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FAST welcomes Microsoft and Google moves against digital pirates

FAST has given the thumbs up to moves to make life harder for digital pirates but has called on more to be done to reduce the problem further

The days when you might have to go out of your way to stumble across illegal software at a car boot fair have long since been replaced by a couple of clicks on a website.

Online privacy of software, film and music seriously hurts the creative industries and denies the channel the chance to sell legitimate products.

Over the past few years there have been real efforts from the likes of the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) to get the government and search engine giants to do more to make it harder for online piracy to take place.

FAST has greeted the latest efforts by Google and Microsoft with a reminder that more needs to be done.

Google and Microsoft have signed up to a trial that will demote the ranking of websites that have been served with copyright infringement notices.

If they go down the search engine rankings it should be harder for users to find the sites and make it more difficult for the pirates to share their wares.

But FAST is arguing for more work to be done on increasing user awareness around the digital piracy issue.

“Google and Bing remain two of the most successful search engines and therefore naturally the sources where illegal content is found, so this move was expected," said Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Counsel at FAST.

"Whether on software or content, downloading non-genuine is simple and usually at zero cost which gives perpetrators an incentive to engage in this activity, possibly as a loss leader for other deeds," he added.

In the past firms including Google and Microsoft have been accused of turning a blind eye to the problem with the accusation they have been keener on keeping web traffic stats ticking over.

“The system remains one of reactive notice and takedown. Strides are still to be made and we focus on converting the customer who may be caught out looking for a good deal and wants to be a legitimate user," said Heathcote Hobbins.

"Perhaps a missing ingredient is action pioneered by the Government to work with the industry to develop and maintain a list of perpetrators who proliferate mass infringement," he added "We welcome the new code but also understand that there are further challenges with technology being misused by the deliberate pirate."

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