In Many Cases, More Than 80% of an Artist’s Search Results are Still Infringing

Why raid MegaUpload, block the Pirate Bay, and endlessly pressure Grooveshark?

Isn’t Google – which is oftentimes getting licensed by the majors – the biggest problem of them all?

Just this week, label group IFPI shared this with Digital Music News.  It’s a search survey involving some of the most popular, highest-charting artists in the world.  Add ‘mp3’ to the search term, and this is what the infringing ratios looks like.

Infringing Results (Google) for:

Adele: 77%
LMFAO: 82%
Maroon 5:82%
Rihanna: 86%
Foster the People: 55%

So, why not just send endless takedown notices, and clean this picture up?  After all, these are major, multi-billion-dollar companies that will play by the DMCA rules, and major labels have (some) resources to do this.  Well, according to the IFPI, this is a rather hopeless pursuit.  “Mass numbers of takedown notices are sent to search engines each month asking them to delist links to non-legal content,” the group explained in its report.  “However, response times vary and delays still occur.”

But wait: it gets even more complicated than that.   Apparently there are limitations on how much takedown noticing you can do.  “There are also sometimes restrictions on the number of non-legal links that rights holders can notify.  These need to be removed, and search engines should take measures to prevent notified infringing links re-appearing in results.”

Beyond that, the IPFI wants more, including a clear delineation between legal and illegal results, or outright filtering.  And, part of the SOPA push involved pressuring search engines and payment providers to disconnect from infringing sources.  Which is one reason Google totally hated the idea.