Never ones to shy away from shooting at a bolted horse, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) are calling for a reform in Google’s approach to ‘notice and takedown’ procedures. In a bid to support the legal music market, the BPI have been notifying Google of links to illegal music since 2011, aiding the subsequent removal of these links from Google searches.
However, the removed search results are often substituted with replacement illegal links, a move that the BPI say can only be tackled by search engine’s adoption of a “notice and stay down” policy.
This would essentially mean that once a link has been removed from search results, it cannot be indexed again for the same website.
Chief Executive of the BPI Geoff Taylor said: “The notice and take-down system, as currently structured, cannot represent an effective response to piracy and requires urgent reform. Internet intermediaries like search engines clearly need to take more active responsibility to stop directing business to the black market”.
Taylor continued: “We are calling on Google and Bing to show their undiluted commitment to artists and the creative process by implementing a more pro-active solution to illegal sites appearing in search results. This will avoid the cost for both of us in dealing with hundreds of repeated notices for the same content on the same illegal sites”.
As part of a Government roundtable on the issue, the BPI has proposed measures including a lower threshold for the number of notices required to ‘de-rank’ an illegal website in search engine results and improving the discoverability of legitimate digital retail sites to help consumers find legal content.
The Gen would have estimated that Google would be all about groovy notions such as ‘discoverability’ but a spokesperson said: “We’ve reviewed more than 80 million alleged links to pirated content in the last month alone, and we have refined our algorithm to demote sites that receive high numbers of copyright takedown requests. But search is not the primary problem – all traffic from major search engines accounts for less than 16% of traffic to sites like The Pirate Bay”.
In other words, ‘Don’t shoot me, I’m only the piano player’!
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