UK Government Reviewing Google Policy On Illegal Sites

"google piracy sites"The UK government has announced that they will be reviewing how Google is working to downgrade the search results of illegal file sharing sites.

According to a report buy the British newspaper The Guardian, the department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMAS) within the British government will be reviewing the progress being made by Google in downgrading illegal sites in their search results.

Google were given a warning by the then Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt last year about the situation which currently sees illegal sites ranking highly on search results.

Google made promises in August to change aspects technically to improve the situation regarding illegal sites but since then there has been very little from the internet giants and now the British government are looking at bringing in new legislation’s that would make Google obliged by law to make changes to their search engine.

 A spokesman from the department for culture, media and sport said that the government would “consider our options” but the government is facing pressure from the music, film and publishing industries who are keen to see pirated material made more difficult to access.

Members of the music, film and publishing industry have complained that Google continue to put illegal download sites are ranking highly on the Google site making it too accessible to the general public.

Illegal downloads of material are said to be having a hugely detrimental effect on the entertainment industry with millions of pounds being lost as people opt to download a song, film or book illegally rather than paying for the material.

Some artists such as Ed Sheeran have said that they do not mind the illegal downloads as any publicity is good publicity and that by getting the music out to as many people as possible artists are then able to get people to buy tickets to live shows where the most money for artists is made.

However many in the industry are not so open minded about the situation and are looking to governments to help them to deal with the increasing problem of illegal downloads.

The UK government sees Google as being essential in the battle against online piracy because 90 percent of people in Britain use Google as their primary search engine.

A spokesman from Google told the Guardian: “We continue to work closely with the industry to protect rights holders and their material.  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.”

However this is not far enough for many concerned.  The director general of the Federation Against Copyright Theft, Kieron Sharp, told the Guardian: “Google claims to have taken steps to make infringing websites 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.”

The department of culture, media and sport said: “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.”

A review of the policies is due to be released by the department of culture, media and sport early in 2013.




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