Google has announced their search results algorithm this week will start taking into consideration copyright renewal notices. According to Amit Singhal, Google's SVP of Engineering, “Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results." That means Google is once again cracking down on duplicate content across the web.
Google has been processing 4.3 million URLs in the last 30 days which have been submitted as having copyright infringement. Singhal says they "We will now be using this data as a signal in our search rankings.”
Of course, Google cannot decide whether or not a webpage copyright has been infringed upon. They are simply relying on copyright removal notices they have received from rights owners.
ADVICE: If you have been using any copyrighted material and don't want to see your page rank drop, you should consider removing that content and using only original material in the future. If you feel your site has been penalized, Google says they will continue to provide "counter notice" tools to ask for reconsideration.