Strategies for Implementing Effective De-listing/De-indexing Technical Measures against Copyright Infringement in Emerging Countries


HKUST IEMS Academic Seminar
James Kwok (HKUST)
Tuesday 24 May 2016 at 4:00 - 5:00 pm (Hong Kong time, GMT +8)
IAS2042, 2/F, Lo Ka Chung Building, Lee Shau Kee Campus, HKUST


Key insights

As emerging markets such as China, India, and Vietnam rapidly connect their vast populations to the internet, illegal downloads of copyrighted materials such as software, movies, and music has experienced a correspondingly dramatic increase. As digital copyright infringement becomes more pervasive in developing economies, policymakers wanting to fight against such infringement can adopt search engine de-listing policies, effectively allowing copyright holder to take down links to websites featuring infringing materials from the world’s most popular search engines such as Google, Baidu, and Bing.

The issue of copyright infringement in emerging market countries is exacerbated by multiple factors, including weak enforcement and unavailability of legitimate copies of digital goods. Associate Professor of Information Systems, Business Statistics, and Operations at HKUST James Kwok examined digital copyright infringement in developing economies, proposing cost-effective ways to combat copyright infringement through the use of search engine de-listing policies.

In exploring the best ways to delist infringing materials from search engines, Prof Kwok picked 4 movies in 2 emerging market countries, Hungary and Thailand, and analyzed the publicly-available Google search engine data for searches of copyright infringing materials for each movie as requested by users in each country. Moreover, Prof Kwok narrowed search engine data analysis to a time frame surrounding each movie’s theatrical release date and DVD release date.

Prof Kwok found two peaks of searches for copyright infringing digital media, specifically during the month of a given movie’s theatrical release date and during the month of its later DVD release date. Accordingly, he contends that by de-listing infringing search engine results during these months of peak searching for infringing material, movie piracy could be considerably reduced without resorting to a more disruptive longer de-listing window. 


The digital entertainment industries, in particular movie, are blooming in emerging markets. However, illegal downloads of movies are constantly on the rise as well. Copyright infringement impacts movie industry significantly. The USA and UK adopt the technical measure of de-listing/de-indexing to combat copyright infringement on the Internet. Delisting/de-indexing aims at stopping users from knowing the website address (in terms of URL) of infringing media through search engines by removing those sites from the search results or indexes. As proven by the French experience, the de-listing/de-indexing is an efficient way for policy makers to combat copyright infringement. It seems that leading entertainment companies are keen to adopt this measure in protecting the copyright of their digital media.

In this seminar, we will define an effective de-listing/de-indexing measure to be the one that can remove infringing materials from search engines in a timely manner, and we will introduce strategies for implementing the effective de-listing/de-indexing measure in protecting the copyright of digital media for emerging countries.

About the Speaker

James S. H. Kwok is an Associate Professor of Business Education in the department of information Systems, Business Statistics, and Operations at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). James joined HKUST in 1997 as Assistant Professor, and joined California State University, Long Beach in 2004 as Associate Professor. James returned to HKUST as Adjunct Associate Professor in 2005. He has published in more than 60 journal and conference papers. His research areas include digital rights management, digital watermarking techniques, computer security, and hacking techniques.

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