A "world-first" agreement has been struck between representatives of rights-holders and major search engines, which aims to reduce the availability of unauthorised online content in the UK.
The agreement sees the Alliance For Intellectual Property, BPI and MPA, partner with Google and Microsoft's Bing on a new voluntary code of practice, which will lead to the removal of links to unlicensed material, intended to reduce the prominence of infringing content in search rankings.
“Successful and dynamic online innovation requires an ecosystem that works for everyone - users, technology companies, and artists and creators, said BPI and BRIT Awards CEO Geoff Taylor (pictured). "BPI has 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.
“This initiative is a world-first. We look forward to working with Google, Microsoft and our partners across the creative industries to build a safer, better online environment for creators and fans.”
This agreement, which follows a series of government-chaired roundtable discussions, will run in parallel with existing anti-piracy measures aimed at reducing online infringement. These include court ordered site blocking, work with brands to reducing advertising on illegal sites and the Get it Right from a Genuine Site consumer education campaign, which encourages fans to value the creative process and directs them to legal sources of content.
UK Music, the umbrella body for the music industry, has welcomed the move. “This is the culmination of years of discussions between rights-holders and search engines," said CEO Jo Dipple. "UK Music welcomes any progress that makes our digital markets more efficient. Throughout Parliament’s consideration of the Digital Economy Bill, UK Music called for such a code of practice - and for it to be enforceable. This is progress and all parties must work to ensure the code has effect. Government has a manifesto commitment to fulfil."