Search engines Google and Bing have signed up to an voluntary code of practice that will see links to piracy sites demoted from search results in the UK.
The agreement, signed with rights-holder partners British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Motion Picture Association (MPA), have been the result of intense pressure from the UK government, which has threatened to impose new regulations if the search engines did not "voluntarily" sign up to the new deal.
While Google has already been demoting piracy results with some success over the last few years, the new agreement would see the search engine, along with Microsoft's Bing, take more aggressive action that will ensures suspected piracy sites demoted in a more timely manner.
In addition to search results, autocomplete search terms (where search engines take a guess at what users are searching for as they're typing the search terms) will also be censored to remove any piracy related hints for searchers.
The UK government welcomed the signing of the voluntary agreement.
"Pirate sites deprive artists and rights holders of hard-earned income and I’m delighted to see industry led solutions like this landmark agreement which will be instrumental in driving change," said digital minister Matt Hancock.
BPI chief Geoff Taylor also welcomed the new development, and says that the new agreement "will not be a silver bullet fix, but it will mean that illegal sites are demoted more quickly from search results."
The MPA's Stan McCoy also expressed satisfaction with the agreement that was the result of intensive negotiations between search engines and rights-holders.
"Pirate websites are currently much too easy to find via search, so we appreciate the parties’ willingness to try to improve that situation," said McCoy.
These changes are set to take effect on July 1 this year.