In response to a request under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, Google scrubbed a number of references to popular file sharing site The Pirate Bay, including a link to the homepage.
The problem has since been fixed, likely thanks to a counterclaim from the Swedish site.
The Pirate Bay has proven immensely controversial for hosting links and descriptions to a massive amount of copyrighted material.
However, the site does not itself host any copies of films, record albums and software -- that's done by individuals over the BitTorrent protocol with applications like Azureus.
The United States has been accused of pressuring Swedish officials to crack down on the site.
Google is also a part of a number of copyright controversies stemming from its acquisition of YouTube and its library of infringing videos, as well as complaints over its Google Books project which makes digital copies of books from libraries.
Under the DMCA, a site is not liable for any infringing content posted by its users, but does have to respond to requests from rightsholders to promptly remove that content.
Those accused of copyright violations can file a response, but in the meantime, their content may be wiped offline.
Photo by Robin Iversen Rönnlund.
Jackson West wishes there were a Pirate Party on this side of the pond.