DuckDuckGo’s crackdown on dodgy content now extends to digital bootleggers. TorrentFreak has discovered that the search engine no longer lists results for some major pirate websites, including The Pirate Bay, 1337x and Fmovies — look for anything from their domains and you’ll come up empty-handed. Streaming and stream-ripping sites like Flixtor and 2conv also produce no results, while other pirate outlets (such as RarBG) may only turn up one result instead of the hundreds of thousands you see elsewhere.
The site for the video download tool YouTube-dl also produces no results despite recent defenses of its legality. While the RIAA has portrayed YouTube-dl as a piracy tool, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, GitHub and others found that it doesn’t rip DRM-protected material.
We’ve asked DuckDuckGo for comment. As TorrentFreak says, though, liability for copyright violations might be an issue. The company removed pirate “bangs” (shortcuts for pirate sites) as far back as 2018, and competitors like Google and Microsoft are already downranking piracy-related results. A move like this could protect DuckDuckGo against costly copyright battles.