Google May Be Ordered To Censor ‘Torrent,’ ‘Rapidshare,’ ‘MegaUpload’

Google has been dealt a major blow in its case against the music industry group SNEP, according to TorrentFreak. After the group lost their case in two lower courts, the French Supreme Court ruled last week that Google may have to censor the search terms “Torrent,” “Rapidshare,” and “MegaUpload” from its AutoComplete and Instant features.

SNEP initiated legal action against Google in early 2010 in an effort to remove certain terms from those two services. The group argued that by adding piracy-related keywords to searches for popular artists Google is helping facilitate piracy. The courts rejected those claims, and a 2011 appeal failed to change the decision.

According to Music Week, the Court de Cassation ruled that the Court of Appeal violated a key clause of the country’s intellectual property law in its interpretation of legal arguments.

The Court also said societies like SNEP are within their rights to demand courts take “all measures to prevent or stop such an attack on copyright or related rights.”

The Court acknowledged that Google is not responsible for infringements that take place on other websites, but also said Google has a responsibility to make it more difficult for the public to “discover” unauthorized content. The case has been sent back to the Court of Appeal for a final decision.

CEO of SNEP David El Sayegh said, “This decision, showing that search engines should be responsible for regulating the internet, is a first in France.”

Google has been filtering “piracy-related” terms from its Autocomplete and Instant services worldwide for more than a year. Users who search terms like “torrent” and “RapidShare” will find that no suggestions or search results appear before they type in the full word.

So far, Google hasn’t removed any content from its search results.