Microsoft will degrade websites that illegally offer music and movies in its Bing search engine to fight piracy. The measure should make sure users have a lower chance of ending up on websites that offer illegal movies and music. Much copyright infringing content is deleted through online ‘takedown notices’ but according to the software giant also voluntary measures from search engines are needed when takedowns are not effective.The company is looking for measures that solve the issues with copyright violations in an efficient, effective and scalable way. Therefore Microsoft has experimented with the Bing search engine and especially targeted users that searched for information on popular music and movie content. Websites that offered illegal content received a lower rating and were therefore less often found by users. Microsoft also experimented with the autosuggest and related search feature of Bing to make sure also these features didn’t sent users to websites that violate copyright laws.
According to Microsoft the results of the experiments are promising, especially for websites that receive a lot of takedown notices for copyright violations. During the experiment, Bing also didn’t suggest websites that offered illegal content in its related search and autosuggest feature. Microsoft argues that the quality of all search results for all its users have improved and will therefore implement the new measures in Bing for all users.
The effect of the measures on copyright violations obviously also depends on the market share of a search engine. Net Applications reports that Bing had a global market share of about 10% in May, this is third after the Chinese search engine Baidu (10.2%) and Google (68.5%).