Russia has passed legislation to force companies like Google to remove pirate search results.
Copyright holders across the world believe that conventional search engines like Google are a big contributor to piracy. Prospective pirates use their engines to find the bittorrent trackers that are then used to illegally download movies, software and music. Copyright holders have been able to combat the issue by sending out takedown notices that ask the search engines to remove sites from their indexing (Google receives million of such notices). However, rightsholders have long claimed that this is inefficient, and that a lot of pirate sites still end up in the first few pages of Google results.
Most countries are grappling with the issue, trying to decide how far to push the search engines, but now, Russia has taken the next step. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev submitted a draft bill to the Russian Parliament that would force search engines from removing certain piracy sites from their results completely. The bill was drafted by the Russian Ministry of Communications and will compel companies like Google and local giant Yandex to de-index sites that repeatedly ignore takedown requests, potentially as little as two times.
One example is the huge bittorrent tracker RuTracker, which is currently blocked from ISPs following an order from Moscow’s City Court. RuTracker was told to remove 320,000 illegal torrents to avoid being banned but following a poll on their site, decided to refuse. The refusal has lead to the site being permanently blocked from access in Russia, and if the new law passes, even search engine results would be removed. The bill also targets sites which attempt to circumvent ISP blocks.
The bill was approved at a February 17 meeting at parliament and will now pass through various government channels before becoming law.