Editorial

Have Britain’s creative industries and search engines found a way to beat piracy?

Government says it’s helped broker an agreement that will help search engines and creative industries “work together to stop consumers being led to copyright infringing websites”

Posted 20 February 2017 by

Google, Bing, the body that speaks for the UK’s recorded music industry, the BPI, and the Motion Picture Association are all co-signatories of a new deal the government says will see search engines and the creative industries work together to stop consumers being led to copyright-infringing parts of the Web.

Self-described “broker” of the new Voluntary Code of Practice is the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), which is responsible for Intellectual Property (IP) rights in the United Kingdom, including patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.

Representatives from the creative industries, leading UK search engines, and the IPO say they’ve been able to work out a way to remove links to infringing content from the first page of search results.

The Code, formally agreed earlier this month, will come into force immediately, and sets targets for reducing the visibility of infringing content in search results by 1 June 2017.

Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation,  will oversee the implementation of this Code of Practice, with the IPO committing to work with all parties to evaluate progress.

“Search engines play a vital role in helping consumers discover content online,” he said.

“Consumers are increasingly heading online for music, films, e-books, and a wide variety of other content [so] it is essential they are presented with links to legitimate websites and services, not provided with links to pirate sites.

“I am very pleased that the search engines and representatives of the creative industries have agreed this Code. I look forward to this valuable collaboration benefiting both the UK’s digital and creative sectors.”

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock added that the UK is one of the world’s leading digital nations, and as a result has “a responsibility to make sure that consumers have easy access to legal content online”.

Pirate sites deprive artists and rights holders of hard-earned income, he claimed, adding that he was “delighted” to see industry-led solutions like this landmark agreement, which he predicted 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,” he added.