The UK IPO has announced today that Google and Microsoft have signed an anti-piracy agreement with the creative industries, in the form of the UK record industry trade body, the BPI and the US Motion Picture Association.
The government has been facilitating the talks (which have apparently been going on for several years) which have now led to a Voluntary Code of Conduct.
The objective is to reduce the visibility of pirate sites to those casually searching for content. Currently if one searches for music and film titles, often pirate sites appear high up in the search results.
The Code was agreed on 9 February 2017, will come into force immediately, and sets targets for reducing the visibility of infringing content in search results by 1 June 2017.
Minister of State Jo Johnson MP will oversee the implementation of this Code of Practice, and the IPO will work with all parties to evaluate progress. The implication is that, if progress is not made, legislation may follow. The announcement handily arrives just before the issue was due to be debated by the House of Lords as part of the progress of the Digital Economy Bill. The full IPO press release is here.
The Code is currently limited to the UK, but the creative industries hope that it will become a model adopted throughout the world. You can hear Eddy Leviten from the Alliance for IP talking about it on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08fd9ww [at about 06.50am]