While copyright infringement is presently viewed in most areas as a civil (rather than criminal) offence, the option of criminal prosecution exists in certain cases. However, it is possible that if other methods of exerting total corporate control over products distributed over the internet persist, all who are accused of the offence may find themselves in criminal court.

And of course once the status changes, government agencies will be able to take action against those accused of infringements. Prosecution will no longer depend on the copyright owner making a complaint. In other words, it is possible that at some point in the future, ones who so not like the types of viewpoints that are aired on a particular website can solve the problem by looking for some instances of copyright infringement.

Google alters algorithm as Hollywood lobbyists win latest copyright battle

Move to downgrade websites that persistently breach copyright follows prolonged lobbying from media and film giants

Charles Arthur, technology editor
guardian.co.uk, Friday 10 August 2012

Google is to make a significant change to its search algorithm from Monday, downgrading websites that persistently breach copyright laws.

The move is a victory for media and entertainment giants, which have complained for years that Google does not do enough to prevent access to material that breaches strict copyright laws on content such as music videos and TV shows.

Google said in a blogpost that it would take into account the number of valid copyright takedown notices that it received for any given sites. Those sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in user search results, it said.

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