In a landmark announcement, Bing and Google will now make ‘pirate’ links harder to find.
Google and Microsoft have pledged changes to their search engines which will make life harder for users seeking illegal, copyrighted material. As part of a settlement with the UK government, the tech giants have offered to sign up to a deal which will make finding content such as pirated films, television shows, and games at least slightly more difficult.
This landmark agreement, first reported in the Telegraph, is widely expected to be adopted by many other governments around the world, as the crackdown on online pirated material hots up. Under a new set of voluntary guidelines, Microsoft’s Bing and Google will remove pirate links from the first page of search results. In addition, both search engines may tweak autocomplete features on their respective search bars to support these guidelines. The autocomplete, first utilized as a time-saving measure, may also remove terms which lead to pirate websites.
While Google has received take-down notices for over a million websites which reporters claim to infringe on copyrighted material, the company cannot rely solely on this information to make an informed decision.
Instead, Google will only demote domains when there are frequent copyright take-downs issued against them.
The UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) copyright watchdog will oversee the changes for the first few months of being implemented. It is possible that after this ‘trial’ period, stricter rules may be enforced.
According to the IPO, roughly one in six Britons access and download pirated material, and claims that with the rise in legal streaming services, piracy rates continue to fall.
This landmark development in a leading online market like the UK is surely set to change the online habits of millions of people, and surely go and long way in helping online publishers in winning the battle against online piracy.
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