Two giants in the tech industry, Google and Microsoft have both signed up to crackdown on piracy, reports the Telegraph—a British newspaper. According to the report, the two American companies have reached a truce with the government and the creative industry t end a long-drawn dispute over links to pirated films and music online.
With this development, Google and Microsoft will now collaborate to clampdown on piracy, while the copyright watchdog in the UK will monitor the search results provided for illegal sites.
This partnership signifies a major breakthrough in what many regarded as one of the biggest piracy battles between Google and Microsoft on one hand, and record labels and film studios on the other end. The latter [record labels and film studios] accused the two search giants of not doing anything to curb privacy, and not taking enough measures to protect copyright online.
Speaking on the development, the minister for universities, science, research and innovation, Jo Johnson said, per the Telegraph that Google and Microsoft’s “relationships with our world leading creative industries needs to be collaborative”.
“It is essential that [consumers] are presented with links to legitimate websites and services, not provided with links to pirate sites,” Johnson said.
Under a new voluntary code, the tech giants have committed to demote websites that have repeatedly been served with copyright infringement notices, so that they do not appear on the first page for common searches. Search engine autocomplete functions, a time-saving feature that suggests what users may be looking for, should also remove terms that may lead to pirate websites rather than legitimate services that pay fees to copyright holders. Only legitimate websites that pay for such services will now enjoy full access to the feature.
Over the next couple of months, the code will be monitored by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The watchdog could, however, recommend further action by Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, which could potentially trigger legislation that imposes fines as well as other sanctions.
The CEO of BPI, Geoff Taylor, said more still needs to be done by all parties involved to protect copyright online. Taylor said per the Telegraph:
“We have long campaigned for search engines to do more to ensure fans are directed to legal sources for music or other entertainment. There is much work still to do to achieve this. 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.”
A report made available by data-analytics and piracy audience reconnection solutions provider, MUSO, in 2016, revealed that pirate streaming sites had more than 57 billion visits in 2015. The data showed that of the total 78 billion film and television piracy website visits, 74 percent visits were to those that stream content illegally.
The data clearly highlights the fact that people no longer see web downloads or P2P/Torrents as primary sources for downloading content illegally. The researchers found out that out “of a total 78.49bn film and television piracy site visits, 73.69% (57.84bn) were visits to streaming sites, with 72.07% of visits via desktop devices, indicating consumption of infringing video content via mobile devices remains low.”