Google may soon stop showing torrent links in search results

In its effort to curb online piracy, Google and other search engines are reportedly in talks with authorities to reduce the discoverability of Torrent websites.

One of the biggest downfalls for the entertainment industry is piracy. Time and again production houses and people from the industry have held search engines such as Google accountable for the ease in searching for torrents. In its latest effort to curb the practice, Google has reportedly decided to ban torrent site links from its search results.

The internet is flooded with such websites and portals which promote piracy and offer content, including movies, shows, and music, from which the entertainment industry earns. When such content is made freely available to users, it in turn impacts the revenue of the industry and is also in violation of the copyright and intellectual property rights of those behind the creation of the content. While there are trove of such websites, it is believed that through search engines such as Google, these websites are easily discoverable, thereby promoting piracy.

To take on these websites, Google and other search companies are reportedly in talks with entertainment companies to sign a voluntary agreement which will curb the appearance of links to such websites which are in infringement. A report on TF notes that following the discussions chaired by UK’s Intellectual Property Office, it is understood that the agreement should take effect by June 1, 2017.

However, as the agreement is still not finalized, it is expected that the government could impose a stricter code of practice on search engines, compelling them to deal with infringement.

It isn’t the first time that Google has been embroiled into controversies around Torrent websites. In 2016, Google had received over a billion takedown requests for removing links which infringed upon the copyright content. In the same year, two of the major torrent players – Kickass Torrents and search engine Torrentz – were banned in India. While the takedown left torrent users upset, it brought in a much-needed relief to original content creators as the viewers were forced to switch to legal video streaming. However, soon after the takedown, other alternative websites popped up making the whole drill of particularly taking down torrent websites a futile attempt.

Every year the industry loses billions owing to online piracy. Game of Thrones, which is one of the most popular and widely watched HBO original series, has been recorded as the most illegally downloaded show for the fifth consecutive year in 2016. As the series is originally telecast over the weeks, given the gripping nature of the storyline, viewers find it difficult to hold their patience and hence move to alternative sources to download it illegally and watch it.

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