A decision favoring the French music industry group, SNEP in its case against Google by the French Supreme court may require the latter to censor words such as ‘Torrent’, ‘RapidShare’ and ‘Megaupload’ from its instant and autocomplete services, reports TorrentFreak. The court, according to reports, is of the opinion that by not filtering terms such as those mentioned, Google 'facilitates copyright infringement.'
It all started in 2010, when SNEP set legal action running against Google, in an attempt to get it to filter the aforementioned terms from their instant and autocomplete services. According to reports, “SNEP argued that when users enter the name of popular artists into the search box, Google often adds piracy related keywords including ‘torrent’, ‘RapidShare’ and ‘MegaUpload’”. This, added SNEP implies that Google is 'facilitating piracy', and hence the group sought the censorship of the three terms. At the outset, SNEP lost the case in two lower courts. The group proceeded with it to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favour of SNEP, confirming that adding keyword filters 'are an appropriate measure to curb online piracy.'
Google ordered to make searching for words like 'torrent' more difficult
Importantly, the Court also added that although Google was not responsible for the infringments that happened elsewhere, on other websites, it does have a responsibility to 'make it more difficult for the public to “discover” unauthorized content.' By adding adequate filters for such keywords, Google would contribute towards preventing such infringments, added the Court. The case now awaits the final word of the Court of Appeal, where it has now been sent.
Last year we learnt that Google is working towards preparing a list of piracy-related keywords to delete from its auto-complete. Back then, reports had indicated that the search giant had been under pressure from Associations such as the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) and the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) to make such a move. For instance, the word “torrent” would not be included in any search string suggested by the search engine. However, Google hasn’t banned words such as “Pirate Bay”, which is the name a popular torrent site.
Recently there were also reports about a court in Japan asking Google to do away with their auto-complete function on Google Search, since it has been harming a user’s online reputation. According to reports, a Tokyo District court has accepted a petition filed someone who claims that typing his name on Google search has been throwing up search suggestions that link him to crimes he has no role in, harming his online reputation. He adds that the results generated by the search suggestions depict him in bad light. The petitioner’s lawyer, Hiroyuki Tomita was quoted as saying that the turn of events over the past few years has been affecting his client so much that he has been finding it difficult to find employment for himself.