London
20 February 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon
Google and Bing sign voluntary copyright code
Google, Bing and creative industry groups have signed a voluntary code of practice covering the removal of links to infringing content from search results.

The deal, which was brokered in part by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), will come into force immediately and has set targets for reducing the visibility of infringing content in search results by 1 June.

UK minister of IP, Jo Johnson, said: “Search engines play a vital role in helping consumers discover content online.”

“Their relationship with our world leading creative industries needs to be collaborative. Consumers are increasingly heading online for music, films, e-books, and a wide variety of other content.”

He added: “It is essential that they are presented with links to legitimate websites and services, not provided with links to pirate sites.”

As well as Google and Bing, both the British Phonographic Industry and the Motion Picture Association have signed the agreement.

Several members of the Alliance for IP have also signed the agreement, including the Premier League and the Publishers Association.

Matt Hancock, UK minister of digital and culture, added: “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.”

“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.”

Google has now removed more than two billion URLs from its search results due to claims of copyright infringement, according to its latest transparency report.

Nearly a billion URLs were removed in the last year, with 335,000 websites affected.

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