"We will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site," the U.S. search giant said in a blog post. "Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results."
This marks Google's latest concession to copyright owners, who have long demanded the company take steps to prevent its search engine from aiding copyright infringement, CNET reported Friday.
The intent of the change, Google said, isn't for the company to assume the role of copyright cop but to help identify illegitimate sources of music, movies and other digital media.
"This ranking change should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily -- whether it's a song previewed on NPR's music Web site, a TV show on Hulu or new music streamed from Spotify," Google's blog post said.
Copyright owners have flagged more than 4.3 million Web URLs for violations in the last 30 days, Google said.