Google and others agree to White House anti-piracy guidelines

AOL, Google, and Yahoo are among the companies that have signed on to a set of best practices guidelines intended to combat piracy. 

A woman walks past the Google offices near the city centre in Dublin, July 8, 2013.

A group of companies that includes AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google has signed on a set of anti-piracy guidelines established in cooperation with the White House.

Under the guidelines, the companies agree to respond promptly to complaints from copyright holders and remove any advertising content that has been proven to either violate a copyright or involve pirated/counterfeit goods. 

"This is an important step toward maintaining a healthy Internet and promoting innovation and protecting intellectual property," reads an excerpt from the guidelines. "These efforts should be undertaken in a manner that is consistent with all applicable laws and the balance of copyright interests, including fair use, and that respects privacy, free speech, and fair process." 

So how extensive is the piracy problem? Pretty extensive, it turns out. Consider the fact that in 2012 alone, Google shut down more than 82,000 accounts for "attempting to advertise counterfeit goods." In addition, the search giant says that it "disabled ad serving to 46,000 sites for violating our policies on copyright infringing content." 

But some doubt that the new guidelines will work. Over at PC World, Ian Paul points out that although Google and Yahoo have signed the agreement, plenty of other companies haven't. 

"The most prominent example would be the notorious BitTorrent-tracking site, The Pirate Bay," Mr. Paul writes. "An advertising-supported site, the Pirate Bay currently gets a large part of its advertising from – an ad network based in Spain, not associated with the ones participating in the new best practices agreement. So the effectiveness of this new takedown regime may be limited." 

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