TECH GIANTS Google and Microsoft have agreed to the world's first 'anti-piracy' agreement that will see 'pirated' content demoted in search results.
We sort of knew that this was coming, and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) confirmed on Monday that Google and Bing have signed up to a voluntary code of practice that will come into force on 1 June.
They likely didn't have much choice in the matter, with reports last week claiming that the UK government could force Google and other search engines to implement an 'anti-piracy' code whether they like it or not.
Music industry body BPI and the Motion Picture Association have also signed the code of practice while the likes of the Entertainment Recording Agency and the Premier League have also indicated agreement.
The code will see Google and Microsoft tweak their respective algorithms so that people searching for films, digital books and live sports will be directed to legit providers rather than sites that host pirated content, unlikely a huge concern for anyone who has the Pirate Bay bookmarked.
While it remains to be seen how much of a different these measures will make, Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, seems pretty pleased about it.
"Search engines play a vital role in helping consumers discover content online. Their relationship with our world leading creative industries needs to be collaborative," she said.
"Consumers are increasingly heading online for music, films, e-books, and a wide variety of other content. It is essential that they are presented with links to legitimate websites and services, not provided with links to pirate sites.
"I am very pleased that the search engines and representatives of the creative industries have agreed this Code. I look forward to this valuable collaboration benefiting both the UK's digital and creative sectors."
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of music industry body BPI, added: "Successful and dynamic online innovation requires an ecosystem that works for everyone, users, technology companies, and artists and creators.
"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."
This code of practice follows on from existing anti-piracy measures that have already been implemented in the UK, including court-ordered site blocking, efforts to reduce advertising appearing on illegal websites and the Get it Right From A Genuine Site 'educational' campaign. µ
The week in Google in brief
Sega hedgehogging its bets
And not a purple duck in sight