Image: Voxindie.org

Image: Voxindie.org

Google has responded to calls from entertainment companies to block torrent sites from search results by arguing that it would make more sense to starve them of ad revenue.

TorrentFreak (via BGR) reported on a debate in which Google’s UK Policy Manager, Theo Bertram, said that attempting to block pirate sites from search results is ineffective, because the same content immediately reappears on a new site.

“Blocking websites, I don’t think is as effective as going after them as a business,” he said, using the now-defunct Megaupload as an example.

“The supply that was going to Megaupload had simply shifted to a whole new range of middle-ranking pirate sites. My worry is if we’re going after them one at a time with blocking, you start getting into the whac-a-mole thing.” … 

Instead, he argued, a far more effective approach would be to block advertising from pirate sites.

“It’s not Google’s job to go around the web to declare whether sites are legal or illegal, but if Coca-Cola comes to us and says here’s a list of 500 dynamic sites and we don’t want you to place ads on those, that’s a slightly different thing. It’s almost a marketing thing for the brand,” he said.

Google said that it already removed ads ‘at record levels’ from sites promoting infringing content, but more could be done by the brands themselves playing a role in developing blacklists.