Photo: Syda Productions /
29 May 2014Copyright

Search engines targeted in UK piracy report

Search engines should remove copyright-infringing websites from their listings if they have been blocked by a court order, a UK government report has said.

The report, Search Engines and Piracy, released today, May 29, outlines the “shortcomings” of search engines in the fight against online piracy.

It was written by UK Member of Parliament Mike Weatherley, who is also an IP adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron.

The report encourages search engines, including Google, to support the ‘Follow the Money’ initiative, which attempts to deter advertisers from sponsoring piracy sites.

In the report, compiled with the help of law firm Olswang LLP, Weatherley says that although search engines cannot be listed as a cause of online piracy, they can do more to tackle the “high” levels of infringement in the UK.

According to the report, piracy is estimated to cost the music and film industries £400 million ($ 669 million) per year.

Google, as the main search engine in the UK, should take a leading role among fellow providers to tackle online piracy, the report said.

“Search engines can – and must – use the resources available to them in order to safeguard the UK’s creative industries,” Weatherley said.

“Piracy remains the biggest threat to the growth of digital commerce; if we want the UK to continue to be a leader in creativity and innovation, the UK must also be an international leader of IP rights protection.”

Further recommendations in the report surround educating people about piracy and it suggests introducing ‘warning marks’, which would inform consumers about which sites are legitimate.

John Enser, partner at Olswang, said that search engines are “not the reason” piracy exists, but they “need to accept” they are part of the solution.

The report is available here.

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