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UK Music welcomes new search engines code

By | Published on Tuesday 21 February 2017

UK Music

Cross-sector music industry trade group UK Music has welcomed a commitment by Google and Microsoft’s Bing to do more to demote and delist links to copyright infringing sites and material from their respective search engines.

As previously reported, the two web giants’ UK divisions have signed up to a voluntary code of conduct after government-instigated talks that also involved record industry trade body the BPI, plus the Motion Picture Association and the Alliance For Intellectual Property.

The BPI said yesterday that it hoped the new code would “kickstart collaboration between the parties to demote links to websites that are dedicated to infringing content for consumers in the UK. The code will accelerate the demotion of illegal sites following notices from rights holders, and establishes ongoing technical consultation, increased co-operation and information sharing to develop and improve on the process. It will also enable new practices to be adopted where needed”.

UK Music, of course, brings together the various music industry trade organisations, including the BPI, the indie sector’s AIM, the Music Publishers Association, the various bodies representing music creators and their managers, plus collecting societies PPL and PRS. Although the BPI has led on the voluntary code, UK Music has also been calling for search engines to do more to combat piracy, and has put pressure on government to force such an obligation on web firms if they don’t voluntarily step up their anti-piracy activity.

Welcoming the new voluntary code, UK Music boss Jo Dipple said yesterday: “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. Throughout Parliament’s consideration of the Digital Economy Bill, UK Music called for such a code of practice and for it to be enforceable. This is progress and all parties must work to ensure the code has effect. Government has a manifesto commitment to fulfil”.