Major rightsholders and internet companies in Russia have signed a new memorandum of cooperation designed to make pirated movies, TV shows and other content harder to find. In addition to automatically removing reported infringing links within hours, search engines have agreed to completely deindex all domains that carry 100 or more links to infringing content.
Tackling sites that mass distribute links to infringing content is a time-consuming activity for rightsholders. Many feel there should be greater cooperation from the tech sector to lighten the load and in Russia, that certainly appears to be happening.
Signed in 2018, a memorandum of cooperation signed by major rightsholders and internet companies including Yandex changed the way infringing content is handled.
Following the creation of a centralized database of pirated content, the Internet companies agreed to query it every few minutes in order to remove corresponding content from their platforms within six hours. Over a period of three years, more than 40 million infringing links have now been removed from search results.
Since its introduction, the memorandum has been renewed several times alongside calls for the system to be opened up to a wider range of rightsholders, such as those operating in the publishing sector. While that is yet to happen, a new memorandum has just been signed by the original signatories containing an even more powerful anti-piracy tool.
Search Engines Agree to Deindex Entire Domains
Under the current agreement (which is set to expire early September 2022), rightsholders must submit specific URLs to infringing content to the centralized database controlled by the Media Communications Union (ISS). These specific URLs are then delisted by search engines but rightsholders complain that the same content can reappear under a new URL, meaning that the process must be repeated.
To deal with this type of ‘pirate’ countermeasure, the new memorandum requires search companies to take more stringent action. Any domain that has 100 or more ‘pirate’ links reported to the database will be deindexed entirely by search engines, meaning that they essentially become invisible to anyone using a search engine. This must be carried out quickly too, within 24 hours according to ISS.
Given the number of links to infringing content posted to non-pirate sites, safeguards will also be introduced to protect legitimate resources from deindexing. These include media sites, government projects, search engines themselves, social networks, and official content providers.
“Removing the domains of malicious pirate sites from search results will be a major breakthrough in the fight against digital piracy, which will significantly optimize the costs of copyright holders to protect their rights and will contribute to the growth of legal video consumption,” says Mikhail Demin, President of the Media Communications Union.
Rightsholders Want New Memorandum Written Into Law
Alongside the development of the memorandum a new law is being drafted, with the aim of enshrining its voluntary terms into local law. That should allow other rightsholders that aren’t current signatories to obtain similar benefits. At the time of writing, however, progress on the legal front is taking its time and might still take a few more months.
“The validity of the current version of the Memorandum has been extended until September 1, 2022, and we very much hope that by that time a law will be adopted to consolidate the provisions of the Memorandum,” Demin says.
“The application of the updated version of the agreement will begin immediately after the adoption and entry into force of the law based on the provisions of the Memorandum. We are sure that due to the constructive dialogue that has developed on the ISS site, the industrial community will be able to offer many more effective anti-piracy initiatives.”
The current memorandum participants are as follows:
JSC “Channel One”
JSC Gazprom-Media Holding
JSC National Media Group
Association of Film and Television Producers
Association “Internet Video”
LLC GPM Partner
Animated Film Association