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 No more file-sharing sites? Google looses major court battle.

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Psikyo Fox
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PostSubject: No more file-sharing sites? Google looses major court battle.   Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:16 am

Google has lost a landmark case after
France’s Supreme Court ruled that the
search engine must filter automatically
suggested links to sites that offer
pirated content. The ruling may open up
the floodgates for more search
restrictions.
The case was initiated by French
copyright group SNEP back in 2010. It
concerns Google's Autocomplete and
Instant features, which automatically
suggest websites based on the first few
letters typed into the Google search line.
SNEP claimed the feature was directing
users towards illegal content, even if the
searchers did not actively pursue it.
Among the examples are torrent
providers, such as The Pirate Bay, and
Internet file hosting services like
Rapidshare and Megaupload.
A lower court did not initially rule in favor
of SNEP, but France’s top judicial
authority, the Court de Cassation, said
the copyright group was entitled to use
“all measures to prevent or stop such an
attack on copyright or related rights.”
“This decision, showing that search
engines should be responsible for
regulating the Internet, is a first in
France,” said a statement from David El
Sayegh, the CEO of SNEP.
Incidentally, Google has itself voluntarily
blacklisted file-sharing sites from being
automatically suggested since the end
of last year. Although the system is
imperfect, it broadly complies with the
principles demanded by SNEP.
Google said it was dismayed by the
ruling, and claimed there was no criminal
intent behind the operation of its
Autocomplete and Instant products.
"Google Autocomplete algorithmically
returns search queries that are a
reflection of the search activity of all web
users,” said a statement from the
company.
Although the consequences of the
decision will likely be minor, several
Internet portals have expressed concern
that intellectual property companies will
now use search engines as their next
weapon in the battle against piracy.
Experts also noted that the censorship
concerns sites that are not officially
illegal or responsible for pirated content.
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