Search Engines to Demote Pirate Sites

Search Engines to Demote Pirate Sites

Search engines are pledging to make it increasingly difficult for UK internet users to find pirated films and music.

Google and Microsoft’s Bing have signed up to a voluntary code of practice and will ensure offending websites are demoted in their search results.

The agreement was reached after talks approved by the government and the initiative will run in parallel with existing anti-piracy measures.

The code is said to be in operation from this summer and Google has said the effort would provide a way to check that its existing piracy efforts were effective.

Ofcom has supported the talks by exploring techniques that could be used to ensure internet users avoid coming across illegal content.

Director general at the trade body The Alliance for Intellectual Property, Eddy Leviten, said: "Sometimes people will search for something and they will end up unwittingly being taken to a pirated piece of content.

"What we want to ensure is that the results at the top of the search engines are the genuine ones. It is about protecting people who use the internet, but also protecting the creators of that material too."

Chief executive of music industry body BPI, Geoff Taylor, said: "Successful and dynamic online innovation requires an ecosystem that works for everyone, users, technology companies, and artists and creators.

"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."

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