Google and Bing joined forces to make it harder for Internet users to find pirated movies, music, and illegally streamed live sports matches. The search engines have signed up to a voluntary code of practice with Motion Picture Association and British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
The code is intended to prevent users from visiting disreputable content providers. Under new rules, search giant Google and Bing joined forces and will hide illegally pirated content, and in lieu, show links to legal places to get that same content by paying. This means UK netizens looking for films, music, or live football matches online will be directed towards legit providers rather than pirated sites.
In a statement, the government’s Intellectual Property Office dubbed the code as a ‘landmark agreement’ and a ‘first-of-its-kind initiative’ to demote piracy. Although Google has signed up the code, it believes it already has sufficient measures in place to crack down on piracy and isn’t planning any immediate policy changes. The company already removes particular page links from its search results that may violate copyright. Also, Google has planned to ban Torrent sites from its search results. A Google spokesperson 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 changes are presumed to be rolled out by this summer. The Intellectual Property Office led the discussions to create the code, with the support of the Department for Culture, Sport, and Media.
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Ofcom (The Office of Communications) also supported the discussions by inspecting in detail the way that search results are displayed to users. The group has even explored possible metrics and techniques that can help in keeping UK customers away from the illegitimate content.
Both Google and Bing currently allow copyright owners across the world to make a request for the removal of a link. During the last year, Google took down 915 million links following requests from copyright holders. On the other hand, Microsoft’s Bing took down over 91 million links between January and June 2016, as per a transparency report.