Thursday, 09 February 2017 01:24

Google and Other Search Engines Agree on Code to Fight Online Piracy

By  [Source: This article was published in By Gabriela Vatu]

The fight against online piracy is close to reaching a new level, as Google and other search companies are getting close to striking a voluntary agreement with entertainment companies. What’s the point of it all? Making those links to infringing content vanish from search results.

According to a report from TorrentFreak, multiple roundtable discussions took place with the help of the British Intellectual Property Office. Following these meetings, all parties have agreed that the new code will take effect by June 1, 2017.

What does this mean for you, the regular user of most search engines? It means that when you’re looking for the torrent link of some movie or another, you’ll get nothing valid back.

It’s been years since the entertainment industry has taken to blaming Google, Yahoo, Bing, and all the rest for not doing more to prevent Internet piracy. This works on the assumption that, of course, pirates actually google the torrents they need rather than going over to the sites they know and trust and just downloading everything from there.

Regardless of the logic of the situation, entertainment companies, Hollywood for the most part, have pushed and poked Google for more action towards eliminating links to copyrighted content distributed freely over the Internet. Google, for its part, has already done loads of things to help the industry, such as punishing offenders by taking out their links from the search results or demoting them for certain key phrases. One thing that they’ve refused to do so far is to remove the entire site from their search results since there may also be legal content available for download there.

Overtired Google

But Google is probably getting tired of all the effort it’s putting into this whole process. In 2016 alone the company was sent takedown requests affecting a billion links, which is insane. Over 90% of them were actually taken down, but this is a process that takes a lot of time and effort from Google since someone needs to check the links to confirm they’re really leading to copyrighted content. Even with the process, they set up in place, it’s still time-consuming.

Since it started counting, Google has processed requests regarding over 2 billion infringing URLs, out of which nearly 1 billion were taken down. The fact that half those URLs were targeted within the last year alone is troublesome and can only indicate that this situation will continue to escalate.

An agreement

The role of service providers when it comes to infringing content was once more the focus during a Digital Economy Bill committee. The drafted amendment mentions the possibility for the government to impose a code of practice for search engines, forcing them to deal with infringement. This may not be necessary, however, as search engines have agreed on the key content of the code that is to be rolled out in the months to come.

According to Baroness Buscombe, both the search engine representatives and those of companies within the entertainment industry, have agreed that the code needs to be implemented in the next four months.

While it’s yet unclear what exactly this code will target, we’re pretty sure that those torrent links will no longer appear on search results pages. This will have an impact on the online industry, but only a moderate one, since most pirates visit the websites directly, rather than go through a search engine to find the content they want.

[Source: This article was published in By Gabriela Vatu - Uploaded by the Association Member: Barbara Larson] 


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