Google succumbed to the screaming horde of rights holders in August by agreeing to start making 'pirate' sites more difficult to find through Google -- but has it made any difference at all?

The department for culture, media and sport (DCMS) doesn't seem to think so, and says it will examine the technical changes promised by Google in August to see just how effective they've actually been. Google had promised to downgrade illegal download sites in search results, the bulk of which appear in the search giants own transparency report, but a search for any song, book or movie tells a different story.

Torrentfreak carried out several searches to test out just how good these measures were:

"The first 10 results for Kanye West produced three obviously infringing links, including one from MP3Skull right at the very top. MP3Skull is currently the 23rd most-complained-about domain when it comes to DMCAs sent to Google. A result from KickassTorrents (7th place for DMCAs with Google) was placed two positions above an official iTunes download.

 

However, in both instances if the search is switched to “Radiohead mp3″ and “Kanye West mp3″, all first page results (apart from two for Radiohead) appear to be infringing."

Interestingly, it found sites that are considered to be most infringing were in fact appearing lower down the page or notably absent. However, this was only functioning to promote lesser known pirate sites and not legitimate retail points.

That means that Google is doing what it promised, in a sense, it's just the outcome that sucks. Will media companies learn anything from this? Will the Government? Nah. Let's just keep chucking more money and legislation at the problem. [The Guardian via Torrent Freak]