Illegally streamed sporting events and films will be increasingly difficult to find online under an anti-piracy agreement between Google and Microsoft which will hide the sites in question further down the list of search results.
The pact, brokered by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), will see Google and Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, direct users to legitimate websites and services as a priority, the IPO said in a statement.
The deal comes into effect immediately with a target set for June to reduce the visibility of pirated sites.
The deal, however, will affect search results only, meaning users with direct links to pirated content will be unaffected.
“Pirate sites deprive artists and rights holders of hard-earned income and I’m delighted to see industry-led solutions like this landmark agreement which will be instrumental in driving change.” the UK’s Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said in a statement.
The voluntary code of practice will see the internet giant’s work alongside current UK anti-piracy measures, including court-ordered site-blocking, advertisement restrictions on illegal sites and a consumer education program called ‘Get It Right From A Genuine Site’ which educates consumers on how find entertainment content online legally.
A spokesperson from Google played down the statement from the IPO, telling the BBC they do not plan any immediate policy changes. “Google has been an active partner for many years in the fight against piracy online. We remain committed to tackling this issue and look forward to further partnership with rights holders.” they said.