Google ordered to censor piracy search terms in France

/ 4 years ago

Google always seems to find itself victim to the censorship requirements of the hundreds of nations it operates in. In France a 2010 court case started by the French recording industry group SNEP took legal action in an attempt to get Google to censor terms like “torrent,” “Rapidshare” and “Megaupload” from Google’s auto complete feature.

This move was taken in most countries over a year ago, notably the U.S.A and the UK. Auto complete tries to predict your search in real-time and provides suggested queries, while Instant automatically displays predicted results as you type. In both cases, organizations like SNEP argue that Google aids piracy.

The French recording industry group SNEP argues when typing in one of their artists’ name the auto complete often suggests piracy related terms first making it easy for people to access illegal content.

SNEP failed to convince two French lower courts but succeeded in the country’s Supreme Court, which ruled that censoring keywords is a realistic approach to reducing online piracy.

Luckily for Google the Court determined that Google can’t be held liable for infringements that occur on sites listed in its search results but it believes the company has a responsibility to make it tougher for users to discover illegal material.

Filtering search terms like “pirate bay” often lowers the number of times the word is searched but the Pirate Bay has suffered very little in terms of traffic coming from Google.