In a press release today, the British Phonographic Industry (the UK's recorded music trade association) and the Motion Picture Association announced that an agreement has been inked with Microsoft and Google to demote piracy search results on their respective search engines, in the United Kingdom.
The BPI calls the deal a "first-of-its kind initiative aimed at reducing the availability of infringing content accessed through online search" and points out the result of it is the creation of a voluntary code of practice for search results (referred to as "the Code"). This will run in parallel with existing anti-piracy measures, such as court ordered site blocking, working with brands to reduce advertising on illegal sites, and the Get it Right from a Genuine Site consumer education program.
The UK's Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Matt Hancock remarked on the matter:
We are one of the world’s leading digital nations, and we have a responsibility to make sure that consumers have easy access to legal content online. Pirate sites deprive artists and rights holders of hard-earned income and I’m delighted to see industry led solutions like this landmark agreement which will be instrumental in driving change.
As we build a more global Britain we want the UK to be the most innovative country to do business, and initiatives like this will ensure our creative and digital economies continue to thrive.
The Code, which was agreed upon on February 9, comes into force immediately, and emphasizes both Microsoft and Google's commitment to demote results pointing to copyright infringing sites in the United Kingdom by June 1, 2017.