As of this morning (Friday, 15th November 2013), the all-time number of 'take-down' notices sent by BPI to Google - requesting them to remove URL links to copyright-infringing content, currently stands at 50,013,109.
BPI sent Google its first take-down notice less than two and a half years ago, in June 2011. The amount already sent in the last year is a massive 44,125,880. BPI's Anti-Piracy Unit (APU), headed by David Wood, has invested in making significant improvements to its web crawling infrastructure to allow this rapid increase in the volume of take-down notifications. The figure could be considerably higher if it were not for a 250,000 daily limit that Google places on the number of requests that can be submitted. Without this limit, the volume of infringing links identified and removed by BPI and other reporting organisations could rise substantially.
What is clear is that despite enormous efforts by creative businesses to use the take-down notice process to remove illegal content from Google's search index, so as to support the growth of a legal digital market for content, results for Google searches for music and other digital entertainment are often still dominated by illegal sites. BPI ran Google searches looking for mp3 downloads of each of the Official Charts Top 20 Singles and Top 20 Albums from the week commencing 3 November 2013. This revealed that on average 77 per cent of first page search results for singles and 64 per cent of first page search results for albums pointed to illegal sites.
In addition to Search Engine delisting, the BPI contributes to the International effort in removing infringing links at source, which is co-ordinated by The IFPI. So far this year, crawling tools written by members of BPI’s Anti-Piracy Unit have located over 12 million links to infringing content across a variety of sites, and these have been forwarded to the IFPI for inclusion in the notices to be sent.
Alongside its delisting activities and, tangentially, its work with the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), BPI also looks to restrict access to infringing sites by seeking Court Orders that direct Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to these sites accordingly. To date, twenty-five BitTorrent and Aggregator sites, which give large-scale access to copyright-infringing material, have been blocked in this way, including Pirate Bay, Kat, Fenopy, mp3skull and BeeMP3.
Calling on Google to be held to greater account for promoting copyright-infringing content ahead of legal sites, BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor, today said:
"Google leads consumers into a murky underworld of unlicensed sites, where they may break the law or download malware or inappropriate content, because it persistently ranks such sites above trusted legal services when consumers search for music to download. Google knows full well, from millions of notices and from court decisions, which sites are illegal. Yet it turns a blind eye to that information and chooses to keep on driving traffic and revenues to the online black market, ahead of legal retailers.
"It's time for Google to be held to the same standards of behaviour as everyone else. It has enormous power as a gatekeeper to the Internet. If it won’t choose to behave ethically and responsibly, it's time for Governments and regulators to take action."
Additional comments from across the creative community:
Crispin Hunt on behalf of the Featured Artists Coalition:
“A brilliant new band that I recently worked with has just been dropped by their label because their debut EP sold barely 4,000 copies. Yet the number one site on a Google Search for the same EP boasts of 23,000 illegal downloads…then directs me to an online brothel, next to an advert for Nissan as I rip the tunes. What more do I need to say?”
John F. Smith, General Secretary of the Musicians' Union and President of the International of Federation Musicians (FIM):
“The creative industries lose around 20 per cent of their revenue every year because of piracy and illegal downloading, and this has a knock-on effect on the future work opportunities available to MU members. Powerful organisations such as Google need to be fair to the individual creators and performers whose rights are being undermined by these illegal websites."
Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of the Publisher’s Association:
“It is hard to imagine any other area in which this blatant mis-direction of consumers would be tolerated. It’s just as if a high street store was routinely and knowingly displaying counterfeit goods alongside genuine ones. Publishers and readers have put up with this for long enough. We’ve asked nicely; Google have done nothing; Government surely now has to act.”
Chris Marcich, President and Managing Director (EMEA), MPA (Motion Picture Association):
“Search has become a highly valued, indeed essential, component of the daily lives of citizens. Search engines are the gateway to the Internet. That means they bear a responsibility to help ensure that audiences get the high-quality viewing experience they deserve. Search engines must take real action to stop directing consumers to infringing sites. In Europe, search and Google are synonymous. As such Google has a special responsibility to be more responsible than it is today as to how it instructs its mighty algorithm.” - See more at: http://www.recordoftheday.com/news-and-press/bpi-sends-50-millionth-takedown-request-to-google#sthash.Uwzd9ZdD.dpuf