The UK Government, through the UKIPO, Ofcom and DMCS, has helped broker an agreement between Google, Bing, the BPI and Motion Picture Association over a new voluntary code of practice.
Under the new code, Google and Bing will cooperate with the creative industries to demote links to infringing content all the way down to Davey Jones’ Locker.
Copyright owners will certainly be buoyed by this new agreement, which should be a real help in combatting online infringement. This new agreement also comes hot on the heels of a few recent EU Court of Justice cases. The first of which was GS Media, in which the court effectively created a take-down procedure when it decided that linking to unauthorised content online constitutes a “communication to the public” and therefore infringes copyright. Another is the Pirate Bay case, where the Attorney General (at the time of writing the Court has not handed down a decision) considered that the indexing of infringing content without actually sharing the materials themselves is also a “communication to the public”.
While the text of the code does not appear to have been published yet, the BPI has explained that it “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.”