Google and Microsoft’s Bing have teamed up to make it harder for people in the UK to find pirated films and music and illegally stream sport events.
The tech giants have signed up to a voluntary code of practice with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Motion Picture Association aimed at ensuring offending websites are demoted in their search results.
The code, described as a world’s first, means that UK netizens looking for music, film or live football content online will be guided toward legit providers instead of pirate sites.
In a statement, the government’s Intellectual Property Office, which helped broker the code, called it a “landmark agreement” and a “first-of-its-kind initiative” to crack down on illegal piracy.
However, Google sought to play down the significance of the agreement.
“Google has been an active partner for many years in the fight against piracy online,” said a Google spokesperson. “We remain committed to tackling this issue and look forward to further partnership with rights holders.”
A source familiar with the issue said there will be no policy changes at Google as a result of the code. Google believes they have already put in place sufficient measures to tackle piracy.
The company already removes specific page links from its search results that may infringe copyright.