Google has announced changes to its search engine in an attempt to curb online piracy.
The company has long been criticised for enabling people to find sites to download entertainment illegally.
The entertainment industry has argued that illegal sites should be “demoted” in search results.
The new measures, mostly welcomed by music trade group the BPI, will instead point users towards legal alternatives such as Spotify and Google Play.
Google will now list these legal services in a box at the top of the search results, as well as in a box on the right-hand side of the page.
Crucially, however, these will be adverts – meaning if legal sites want to appear there, they will need to pay Google for the placement.
The BPI said that while it was “broadly” pleased with Google’s changes, it did not think sites should have to pay.
“There should be no cost when it comes to serving consumers with results for legal services,” a spokesman told the BBC.
“Instead we have urged Google to use the machine-readable data on the Music Matters website, which lists all services licensed in the UK, and to promote these legal services above illegal sites and results in their search, using appropriate weighting applied fairly and equally across services.”
Google has also added extra measures to doctor its search results so that links pointing to illegal content fall lower in results, with legal sites floating to the top.
The company has been doing this for several years, but now says it has “refined the signal” for detecting these links.
To coincide with the announcement, Google published a report into the measures it has put in place across its various websites.
SOURCE: Dave Lee