Google effort fails to curb music piracy

February 21, 2013
Google's revamping of its search formula last year has failed so far to live up to its promise of discouraging consumers from visiting illegal music websites, an industry group says.

Google's revamping of its search formula last year has failed so far to live up to its promise of discouraging consumers from visiting illegal music websites, an industry group says.

A report released this week by the said it found 's initiative announced last August to "demote" sites accused of appeared to be having little or no effect.

"We have found no evidence that Google's policy has had a demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy," said the RIAA report released Wednesday.

"These sites consistently appear at the top of Google's for popular songs or artists."

The RIAA said it analyzed "serial infringers" identified in Google's Copyright Transparency Report "were not demoted in any significant way in the search results and still managed to appear on page one of the search results over 98 percent of the time in the searches conducted."

It added that the questionable sites "consistently showed up in three to five of the top 10 search results."

"We recognize and appreciate that Google has undertaken some positive steps to address links to illegal music on its network," said RIAA general counsel Steven Marks.

"Unfortunately, our concludes that so far Google's pledge six months ago to demote pirate sites remains unfulfilled. Searches for popular music continue to yield results that emphasize illegal sites at the expense of legitimate services, which are often relegated to later pages. And Google's auto-complete function continues to lead users to many of those same illicit sites."

Responding to the RIAA, a Google spokesperson said, "We have invested heavily in copyright tools for content owners and process takedown notices faster than ever."

Google said that in the last month "we received more than 14 million copyright removal requests for Google Search, quickly removing more than 97 percent from search results."

Last August, Google said it was tweaking its to give higher priority to legal content and sink rankings for websites hit with piracy complaints, which focus on illegal copies of music, films and other content.

More than 200 "signals" are factored into Google's secret algorithm for determining what gets priority on results pages.

Explore further: EU looking carefully at Google allegations

Related Stories

EU looking carefully at Google allegations

July 7, 2010

(AP) -- The European Union's antitrust chief said Wednesday he is looking "very carefully" at allegations that Google Inc. unfairly demotes rivals' sites in search results.

Belgian newspaper: Google blocking us on searches

July 15, 2011

(AP) -- At least three Belgian newspapers are reporting Google is preventing their web sites from being found through its search engine as part of a legal fight accusing the American-based company of copyright infringement.

Google: Belgian papers to appear in searches again

July 18, 2011

(AP) -- Google began allowing the Web sites of French-language Belgian newspapers to appear in its search results again on Monday, saying it had obtained the papers' legal consent to do so without repercussions.

Google gives search results more room

November 7, 2012

Google began Tuesday serving up revamped search pages that give results more room by shifting the tools menu to the top of the screen.

Recommended for you

The ethics of robot love

November 25, 2015

There was to have been a conference in Malaysia last week called Love and Sex with Robots but it was cancelled. Malaysian police branded it "illegal" and "ridiculous". "There is nothing scientific about sex with robots," ...

Nevada researchers trying to turn roadside weed into biofuel

November 26, 2015

Three decades ago, a University of Nevada researcher who obtained one of the first U.S. Energy Department grants to study the potential to turn plants into biofuels became convinced that a roadside weed—curly top gumweed—was ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.