Copyright cops kill Google pirate links

The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has launched an online anti-piracy campaign which it says is a benchmark for future initiatives.

The not-for-profit organisation - which protects the rights of software developers and is wholly owned by its members - piloted the campaign on behalf of Primal Images, a company which specialises in accurate 3D models of human anatomy mainly used for medical training.

FAST instigated a campaign in which forum postings and Google listings pointing to illegal download sources were removed in June this year.

“This was one of the most exciting initiatives we have launched in recent years, aimed at taking down listings on the web that claim to be selling legitimate software," said FAST boss John Lovelock. "Not only were we successful in taking down 63 from Google, we eradicated 41 forum postings and tackled a host of images containing infringing representations of the Primal product. So my message to the online infringers is this - we will find you and we will cut off the oxygen to your operations.”

The campaign used the existing removal process offered by Google to wipe out links to illegal download sites, torrents and forums which themselves link to dodgy downloads, a move which FAST reckons was a 100 per cent success.

The outfit then 'repopulated' the search engine's listings with legitimate links.

“Ultimately the purpose of this is to clean up the online sales environment enabling consumers to buy legitimate products,' said Peter Allan from Primal Pictures. "The overall result was to substantially change the first three pages of a Google search, by replacing infringing content with positive content from the rights holder."

Neither FAST or Primal Pictures have reported that the campaign has had any effect whatsoever on sales of the company's products.