DuckDuckGo’s crackdown on dubious content now extends to digital smugglers. TorrentFreak has found that the search engine no longer lists results for some of the major pirate websites, including The Pirate Bay, 1337x and Fmovies – search for anything from their domains and you’ll come up empty. Streaming and streaming sites like Flixtor and 2conv also don’t produce results, while other pirate outlets (like RarBG) may show only one result instead of the hundreds of thousands you see elsewhere.
The YouTube-dl video download tool site also fails to produce results despite recent defenses of its legality. While the RIAA has portrayed YouTube-dl as a hacking tool, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, GitHub, and others found that it does not rip DRM-protected material.
We have asked DuckDuckGo for a comment. What TorrentFreak it says, however, that liability for copyright violations could be an issue. The company has been removing pirate “bangs” (shortcuts to pirated sites) since 2018, and competitors like Google and Microsoft are already downgrading piracy-related results. A move like this could protect DuckDuckGo from costly copyright battles.
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