Live streams of football matches are expected to be penalised in the move
Live streams of football matches are expected to be penalised in the move

Google and Bing to hide pirated content, including football live streams and music torrents

People searching for pirated content will instead be sent to legitimate ways of getting hold of it

Andrew Griffin
Monday 20 February 2017 12:31

It is about to become much harder to find streams of football matches and downloads of music, under new rules.

Search giant Google and Bing will hide illegally pirated content and instead show them links to places to get that same video or music legally, by paying.

That is after the two companies launched a crackdown on piracy websites and signed up to a new code that is intended to protect users safety by stopping them from visiting disreputable sites.

Keeping people from visiting illegal sites will keep them safe from the kind of spam, advertising and malware that is often served alongside the streams or downloads, according to those backing the code.

Eddy Leviten, director general at the Alliance for Intellectual Property, said: "Sometimes people will search for something and they will end up unwittingly being taken to a pirated piece of content.

"What we want to ensure is that the results at the top of the search engines are the genuine ones.

"It is about protecting people who use the internet, but also protecting the creators of that material too.

"You go into schools and speak to children and many will say they want to be on YouTube, to be a personality on there.

"When you explain to them that they need to protect their ideas, their content, from being stolen or pirated, they understand."

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) led the discussions to create the code, with the assistance of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Ofcom has supported the discussions by examining in detail the way that search results are presented to internet users, and the group has explored possible techniques and metrics that can help UK consumers avoid illegitimate content more easily.

Organisers say this agreement will run in parallel with existing anti-piracy measures aimed at reducing online infringement.

These include court ordered site blocking, work with brands to reduce 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.

Stan McCoy, of the Motion Picture Association in Europe, said: "Pirate websites are currently much too easy to find via search, so we appreciate the parties' willingness to try to improve that situation.

"We look forward to working on this initiative alongside many other approaches to fighting online piracy, such as the Get it Right campaign that aims to help educate consumers about the many ways to enjoy film and television content legally and at the time of their choosing."

The changes are expected to be rolled out by the summer.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI, representative body for UK record labels, and the Brit Awards, said: "Successful and dynamic online innovation requires an ecosystem that works for everyone, users, technology companies, and artists and creators.

"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."

UK Music chief executive Jo Dipple said: "This is the culmination of years of discussions between rights-holders and search engines.

"UK Music welcomes any progress that makes our digital markets more efficient."

Additional reporting by Press Association

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