Despite the growing availability of legal music services in many countries, record labels are facing a constant stream of pirated music.
In an attempt to prevent these infringements, BPI and other music industry groups send millions of takedown notices to Internet services every month.
Although several major search engines are targeted, most of these requests are directed at Google. The numbers are quite staggering, and over the past few hours UK music industry group BPI hit a new milestone.
BPI just crossed the mark of 250,000,000 reported links, and is currently adding nearly three million new ones every week.
The majority of these allegedly copyright infringing URLs have been removed from Google’s search results. While this usually happens in a matter of hours, the music group believes that more should be done to address the underlying problem.
“Consumers are still too often directed towards the online black market when they search online for entertainment, rather than to legal services that reward artists and creators,” BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor informs TorrentFreak.
“The fact the BPI alone has now sent a quarter of a billion notices to Google to remove search results directing consumers to illegal copies of music – and almost as many again to Bing – demonstrates that there is a major problem underlying the UK digital economy,” he adds.
Copyright holder groups and search engines have organized several roundtable discussions in an attempt to find new solutions, but thus far without a satisfactory result for both sides.
In recent years Google has introduced a variety of tweaks and changes to the way its search engine operates. It downranks sites for which it receives a lot of takedown requests, for example. Similarly, it actively promotes legal content in search results.
However, BPI and other rightsholders would like search engines to go even further, by delisting pirate sites in their entirety or making sure that pirated content can’t simply reappear under a new URL.
Google is not willing to go this far, as it may lead to over-blocking and other problems, which has brought both camps to a stalemate.
BPI hopes that the UK Government can help to break this impasse. Lawmakers are currently working on a new and revised version of the Digital Economy Bill which could be used to address the search issue, by demanding a proactive stance from Google, Bing and others.
“The Digital Economy Bill which is before Parliament represents a real opportunity for Government to back the creative businesses that provide millions of UK jobs, by insisting that search engines put in place an effective Code of Practice to address this problem,” Taylor says.
While the search issue has been brought up in the recent discussions in parliament, there is no search engine related language in the current form of the bill. So for now, BPI has to keep adding to the quarter billion URLs they have targeted already, onto the next milestone.