The following statement comes from British label group BPI, which just issued its 50 millionth infringing takedown notice to Google.
“BPI has, on behalf of its label members, now sent its 50 millionth notice to Google asking for the removal of illegal links in Google search results.
As of 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, stood at 50,013,109.
Google’s Transparency Report confirms this. BPI is the first organisation worldwide to cross this threshold. Other major reporting organisations are DEGBAN (an anti-piracy unit primarily focused on adult content) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
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) 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.”