Google May One Day Face Lawsuit From Music Industry

    February 16, 2012

The entertainment industry doesn’t like search engines. They may take that dislike to the next level soon.

TorrentFreak is reporting that IFPI wants Google to play nice with the entertainment industries by removing “pirate” Web sites from search results and giving preference to legal options.

We reported last month that Google and other search engines met behind closed doors with the entertainment industry. The meeting provided the entertainment industry a chance to lay out what they felt search engines should be doing to better combat piracy.

There’s a document being shared among those in the music industry that details IFPI’s option to sue Google if the search engine doesn’t step up its game on enforcing copyright. The document, with bits and pieces obtained by TorrentFreak, detail the continuing efforts by IFPI and the RIAA to negotiate better anti-piracy practices with Google. It’s interesting to note that Google has apparently provided IFPI with tools that allow them to mark search terms as infringing.

Using the tool, IFPI marked 460,000 search results between August and December of last year. They also requested the shut down of Blogger sites that contained infringing content.

It already seems like Google is bending over backward to provide IFPI with the tools to stop piracy, but it just is never enough. IFPI is considering bringing a lawsuit against Google because they fail to prioritize legal links over infringing links.

To play devil’s advocate for a moment, IFPI does have a legitimate complaint. Searching “Adele download” on Google returns only two legitimate links with the rest being links to The Pirate Bay, filestube and other free MP3 sites.


Notice how the search was not for “Free Adele download” which funny enough returns the same links that only replaces iTunes with an Amazon link to a free Adele track that was given out as a promotion.


Of course, I guess IFPI doesn’t care that the bottom half of the search page is just plastered with DMCA takedown notices. It’s also worth noting that there are two more takedown notices under “Adele download” for whatever reason.


If Google doesn’t filter their search results to give priority to legal music sites, IFPI may file an antitrust lawsuit against the search engine. The document details this option:

“With a view to addressing this failure, IFPI obtained a highly confidential and preliminary legal opinion in July 2011 on the possibility of bringing a competition law complaint against Google for abuse of its dominant position, given the distortion of the market for legitimate online music that is likely to result from Google’s prioritizing of illegal sites.”

It’s hard to say whether a lawsuit will happen, but big things will happen if it does. How big? Let’s imagine a David and Goliath scenario except there is no underdog. They will both have tactical lawyers just waiting to rip each other a new one in a court of law. There’s been fights between the technology and entertainment industries before, but going against Google would be something new.

Let’s hope nothing comes out of it, but bust out the Michael Jackson eating popcorn gif if it does.