LONDON: Internet users will find it harder to search for illegally streamed live football matches and pirated music under a new crackdown on illegal websites. Search engine giants Google and Bing have signed up to a new voluntary code designed to stop people from visiting disreputable content providers. The code will accelerate the demotion of illegal sites following notices from rights holders and is the first of its kind in the UK. It means those searching for music videos, digital books and live sports will be directed to bona fide providers rather than pirate sites where a user’s security may be at risk. Eddy Leviten, director general at the Alliance for Intellectual Property, said: “Sometimes people will search for something and they will end up unwittingly being taken to a pirated piece of content. “What we want to ensure is that the results at the top of the search engines are the genuine ones. It is about protecting people who use the internet, but also protecting the creators of that material too. “You go into schools and speak to children and many will say they want to be on YouTube, to be a personality on there.
“When you explain to them that they need to protect their ideas, their content, from being stolen or pirated, they understand.” The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) led the discussions to create the code, with the assistance of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Ofcom has supported the discussions by examining in detail the way that search results are presented to internet users, and the group has explored possible techniques and metrics that can help UK consumers avoid illegitimate content more easily. Organisers say this agreement will run in parallel with existing anti-piracy measures aimed at reducing online infringement. The move has been welcomed by film and music groups. Stan McCoy, of the Motion Picture Association in Europe, said: “Pirate websites are currently much too easy to find via search, so we appreciate the parties’ willingness to try to improve that situation. “We look forward to working on this initiative alongside many other approaches to fighting online piracy, such as the Get it Right campaign that aims to help educate consumers about the many ways to enjoy film and television content legally and at the time of their choosing.” UK Music chief executive Jo Dipple added: “This is the culmination of years of discussions between rights-holders and search engines. UK Music welcomes any progress that makes our digital markets more efficient.”