Google Wants to Block Funds To Piracy Sites, In Talks With Visa, Mastercard And Paypal

20 February 2013, 9:27 am EST By Binu Paul email: Mobile & Apps

Google is closely working with payment companies, including Visa, Paypal and Mastercard, to prevent illegal piracy Web sites from receiving funds.

Under pressure to combat the spread of illegal websites, Google now looks to strike at the root cause rather than changing its own search results, The Telegraph reports. Google executives are in discussion with the payment companies so that it can stop the websites offering links to pirated films, music and books and from making money out of the illegal material.

"The plans, still in discussion, would also block funding to websites that do not respond to legal challenges, for example because they are offshore," the report said.

Google's radical move would not be the first of its kind to deprive business to such Web sites by blocking their source of cash. The controversial website WikiLeaks, headed by Julian Assange, was cut off from all donations after it released a series of classified documents including government secrets. The financial blockade was then imposed by the payment firms Visa, Paypal and Mastercard.

While the idea of blocking the cash flow for illegal Web sites is already popular in the book publishing, television, film and music industries, it would the first time Google is embracing the method.

Google is apparently cautious about the unintended consequences of such a move, as companies can use this to wipe out competition by accusing rivals of piracy to cut off their funds. However, the report said Google is hashing out details and could put the plan into action in the spring.

"Mastercard takes online safety and security seriously. We work closely with our part­ners to ensure the best possible experience when using elec­tronic payments," a Mastercard spokesman said to The Telegraph.

Google did not comment directly when BBC reached out for a confirmation that the search giant is holding discussions with payment companies; however, it stressed that the company has stepped up its efforts on piracy in the past year.

"Google has never worked harder to tackle piracy online," the company said in a statement released to BBC. "Last month alone we removed over 14 million links to pirated material. There are also huge and growing opportunities for content creators to make money online, which is why so many have signed up to Google Play and as YouTube partners," the statement said.

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