Search engine traffic will be reduced to piracy sites providing illegal downloads
Google and Microsoft have reached an agreement with the UK government on a new code of conduct designed to tackle the long-running problem of film and music piracy online.
Following years of campaigning by the creative industries, the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) will now monitor the search results provided by Google and Microsoft’s Bing search engine for websites providing illegal downloads.
The new code will also see sites that have previously received copyright infringement notices demoted down the search rankings so that they do not appear on the first page, thereby reducing the amount of traffic to them.
Furthermore, the voluntary code will also see a clampdown on search engine autocomplete functions, with the removal of terms that lead to illegal sites rather than legitimate services.
“It is essential that [consumers] are presented with links to legitimate websites and services, not provided with links to pirate sites”, said Jo Johnson, the minister for universities, science, research and innovation, adding that the search engines’ “relationships with our world leading creative industries needs to be collaborative.”
The news is undoubtedly a significant step forward in the battle against pirated downloads but Geoff Taylor, chief executive of record label representative BPI, believes there is still a long way to go: “We have long campaigned for search engines to do more to ensure fans are directed to legal sources for music or other entertainment. There is much work still to do to achieve this.
“The Code will not be a silver bullet fix, but it will mean that illegal sites are demoted more quickly from search results and that fans searching for music are more likely to find a fair site.”
A Google spokesman said: “Google has been an active partner for many years in the fight against piracy online. We remain committed to tackling this issue and look forward to further partnership with rights holders.”
The fight against music and movie piracy will always be an ongoing one, but steps are being taken to address the issue.
Back in October Cisco released a system designed to clamp down on pirated video content, after Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox started blocking access to notorious illegal content site The Pirate Bay.