly, the removal includes the youtube-dl home page, a Python-based open source downloader for YouTube and other online videos. Despite the complaints of the RIAA, the Electronic Frontier Foundation defended the legality of youtube-dl, arguing that the tool is essential for archiving and documentation purposes.
DuckDuckGo has not yet answered reporters’ questions about the omission. The company recently entered the browser wars with the launch of its privacy-focused desktop browser for Windows and Mac, following the popular free browser for Android.
Image credit: Dawit