“Google now can and does do what the Pirate Bay has always done,” Edelman says. “And if they’re prosecuted, they would have much more interesting arguments in their defense.”
By searching for pirated music or video, Google users can easily scan a range of lesser-known pirate sites to dig up illicit content. Those looking for the upcoming film X-Men Origins: Wolverine, for instance, can search for “wolverine torrent.” The first result is a link to file-sharing site isoHunt, with a torrent tracker file that allows the user to download the full film. In fact, searches for “wolverine torrent” on Google have more than quadrupled since the movie file was first leaked to peer-to-peer networks on April 5, according to Google Trends.