The article is a terrible piece of writing that doesn't make a cohesive case at all. I can see nothing terribly new in the linked Google page other than the usual mantra of "write content for human's and don't try and game the system".
Lot's of "google could do this" and "the rules could be interpreted like that" - the truth is that Google has no interest in penalizing honest content. Obviously there is the chance of collateral damage but nothing appears to have changed to warrant the hyperbole herein.
1. A bit, maybe, for now. And I'd like them to succeed: when I search for something I want to know what the general populous says about a thing, not what some PR company says, so if the effect of PR can be minimised I should get better results for some searches.
2. Note the words "for now" above. the PR people will find other methods to give them the advantage. Google and their ilk can win as many battles as they like, but they'll never win the war.
Article is alarmist and weird. Not recommended.
I also wondered if the article was confusing "Public Relations" with "Search Engine Optimization" but its hard to tell.
2. It's really questionable whether censoring search results is a search engine's place. It's even more questionable whether they should be doing so unilaterally.
3. You can send Google a DMCA notice. They take stuff down all the time in response to those.
4. Those things are probably not killing your software sales, and if they are, you have no way of knowing that.
Note, I sell software and answer support calls from people who are using stolen license keys. I know what I'm talking about. If you don't like my opinion that's fine. You probably don't sell software.
Why? Because people either pay for software or they don't. Some people who pay for software also pirate it. I have never encountered such a person who paid for software because they couldn't pirate it; rather, they paid for it because they wanted to support the author.
Probably a few people like that do exist though, so out of the thousands of people pirating your software, you might have lost ten sales. Maybe. Generously. All of the others simply would have used something else if the cracked key hadn't been available.
When many of us see a comment like yours, we feel much the same way that a mathematician probably feels when someone claims they have a proof that 0.9̅ ≠ 1. It's a broken argument that we've encountered many times before, and the fallacy of the argument is not even interesting to discuss anymore. Moreover, none of us have ever seen someone make that argument and then bring up interesting and novel points to the ensuing discussion. We know exactly how the conversation is going to go, and there's little motivation to run through the motions of it again.
Would the pirates have bought your software if the crack was not available? How many customers used a cracked version at one point before becoming a customer? How much profit do you lose by investing in making your licensing scheme harder to crack?
We ended up deciding that our license keys were there to keep honest people honest, not to thwart people intent on abusing our licensing terms. Whether or not that was the most profitable choice is anyone's guess, but it certainly was nice to look at cracks as lead-gen and a bit of a compliment, rather than trying to wage a distracting war against people who were probably not going to pay us anything anyways.
Google, from my vantage point, is the enabler.
The other is a company collecting and making available publicly accessible information. These two situations are completely unlike each other.
Why do you place the responsibility on Google? Go send a DMCA takedown to the people providing the cracks. The law provides the tools for you to decide how to protect your creations. It's not the responsibility of Google or any other entity to enforce your copyright or decide how to enforce it. You have the power. Use it.