Sunday, 19 February 2017

Google and Microsoft agree to anti-piracy code in crackdown on illegal downloads

 Google and Microsoft agree to anti-piracy code in crackdown on illegal downloads


Google and Microsoft have signed up to a crackdown on internet piracy that will see the UK’s copyright watchdog monitor the web giants' search results for illegal websites.

The two companies have agreed to a new code of conduct designed to ensure that websites that stream or host pirated material are scrubbed from Google and Microsoft’s Bing search engine under a new code of conduct supported by the TV, film and music industry.

The code, which was brokered by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and has the backing of the TV, film and music industries, follows months of negotiations and a Conservative election commitment to stop search engines from driving traffic to illegal websites.

Creative industries rightsholders have repeatedly criticised Google for failing to prevent piracy, and have demanded that the Government take action.

Under the code, Google and Bing must demote websites that have repeatedly been served with copyright infringement notices so that they do not appear on the first page for common searches. The search engines’ autocomplete functions, a timesaving feature that suggests what users may be looking for, should also remove terms that may lead to pirate websites.
 Google and Microsoft agree to anti-piracy code in crackdown on illegal downloads


Although the code is voluntary, the IPO will monitor how Google and Bing respond over the next few months. In the summer it can recommend further action by the Business Secretary Greg Clark which could lead to legislation that imposes fines or other measures.

Matt Hancock, the minister for digital and culture, said: "We are one of the world's leading digital nations, and we have a responsibility to make sure that consumers have easy access to legal content online. Pirate sites deprive artists and rights holders of hard-earned income and I'm delighted to see industry led solutions like this landmark agreement which will be instrumental in driving change.”

Google has long argued that search engines are not a major source of traffic to piracy websites. A 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.”

One in six internet users access pirated content according to the IPO, although this is falling amid the rise of legal streaming services.


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