The entertainment industry has a bone to pick with Google. They feel that the search engine directly aids in helping people pirate content on the Web. While there are some legitimately good ideas out there to compete with piracy, the entertainment industry seems content with just censoring the Web.
A future of Google censorship may be coming to France soon as the country’s Supreme Court recently ruled that Google can be required to censor search terms for words like “Torrent,” “RapidShare,” and “Megaupload.” The ban would see these words and others not return anything in Instant or Autocomplete searches.
Music industry group SNEP lost its two previous battles with Google at the lower court levels. It’s a surprise then that the Supreme Court would rule with SNEP instead. According to TorrentFreak, the Supreme Court used an article in the Intellectual Property Code that “allows courts to take almost any emergency measure to protect rightsholders.”
The court did say, however, that Google isn’t accountable for any piracy that may take place on the Web. They just feel that the search engine should make it harder for people to discover said content on the Web.
Google will be taking the case before the Appeals Court now for a final verdict. If the Appeals Court rules in SNEP’s favor, it could set a disastrous precedent in France and courts around Europe. European courts already feel that it’s perfectly fine to block Web sites on the IP level, but censoring search results is a whole new can of worms. It’s a slippery slope that could lead Europe to becoming more like China, a country that bans search results that put the state in a bad light.
Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how the Appeals Court decides this case. We’ll keep you updated on any further developments.