Slowly but steadily various entertainment industry groups are applying increasing pressure on Google. Previously the movie industry and record labels have highlighted that Google has a significant stake in pointing the public to pirate sites, and they are now joined by News Corp.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation spin-off owns various major newspapers and also has a significant stake in Foxtel, the Australian pay television network which airs the heavily pirated Game of Thrones series.
News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson says its a thorn in the side of the company that hundreds of thousands of Australians pirate the popular TV-show, instead of buying a Foxtel subscription. With the piracy numbers increasing year-after-year it’s now time for action, and Thomson believes that Google should step up its efforts.
“For a company to have a sophisticated algorithm that knows exactly where you are and what you’re doing and maintains ignorance on piracy is an untenable contradiction,” Thomson said in an interview with The Australian.
Thomson notes that Google could easily demote links to pirate sites in their search results, and eventually remove these sites altogether. Implementing these anti-piracy algorithms would be a significant step to address the ongoing piracy problems.
“There’s no doubt that search giants need to be held to account. It’s obvious that it is illegal content or content accessed illegally,” Thomson says.
Thomson is backed by Foxtel chief executive Richard Freudenstein, who sees no excuses for the rising piracy rates now that they’ve made the show available in a timely manner.
“We made Game of Thrones available at a good price on Foxtel Play and yet it was still heavily illegally downloaded. The longer this goes on the more people don’t seem to think of it as theft which is what it is,” Freudenstein says.
The good price Foxtel’s boss is referring to is roughly $500 USD to access the fourth season of Game of Thrones, or $50 USD per episode. Needless to say, this is still rather expensive for the average teenager.
Thus far Google has taken some steps to address the piracy issue, but the search giant refuses to remove entire domains from its search results without proper takedown notices.
Contrary to Foxtel and News Corp, Google previously advised the Australian Government not to implement draconian ant-piracy legislation. According to Google piracy is mostly an availability and pricing problem, which is best tackled with innovation instead of legislation.
“We believe there is significant, credible evidence emerging that online piracy is primarily an availability and pricing problem. We would encourage the Government to promote new business models and a free marketplace for legal purchasing of content,” Google noted.