The Death of Torrent Downloading Is Nigh?
If you’ve heard the news then you too must be shocked and saddened to bid farewell to your torrent downloading days. It seems search engine giants such as Google, Yahoo and Bing have undertaken the task to ban torrent sites from appearing in their search results.
Google and Other Search Engines to Bid Farewell to Torrent Sites
The most prominent piece of news came from TorrentFreak, according to which the top heads from Google and others have met with the people from the UK entertainment industry and are closing in on a deal as we speak.
The deal was put into motion by the British Intellectual Property office, where all of the relevant members involved had collectively agreed to ban all torrent sites that host copyrighted content from reputed TV Shows, movies, music and so on.
Accusations on Google Ranking Pages
Ever since DMCA was enacted back in 1998 to fight online piracy, the entertainment industry has been pushing to enforce something like this. For years, the industry has been blaming Google and other companies for not playing their part in the prevention of online piracy. There have also been times when Google had been accused of even fueling it.
To Google’s credit, they did take a number of measures to tackle the problem, but in the eyes of the copyright department, it was just not enough. As a result, Google was bombarded with over a billion takedown requests last year alone.
Google has always complied, but there have been severe rumblings, especially in the UK. It reached a point where the search engines would find themselves at the end of legislations, thus forcing them to do more.
Baroness J.P. Buscombe, from the Digital Economy Bill committee said, “Since the idea was last discussed in Parliament, Intellectual Property Office officials have chaired a further round table meeting between search engines and representatives of the creative industries”.
Although a draft amendment would permit the government to impose the code, it seems as if the imposition will not be necessary given how the matter was brought up again in the early part of February.
Baroness Buscombe said, “Since the idea was last discussed in [parliament], Intellectual Property Office officials have chaired a further round-table meeting between search engines and representatives of the creative industries.”
She went on to say that while there are certain elements that need to be taken care of, “key content of the code” has been decided and that an agreement is expected to be “reached very soon”. According to the report, the code is said to take effect from June 1, 2017.
Because the meeting was not made public or documented by the parties involved or even the government, TorrentFreak took the opportunity to approach Google with the following questions:
- What companies are involved in the agreement, both from the search side and entertainment industries?
- What are the basics of the voluntary code and how will it affect the visibility of allegedly-infringing results?
- How will the agreement manifest itself to Google’s users come June 1?
Search Engines and their Algorithm Changes
Buscombe further added that the search engines involved in this “have been very co-operative, making changes to their algorithms and processes, but also working bilaterally with creative industry representatives to explore the options for new interventions and how existing processes might be streamline”.
Buscombe said she understands that all the parties involved are keen on finalizing the agreement and that she believes there is no need to impose any legislative power at this point. She went on to say that other options can be revisited if the currents ones do not work out.
Apart from devaluing copyright infringement torrent sites, search engines’ auto complete feature, which is a feature that instantly suggests what users are looking for, are also in the works to remove any terms that could direct users to pirated sites.
For the moment, the discussions are only for the UK; but if it sees monumental success, then other countries could look to adopt the same strategies as well. Although the motion is set to be implemented in June, there is no guarantee that it will completely negate a user’s access to illegal or copyrighted content.
Indian Government’s Strict Stance Against Piracy
As far as India is concerned with torrent sites, the government is already in the process of implementing steps that could ban them from local ISPs such as Airtel, Tata and more. Before the due date, compliance with the code will be monitored by the IPO in the meantime.
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