If you live in the United Kingdom and regularly use search engines like Google and Bing to easily search for pirated wares, you might want to find another method to fuel your madness. Both Microsoft and Google have signed a pact in the UK that would in essence demote pirated content from search results.
The purpose is to drastically reduce consumers’ ability to access sites that peddle copyright-protected materials. The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has developed what it calls a Voluntary Code of Practice, which both search giants have agreed to adhere to starting June 1st, 2017.
Other parties that have signed on with the Voluntary Code of Practice include the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Motion Picture Association.
“Google has been an active partner for many years in the fight against piracy online,” said a Google spokesperson in a statement. “We remain committed to tackling this issue and look forward to further partnership with rights holders.”
“Pirate websites are currently much too easy to find via search, so we appreciate the parties’ willingness to try to improve that situation,” added Stan McCoy, President and Managing Director at the Motion Picture Association.
“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,” added Matt Hancock, UK Minister of State for Digital and Culture. “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.”
According to the IPO, 15 percent of internet users accessed pirated content between March and May of 2016. However, the office also recognized that this number had fallen year-over-year due in part to the rise of paid streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, which give users relatively affordable [and legal] ways to access copyrighted content.