Those who are conducting online searches using Google’s search engine or Microsoft’s Bing will soon notice some difference in their search resultts with regards to websites that hosts pirated content. Why? Because both companies have willingly participated in the U.K. government’s “Voluntary Code of Practice” guideline.
Signed by Google, Bing, the Motion Picture Association and the British Phonographic Industry, this guideline will formalise and “accelerate” the process in which a rights holder can flag a website that it perceives to be hosting illegal content. Should the request goes through, both Google and Bing would demote the website from the first page of the search result.
As you may have noticed, this system doesn’t remove the websites from search results altogether as they’ll still appear on the second page of the search results. However, the idea behind this isn’t to completely eliminate websites that host pirated content. Rather, the U.K. government is hoping that by making illegal content hard to discover in the first place, casual internet users would look for more easily attainable sources instead. The demotion of search results will be added to the U.K. government’s anti-piracy mechanisms, which currently includes ISP-driven site blocking and written warnings to suspected pirates.
Rest assured, this system will only be users living in the U.K.. However, if the method proves to be effective when it comes to combating piracy, we fully expect other governments around the world to request both Microsoft and Google to implement the same measures in their own countries.