Various UK rights associations have partnered with search engines Google and Bing in a government-backed attempt to crack down on internet piracy.
The UK initiative will see sites dedicated to copyright-infringing content demoted in internet search results, while sites offering legal content will be easily accessible.
The new voluntary code of practice was agreed between the two leading search engines and music body the BPI, the Motion Picture Association, and the Alliance for Intellectual Property, which represents a range of rights holders.
The agreement was reached following a government-chaired series of roundtables. The Intellectual Property Office led the discussionswith assistance from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Media regulator Ofcom also supported the talks by examining the way that search results are presented to internet users.
“Pirate websites are currently much too easy to find via search, so we appreciate the parties’ willingness to try to improve that situation,” said Stan McCoy, president and managing director, Motion Picture Association EMEA.
BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: “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.”
The new agreement will run in parallel with existing UK anti-piracy measures aimed at reducing online copyright 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.