U.K. Government Reviewing Google Promise to Downgrade Piracy Sites Listings

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Entertainment industry groups say that the online giant isn't moving fast enough to push illegal filesharing sites down in its search results.


LONDON - The U.K. government will review Google's progress in ensuring that illegal filesharing sites are pushed further down in its search results and evaluate whether it needs to resort to legislation to force the online giant's hand, the Guardian reported.

Media and entertainment industry groups, including ones representing publishers, content creators and music professionals, have criticized Google for being too slow to introduce the promised changes.

Then-culture secretary Jeremy Hunt last year warned the company that he would consider new laws to force it to downgrade sites with pirated content if Google didn't change its approach.

The British Department for Culture, Media and Sport in its latest comment said it is examining technical changes that Google promised in August to push filesharing sites down in its search results.

"The Department is aware of the concerns raised by rights holders that this has not had the impact that they hoped, and, together with industry, we now need to review the effect of the technical change made by Google and consider our options," the department told the Guardian in a statement.

It didn't provide a time frame for the review.

"We continue to work closely with the industry to protect rights holders and their material," a Google spokesman said. "Sites with high numbers of removal notices are now more likely to appear lower in our results, we've made it easier to report pirated material and now take down more than seven million infringing links per month."

Kieron Sharp, director general of the Federation Against Copyright Theft, told the Guardian though that Google needs to do more.

"Google claims to have taken steps to make infringing web sites and the pirated content they promote less accessible, yet it seems that its search engine is still promoting these sites, which are often making money from advertising or other payment mechanisms," he said.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai