The MPAA, RIAA Target Google AgainBy: Chris Richardson - September 18, 2013
By now, it’s pretty clear the governing bodies behind the entertainment industry will not be happy unless Google turns over their search engine index over to the RIAA and the MPAA, allowing them to remove whatever infringing content they see fit. With that in mind, imagine using a search engine that’s been sanitized by these entities. Every first-page result would be geared toward directing users to sites where they can spend money on entertainment content, and YouTube would probably be demoted to results pages that normally go unseen by the public.
The latest misguided attempt to blame Google for not singlehandedly eliminating piracy from the world, thanks to the power of their infringement enabling search engine. As pointed out by TechDirt, the latest attack comes in the form of a two-pronged approach by the MPAA and the RIAA.
The MPAA’s salvo comes in the form of a new study, one that appears to have doubters within the study itself. While the results haven’t been made public, TechDirt has apparently seen it, and offers the following criticism:
Amusingly, even the MPAA’s own “talking points” on the study (which a friendly bird in Congress passed along) more or less admit that the study is incredibly weak.
Without seeing these statements, confirmation of their intent is impossible, but further data in the study certainly gives that point of view legs to stand on:
The key number, which the MPAA does its best to bury is that search engines “influenced” only 20% of the times when consumers accessed infringing content.
So the very search engine the MPAA is railing against only influences 20 percent of Internet piracy? If these are truly the results of the MPAA’s study, one would think they would alter their approach. Alas, no. The MPAA appears as if its prepared to go down with this sinking ship, something the following quote from the aforementioned talking points reveals quite clearly:
Search engines bear a huge responsibility for introducing people to infringing content.
The MPAA’s study falls further on its face when it contradicts itself with the following revelation:
Take Google’s algorithm change as an example — they held this up last summer as a step that would have meaningful impact and unfortunately we see in the data here that it hasn’t.
So even after Google implemented the changes suggested by these entities, it didn’t completely eliminate infringing sites from Google’s index; and this is somehow Google’s fault, even though they complied with the suggested algorithm alterations? And then there’s the Google transparency report system that removes infringing content on a regular basis. Nevertheless, that’s not enough for the MPAA, and so, they commissioned another “Piracy will destroy everything” study.
As for the RIAA’s attempt to pin the tale on Google, they went before Congress to seemingly single Google out. The statement that stood out, as highlighted by TechDirt:
If ISPs can be considered the gateway by users to rogue sites online, search engines may be considered the roadmaps or, more directly, the turn-by-turn directions and door-to-door service to these sites. There can be no doubt that search engines play a considerable role in leading users to illicit services and can be a key part of addressing infringing activity online.
Actually, as the MPAA study shows, there can be plenty of doubt; unless, of course, 20 percent is really something to waste the public’s time over. In other news, who knew music piracy was still a thing?[Lead image courtesy]