Every year the film and music industry loses millions to Internet piracy. Rather than pay for new songs or the latest film, many people will quite happily download something for free instead of paying for it. Some argue that this doesn’t affect the world’s most famous artists as they are already well enough established, while other argue that this is damaging to the entertainment industry as a whole, and especially damaging to new artists.
There have been many initiatives in the past to try and curb the rise in Internet piracy and the onus was once put on Internet Service Providers to contact customers if they were thought to be downloading music or films illegally, but now the attention is turning to search engines like Google.
A new report by David Cameron’s Intellectual Property Adviser, MP Mike Weatherley, is calling on Google to do more to prevent Internet piracy. Weatherley states that piracy is damaging to the growth of digital commerce and he wants the UK to be a leader when it comes to the protection of intellectual property rights,
As well as urging Google and other search engines to do their bit, Weatherley is also calling for consumers to be educated about the consequences of downloaded pirated materials; another measure could include removing sites that provide pirated material from the search results. Currently, Google will remove websites that infringe copyright when they are reported, but the company doesn’t actively search for infringing sites, and often won’t take down a site even if a court has issued an injunction against it.
The report by Weatherley has been welcomed by the BPI. Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, has also accused Google of not doing enough to prevent piracy. However, Google argues that it already has strong measures in place to try and stop piracy and it invests millions in anti-
“…Our research demonstrates that search engines play a role in inadvertently guiding at least some consumers towards illegal content. The search engines are well placed to be part of the solution. The Digital Entertainment Survey 2013 concluded that 65 per cent of pirates regularly use search engines to identify unlicensed content. Google on the other hand suggests that traffic from the major search engines accounts for just 13 per cent of traffic to unlicensed music sites. A variety of statistics can be reeled off in both directions. What everyone can agree on is that it is still very easy to find illegal content via a search engine.”