The government has written to Google, Microsoft and Yahoo urging them to be more proactive in removing links to sites hosting illegal material, and has warned that unless more is done legal measures could be introduced forcing them to do so.
In a speech delivered to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) culture secretary Sajid Javid revealed that letters had been sent to search giants, signed by himself and business secretary Vince Cable, calling for more to be done to halt the scourge of copyright infringers.
“Of course, it’s not just up to the government and music industry to deal with this issue. Let me be absolutely clear: the search engines also have to play their part. They must step up and show willing,” he said.
“That’s why Vince Cable and I have written to Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, asking them to work with you to stop search results sending people to illegal sites. And let me be perfectly clear: if we don’t see real progress, we will be looking at a legislative approach.”
Javid said that technology companies should be willing to play their part in the fight against online copyright theft as they, along with the government and the music industry, “are three sides of the same triangle.”
Microsoft confirmed to V3 that it had received the letter, but did not issue any response to the demands.
Yahoo said it is reviewing the letter in conjunction with Microsoft, as it uses the firm's Bing search engine for its services:
"Yahoo takes the issue of piracy very seriously. We have a long standing policy to respond swiftly and within the scope of the law to any known cases of copyright infringement," it added.
Google declined to comment.
The government's move follows on from a scheme launched earlier this year alongside internet service providers (ISPs) called Creative Content UK, designed to alert persistent copyright infringers they are breaking the law.
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