Google and Microsoft sign up to piracy ‘code of conduct’.

Two Leading Tech giants have voluntarily signed up to a code of conduct to crack down on internet piracy. Google and Microsoft are going to downgrade any links to pirated content in their search results. They’ve agreed this due to a following agreement with the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the creative industries.

The IPO developed a code of practice that impulses search engines to remove infringing links from the first page of search results, both Microsoft and Google are going to follow the advisory after increasing pressure.

Ofcom is also supporting this campaign, that’s independently researching ways to prevent pirated content being distributed via the Internet, according to the BBC. In an attempt to prevent copyrighted content being downloaded the IPO worked with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to urge the major search engines to adhere to the guidelines.

“Search engines play a vital role in helping consumers discover content online,” Jo Johnson, minister of state for universities, science, research and innovation, said. “Their relationship with our world leading creative industries needs to be collaborative. Consumers are increasingly heading online for music, films, e-books, and a wide variety of other content. It is essential that they are presented with links to legitimate websites and services, not provided with links to pirate sites.”

Although Google already has a number of measures already in place to stop offending content reaching the top of searches, the code of conduct would help it communicate its commitment to anti-piracy. But it said it would not change its existing policies.

“We are one of the world’s leading digital nations, and we have a responsibility to make sure that consumers have easy access to legal content online,” minister for digital and culture, Matt Hancock, said. “Pirate sites deprive artists and rights holders of hard-earned income and I’m delighted to see industry led solutions like this landmark agreement which will be instrumental in driving change.”

“As we build a more global Britain we want the UK to be the most innovative country to do business, and initiatives like this will ensure our creative and digital economies continue to thrive,” Hancock added.

The agreement follows years of campaigning by record labels and film studios, which have accused Google and Microsoft of turning a blind eye to piracy and dragging their feet over measures to protect copyright online. This will be a welcomed decision by many creative industries in Britain as it has been found that one in six Internet users access pirated content according to the IPO.

During the summer further action by the Business Secretary Greg Clark could lead to legislation that imposes fines or other measures. It will be interesting to see how this code of conduct effects the industry and it’s certainly something that we’ll be keeping an eye on this year.




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