Firstly we should point out that we found this information via FACT Mag, normally we would just retweet it, however it makes for compelling reading and we also had a few points of our own to raise…
Basically, despite’s Googles numerous claims over the years to be combatting online piracy the ‘Department for Culture Media and Sport’ in a recent report on examining the health of the UK’s creative economy has slammed its efforts, describing Google’s arguments as “flimsy” and their anti-piracy efforts as “derisorily ineffective.” One of Googles prime arguments for tackling piracy was that they had adapted their algorithm to reduce the copy write infringement rate for searches using the artist name and mp3. However the recent Government report suggest that the infringement rate is still 61%, only 2% lower than before.
As you will see from the exert below, the ‘Department for Culture Media and Sport’ is not pulling any punches, furthermore it concludes by asking the Government to consider how it might incentivise technology companies to hinder access via the internet to copyright infringing material. For us there are two key arguments that need to be considered, firstly it stands to reason that companies such as Google should just be able to remove these sites from their search engines. Such an undertaking would need considerable man power, and most likely a whole department, however when you consider that Google’s revenue in 2012 exceeded $50 Billion with profits over $10 Billion this doesnt seem unfeasible. Secondly the music industry needs to represent a united front in both lobbying for these changes whilst supporting a sustainable financial model for streaming services. Whilst streaming services in general represent a much lower income yield for units sold, when compared to physical media, it is clearly the future and therefore needs to be fully embraced. Undoubtedly the ease and comparative low cost of streaming services has played a major role in reducing piracy. Having said all this Piracy is never likely to be fully eradicated, but this report does suggest that there is considerable room for improvement.
Department for Culture Media and Sport
“We strongly condemn the failure of Google, notable among technology companies, to provide an adequate response to creative industry requests to prevent its search engine directing consumers to copyright-infringing websites. We are unimpressed by their evident reluctance to block infringing websites on the flimsy grounds that some operate under the cover of hosting some legal content. The continuing promotion by search engines of illegal content on the internet is unacceptable. So far, their attempts to remedy this have been derisorily ineffective.
“We do not believe it to be beyond the wit of the engineers employed by Google and others to demote and, ideally, remove copyright infringing material from search engine results. Google co-operates with law enforcement agencies to block child pornographic content from search results and it has provided no coherent, responsible answer as to why it cannot do the same for sites which blatantly, and illegally, offer pirated content.
“This headline figure sums up the inadequacy of Google’s response in the context of illegal downloading, though we acknowledge that is just one way in which music is now consumed online. Google cannot claim ignorance over the scale of illegal activity on the internet. At present, the BPI alone sends Google well in excess of 2 million notices per month relating to individual pages on sites which encourage and promote large scale copyright infringement…We further recommend that the Government consider how it might incentivise technology companies to hinder access via the internet to copyright infringing material”