Search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo may remove links to torrent-indexing websites and other links that host copyright-infringing content, under the terms of a new voluntary anti-piracy code in the United Kingdom, TorrentFreak reported. The code between the search engines and entertainment companies is likely to take effect by June 1, according to the report published on Wednesday.
The move is a result of talks between the two sides, chaired by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office. Baroness JP Buscombe of the Digital Economy Bill Committee said they had “agreed on the key content of the code”. “I expect an agreement to be reached very soon,” she added.
Representatives from the technology companies objected to a draft amendment to the Bill, which would have allowed the country’s government to impose a code of practice on search engines with regard to the infringement of copyright-protected content. Buscombe praised the tech majors for their cooperation by “working bilaterally with creative industry representatives to explore the options for new interventions”. “I understand that all parties are keen to finalise and sign up to the voluntary agreement, and so we believe there is no need to take a legislative power at this time.”
If implemented, the move may allow other countries apart from the UK to ask tech companies running search algorithms formulate and agree to such codes, with entertainment industry representatives in their territories. Currently, search engines block links to copyright-protected after receiving “take down” requests under various national laws.