For years, Google has demoted, if not entirely removed, pirate sites from its search results. Privacy-focused search alternative DuckDuckGo has resisted taking similar action, making it a good choice for anyone looking for such services.
In 2018, in an effort to avoid potential copyright liability, it removed access to around 2,000 “hits” – shortcuts that allow you to search directly on a particular website – for copyright infringing sites like The Pirate Bay and 1337x, but this did not affect results in the search engine itself. It seems that has now changed.
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As spotted by TorrentFreak, DuckDuckGo has removed some of the most popular pirate sites from its search lists. In its investigations, the news site noted that The Pirate Bay, 1337x.to, NYAA.se, Fmovies.to, Lookmovie.io and 123moviesfree.net no longer appear when searched in DuckDuckGo.
But that’s not all – youtube-dl.org, the official site of the popular open source YouTube download manager youtube-dl, also appears to have been taken down, although it does not host (or link to) any material infringing copyright.
There’s no official word on when this action was taken, or why, although it seems a safe bet it’s for copyright reasons.
For now, DuckDuckGo still returns more results for pirate sites than Google, but it seems likely that this is just the start of a move to make it harder for users to find such sites.
Share your thoughts on this movement in the comments below.