After all this time, Big Tech monopoly Google and its competitor Bing will start "self policing," and making it harder people to find illegal streaming and download sties that pirate content. This comes as fantastic news because it not only takes one step in the right direction for musicians and filmmakers, but it also might help ease the epidemic of sex trafficking.
According to M Magazine:
"A voluntary code of practice will kick-start collaboration between the parties to demote links to websites that are dedicated to infringing content for UK consumers.
The code will accelerate the demotion of illegal sites following notices from rightsholders, and establishes ongoing technical consultation, increased co-operation and information sharing to develop and improve on the process.
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has led the discussions, with the assistance of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The BPI, Motion Picture Association and the Alliance for Intellectual Property have been in conversation with Google and Bing."
Not a moment too soon. According to government statistics, in the U.K., nearly 80 million music tracks were accessed illegally in 2016--in a three month period alone. But if you dig a little deeper, it may not be the triumphant partnership between Silicon Valley and Content Creators after all.
A statement on the BPI's website reads in part:
Following a Government-chaired series of roundtables, a voluntary code of practice (‘code’) will kick-start collaboration between the parties to demote links to websites that are dedicated to infringing content for consumers in the UK. The code will accelerate the demotion of illegal sites following notices from rights holders, and establishes ongoing technical consultation, increased co-operation and information sharing to develop and improve on the process. It will also enable new practices to be adopted where needed.
The parties want to work together toward ensuring consumers have easy access to legal content and are not being inadvertently led to the infringing websites which proliferate online and risk to expose them to malware. A core aim is to ensure that users who are looking for legitimate content are much less likely to get presented with links to infringing content. There will also be collaboration to improve autocomplete suggestions which can lead users to infringing search results.
Yeah, whatever. In case you can't read between the lines, there are two important things to note. First: This only applies to the U.K. You'd think if piracy is such an issue they'd be voluntarily self-policing on a global level. Not just in one country. And a country which incidentally has stepped up its efforts to curtail this behavior without the help of either search engine by sending emails to offenders letting them know they're being jerks. Unsurprisingly, a lot of content creators see this as being a little too late as the behavior has been ingrained since the days of Napster. And spoiler alert: even if they "hide," the websites, it's a certainty a lot of people have them bookmarked already.
Secondly, don't forget that this agreement is voluntary and not really enforceable by any sort of law. And Google and Bing have until later this year in June to report any findings to rights holders, meaning they are kicking the can down the road while the problem they continue to monetize happily persists.
In addition to pretending to figure out how to delist or demote websites, Google and Bing will also work to fix their autocomplete so those words "free download" don't appear when someone types "Beyonce."
Interesting timing, in the wake of Theresa May becoming Prime Minister. May has already been labeled as the "villain of the year," by Big Tech. So this isn't some PR move at all. No way. To quote Johnny Rotten, "They mean it, man."
Honestly. Does anyone really still believe it is really so hard for Google to police its own search engine? It's also not an arduous task to delist sites, or take away the means of making ad revenue either. They have the ability to punish sites that use pop-up ads, for God's sake. They delist sites all the time. And we should know. Google delisted Adland for three months for zero reason. And they had no problem removing our ability to monetize Adland, by banning us from Adsense. And we're a legitimate site but still don't have that monetizing opportunity. if anyone really believes Google will do the right thing here, we've got a bridge to sell you.