Feeds

Copyright Kitemark plan flutters aloft

Just click the skull and crossbones icon for free tunes

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

We first revealed a cunning plan to persuade search engines to "kitemark" serial pirate music websites back in April. Now the Performing Rights Society, which hatched the idea, has talked about it publicly for the first time. The PRS calls it "traffic lights", and the idea is that search engines flag known and persistent copyright infringement enablers in their results pages.

The idea has won some support, and a sympathetic hearing from Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. Vaizey is keen on self-regulation and would be delighted if the web-blocking clauses in the Digital Economy Act, particularly Clause 17, are quietly forgotten. An industry agreement would allow this to happen. But Vaizey can't understand why Google refuses to even flag infringers, and made pointed criticism of the search giant's representative on Earth (one Sarah Hunter) in closed-door meetings, according to several sources. The more hardcore copyright groups want web-blocking one way or another – it's already on the statute book, remember, but an industry agreement would supersede Clause 17.

"We're not trying to stop people, this isn't a legal action, this isn't site-blocking," PRS chief executive Robert Ashcroft told the BBC. "This is an information to consumers and I think that many people want to do the right thing."

Some don't, and for them, the big red icon will soon mean "Get your free music here". But as Ashcroft puts it, that's not the target audience. The idea is the non-tech majority will think twice about clicking the link if they believe the action has consequences. And the "consequences" part is to be dealt with by measures as yet unknown. In any case, dedicated downloaders of unlicensed material probably don't need a search engine to find it in the first place.

Google has already made minor concessions, by removing pirate sites from its instant search results and search suggestions, as a tactical concession. But it is holding out against content adjudication – that's a step into editorial territory it doesn't want to take. And anti-virus vendors are unlikely to want to move further into censorware territory.

Readers with very long memories may recall El Reg was once blocked by a filtering software company when it didn't like our stories. So you may guess our views on the matter. But Google's critics say that it's making editorial judgments all the time, such as when it decides that websites don't add value. It summarily executed several million .co.cc websites earlier this month on the subjective judgment that it thought a lot of sites there were too spammy.

If that isn't editorial judgment, it's hard to think what is. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.