Typically, Google gets pirated content sites out of the search index when companies file a DMCA — numerous pirate sites have already been removed from the index due to webmaster guideline violations. However, a group of some companies, distributors and producers in France took Google and other search engines to court in order to see the search engines remove a group of pirate sites from the index permanently.
Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo must now block the group of sites from the search results for users in France, and multiple ISPs have also been told they must also prevent to their Internet users from accessing those sites. All told, there were 16 different video streaming sites involved in this court case, including:
- Fifostream.com; Fifostream.org; Fifostream.net; Fifostream.tv; Fifostreaming.com; Fifostreaming.org; Fifostreaming.net; Fifostreaming.tv.
The case was first brought by a group of over 120 companies back in December 2011, including a group representing both Sony and Paramount. La Fédération Nationale des Distributeurs de Films, Syndicat de l’Edition Vidéo Numérique, the Union of Film Producer and the Union of Independent Producers also joined the fight.
Google responded to the ruling to say it was disappointed. It is unclear if Google plans to remove the pirate sites from all their search results, or simply the ones geo-targeted to users in France. The search engines and ISPs have two weeks to implement the changes.
It is not all bad news for the search engines, as in addition to having the sites removed from the search results, the plaintiffs also wanted the defendants to cover the legal expenses. This was not included in the ruling.