The French Supreme Court
has ruled that Google
should censor words related to piracy from its Instant and Autocomplete search services. The court ruled in favour of the Music industry group SNEP
that words such as ‘torrent’, ‘rapidshare’ and ‘megaupload’ should be blocked from appearing as part of these services.
This request was previously declined by a lower court, which stated that these links did not constitute infringement of copyright in and of themselves. The Supreme Court overturned this decision stating that the relief sought by the group was likely to prevent or partially stop infringements. While Google cannot be held responsible for people downloading illegal content, the Supreme Court ruled that it should be made difficult for users to be able to access illegal content.
A spokesperson for Google said that the company was disappointed with the ruling. A statement read, “Google takes online copyright very seriously, and we will keep working with content creators in order to help them reach new audiences online and protect against piracy.” Google has come under fire from the entertainment industry in the past, especially after its takeover of YouTube. In 2010, the company outlined its commitment
to copyright and the protection of content creators. Included in this statement was a section on preventing terms associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete. However, Senior Vice President & General Counsel at Google, Kent Walker
, said at the time that it is hard to know which terms are actually being used to find pirated material. Now it has been explicitly outlined what terms are to be blocked from appearing through this service.
This is the latest development in an ongoing battle against piracy, but it’s unlikely to be the last. Interestingly, while BitTorrent won’t be autocompleted by Google, popular torrent client BitComet will be.