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    UK IP Advisor Points To Online Search Engines To Do More Against Piracy

    Published on 29 May 2014 @ 8:21 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    Search engines don’t cause internet piracy but they could do more to stamp it out, the UK Prime Minister’s intellectual property advisor says in a new paper.

    Online film and music piracy in the United Kingdom causes annual revenue losses of £400 million ($669 million), Conservative Member of Parliament Mike Weatherley, intellectual property advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron, said in a discussion paper posted on 29 May.

    The document was produced with input from Google and other search engines, but is not a joint submission, he said. It’s intended to spur debate and contains recommendations for consideration by the Secretary of State.

    Weatherley stressed that search engines are not the cause of online piracy, but said research showed that they “play an important role in inadvertently guiding consumers towards illegal content and are well placed to be part of the solution.

    “The general consensus from submissions received from rights holders is that the current initiatives employed by search engines to combat piracy are inadequate,” the paper said.

    Google responded to that claim by coming up with five steps to help UK content owners increase the visibility of authorised services in search results, it said. These are:

    (1) Joint industry events to allow content owners and Google search experts share best practices on making content discoverable.

    (2) Introduction of a new open standard for the mark-up of websites to enable authorised music sites to more prominently feature streaming “preview” music content in search results.

    (3) Giving advertisers the chance to add links to download or stream from legitimate content sites. (4) Suggesting that the movie and music sectors design content-specific pages to direct consumers to legal content.

    (5) Crawlable licensed services, where movie or music streaming services provided to paying customers through mobile apps, tablets, phones or otherwise behind a paywall become crawlable by Google so it can return more relevant search results to guide consumers to legal services.

    While it’s encouraging that Google has engaged with the issue of piracy openly and collaboratively, “it should be noted that industry response to the initiatives … has not been fully favourable,” the paper said.

    Recommendations

    Weatherley offered 10 recommendations. Among these, he urged Google to take the lead in setting responsible industry standards, and giving rights holders the opportunity to discuss with the search giant how to maximise prioritisation of sites with legitimate content.

    Google’s proposal for crawlable licensed services should be explored further by licensed services, rights owners and Google, he said. There should be an effective method for promoting and demoting search results on the basis of legality, with search engines working with rights holders to design a workable system.

    One key recommendation was that search engines agree on a protocol with content owners under which, once they receive a copy of a formal court order blocking a site from access via the main UK internet services providers, they must remove that site from their search algorithms promptly.

    Another main recommendation was that search services fully support the “follow the money” initiative to cut advertising funds to pirates.

    Weatherley also urged search engines to look into incorporating trust marks and warnings to signify legal content in search results presented to consumers, and that everyone try to put voluntary measures in place to reduce piracy.

    Google Pays ‘Lip Service”

    The report is significant, said the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI). Other online intermediaries such as advertisers and payment providers have taken voluntary action to counter the growth of the online black market, but Google “has paid lip service to the issue but in practice has done little to address the ethical loophole in its algorithm, which directs millions of consumers to sites it clearly knows to be illegal,” said BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor. If search engines don’t step up to the plate on this, the government should legislate, he said.

    Google and the UK Internet Services Providers’ Association did not immediately respond.

    Dugie Standeford may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     


    Leave a Reply

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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