BPI: “Google Knows Full Well… Which Sites Are Illegal, and Which Are Not”

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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.”


41 Responses

  1. TuneHunter

    Google loves advertising icome from FREE or Veevoo Free MUSIC.
    Free books are next – watch out Amazon and the book authors!

    • Anonymous

      “Free books are next – watch out Amazon and the book authors!”

      Google has stolen books for years.

      • TuneHunter

        Sorry, the biggest advertising dilution of forced “total access” is in front of us!
        With so much cash on hand I would expect some honor and respect to creators.

        Especially that creative web monetization can deliver 10x more then blind advertising madness.

        Big inconsistence in light of $140 million dollar art purchases by Google owners or the likes!

      • Nope

        It’s actually fair use. According to the recent Google Books judgement.

        • Anonymous

          “It’s actually fair use”

          Of course it isn’t, Google deliberately stole and published millions of copyrighted books without permission. 🙂

          Which is why Author’s Guild are going to appeal, and why they’re going to win. Be a little patient my friend, this case has been running for 8 years, and nobody expects it to end anytime soon. But when it does, Google will lose. Hopefully around $1 billion.

          • Anonymous

            You seem unjustifiably sure of yourself. There isn’t even a guarantee that an appeal will be granted. We’ll see.

          • Anonymous

            authors guild didn’t win shit.

            google just pays off the courts; its cheaper than paying the artists.

        • TuneHunter

          I seen that news clip.
          It should be top priority of RIAA, the artist and the book writes associations to stretch “fair use doctrine” in favor of creative community.

          Shazam, the Master Pimp of the music industry, which is delivering for free all best tunes to Spotify or Youtube rape arena should be forced at ounce to sale only mode!

          You think it would be fair to have Shazam boy inside of your house with full catalogue of your personal property and family members and suddenly at the online request of some waco he would deliver to him your daughter he just noticed at the mall! ..or your wife’s neckless he noticed while she was at Walgreens.

          Lobby efforts used for extortion of money from Radio (including Pandora) should be used to adjust “fair use”
          to current web based environment.
          The music business community has to urgently start rebuilding the walls demolished by Shazam, Sounhound, The Echo Nest similar tune machine or Google lyrics ID. We cannot afford streaming services with all those services as all inclusive Spotify package unless we want to call it Spoofy!

  2. Jaded Industry Dude

    The catch 22 here is that if Google start censoring those links, it would not really be Google any more. And then DMN would start sensationalizing how Google is a corrupt site that censors music from fans.

    • Anonymous

      “The catch 22 here is that if Google start censoring those links, it would not really be Google any more”

      Nonsense — Google has been censoring a huge amount of links for years. They just don’t want to lose the fortunes they make from piracy.

      But it goes without saying that they have to go legit — and soon — if they want to survive. The world can’t afford to lose millions of jobs and billions of dollars because of these parasites anymore.

      Google Search is the world’s leading piracy site and biggest portal to organized copyright crime today, and that has to stop.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Except, what if they started censoring all DMN articles? You see I just crushed your Catch 22 scenario.

  3. David

    A little-known fact about Google is that when it comes to fighting spam, Google does many things on its own initiative which it has been unwilling to do against piracy. See details here: http://www.google.com/insidesearch/howsearchworks/fighting-spam.html

    Note in particular that:
    1. Google has developed sophisticated algorithms that it claims ‘address the vast majority of spam’.
    2. In addition to these algorithms, Google uses ‘manual review’ which results in hundreds of thousands of ‘actions’ against spam every month, which implies a large team of reviewers.
    3. The action taken against spam includes removal and not just ‘demotion’ of spammy search results.
    4. Most interestingly, Google has taken action against ‘free hosting services and dynamic DNS providers when a large fraction of their sites or pages violate our Webmaster Guidelines. This allows us to protect our users from seeing spam, when taking action on the individual spammy accounts would be impractical.’

    In this last point, note especially that Google considers it a sufficient basis for action if merely a ‘large fraction’ – not necessarily even a majority – of sites or pages violate the guidelines. Imagine what this would do to Grooveshark or The Pirate Bay if Google applied the same approach to piracy! Of course, they won’t, because it is not in their own interest, whereas eliminating spam from search results is. ‘Don’t be evil’, indeed, but only when it suits you.

    • David

      Google doesn’t need ‘legal authority’ to delete search results. As I pointed out in my previous comment, it routinely deletes results it considers ‘spam’, using its own criteria to determine what to delete. It also takes action against sites if a ‘large fraction’ of their content is spam. It could do exactly the same with pirate websites if it wanted to. But it doesn’t.

      • Anonymous

        It could also change its logo to a picture of Bob Marley wrestling a bear. But it doesn’t.

        • Anonymous

          It will do exactly what it’s required to do when pressure exceeds a comfortable level, including changing its logo to a free ad for the RIAA if need be.

          Google finally stopped supporting child porn and pedophiles because of political pressure, and it will stop supporting piracy and pirates for the same reason.

          • Nope

            You mean the same “political pressure” that got SOPA/PIPA and ACTA through?

          • Anonymous

            You think any government is going to make that mistake again? 🙂

            Google knows it won’t survive unless it goes legit.

            Look at YouTube: It survived because Google found the perfect solution to kill — or monetize — piracy.

          • Anonymous

            You think any government is going to make that mistake again? 🙂

            Giving people enough time to protest? Following a democratic process? Maybe you are right. But I’m not holding my breath. I’m told that the piracy decade is over, but we are already nearly half-way into another decade and piracy is still alive and well.

          • Anonymous

            “Giving people enough time to protest? Following a democratic process? “

            Ah, the anti-SOPA crucade was a democratic process?


            Are you aware that SOPA, PIPA and ACTA were suggested by democratically elected politicians that millions of people had chosen to represent them, following a democratic process?

            And are you aware that said anti-crime initiatives were blocked entirely because a small handful of the world’s richest companies convinced their thugs in, er, Anonymous 🙂 plus a few thousands anti-democratic tech sites to bully our democratically elected politicians into giving up against organized crime?

          • Anonymous

            So what is your suggestion to stop another protest like that? Force tech companies and website owners to keep their websites up? Disallow protest entirely?

          • Anonymous

            “So what is your suggestion to stop another protest like that? “

            The world’s richest companies are certainly allowed to protest like everybody else.

            But don’t you think it’s better to leave important political decisions to our democratically elected politicians?

            That’s why we elected them, isn’t it?

          • Anonymous

            But don’t you think it’s better to leave important political decisions to our democratically elected politicians?

            So we shouldn’t question any of their decisions after they are elected?

          • Anonymous

            “So we shouldn’t question any of their decisions after they are elected?”

            Here’s how it works:

            You elect a number of politicians to represent you for a given period.

            During that period, you’re not only allowed but expected to evaluate and question the decisions they make — and on the basis on that evaluation elect the same politicians, or somebody else, at the next democratic election.

            This means that majority of the population would vote for piracy parties, if it wanted piracy.

            And that’s obviously not happening.

          • Anonymous

            Certainly the politicians in question felt enough people were coming against SOPA/PIPA to trash the legislation. They wouldn’t trash a bill with broad bipartisan support if there was no consequences for supporting it.

          • Anonymous

            …also, as a service to those among you who hate SOPA without knowing why:

            SOPA is short for Stop Online Piracy Act, and it was trashed for one reason only:

            The very concept of stopping piracy is the biggest current threat to Big Tech.

          • Anonymous

            SOPA is short for Stop Online Piracy Act

            You aren’t a patriot if you don’t support the Patriot Act.

  4. Henry

    You people are so naive. Wait, before you get offended and start complaining, allow me to explain in simple steps:

    1. agency (NSA, whatever, call it any name you like) needs to deliver a malware package in all the computers of a nuclear laboratory in Iran.

    2. agents spot and pick out from the crowd a 30 year old Iranian nuclear scientist who likes to pirate pop music and TV shows from PirateBay (or whatever)

    3. the malware package is uploaded on the piracy website’s server or a special torrent is crafted (if you don’t believe this is possible, then you don’t know how sites like wallywashis.name work). Other people get infected and then they complain on forums about how they got a strange virus after downloading some shit online. They are not the real target.

    4. when the target goes online to download the latest shitty pop noise, the package is delivered to his computer. Fast, reliable, no one can tell what happened. Remember: P2P needs an open door to a computer, otherwise it just can’t work.

    5. the scientist then grabs a USB stick and moves the files to it so that he can listen to some albums or watch some pirated TV shows on his break at the laboratory. Reminds you of someone? Yeah, you all know someone who does this exact thing almost every day.

    6. the malware package is transferred successfully on the laboratory’s computers and network. No one knows about it, because they can’t be bothered to set up firewalls or glue USB ports. Their scientists need to have some breaks, listen to some music. Yes, even dictatorships turn a blind eye to security if it is to keep their valuable personnel happy.

    Now, let me know how much you would charge NSA as a contractor, if they approached you and said “make us a nice website that attracts young and educated people from Iran”.

    And where would you ask for the money to be deposited? Not at your regular banking account? You would ask for an exotic island bank account to be setup just for you and your buddies. Oh, and some free vacations at a friendly Mediterranean country.

    It is not about piracy. It is about control. Everything is about control. My simple (very simple!) example just showed you that.

    • Anonymous

      Yes! Everything you just said is DEFINTELY the reason piracy hasn’t been stopped.

  5. Anonymous

    We need an entertaining website to tell users how Google became the world’s leading piracy site.

  6. Anonymous

    “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”

    Is it actually legal for them to do that?

    • Anonymous

      “Is it actually legal for them to do that?”

      This is a very important question.

      Will we continue to allow Google to steal our property if only it steals more than a certain amount?

      • Anonymous

        I also cant help but think, the BPI said the would send much more if they could. If Google had to deal with all that, maybe they would have to actually do something to help combat piracy.


        probably not tho

    • David

      Good question. I don’t see anything in the text of the DMCA to set a limit on the number of notices:

      While reading through this convoluted text I was also struck by sub-section (i) [Conditions for eligibility], which makes ‘safe harbor’ protection conditional on the service provider having ‘adopted and reasonably implemented… a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider’s system or network who are repeat infringers’. This provision could be highly relevant to both YouTube and Grooveshark. It is not sufficient just to state a theoretical policy that repeat infringers may be barred from the service, but the policy must also be ‘reasonably implemented’.

      • David

        It is also well worth looking at section (c)(3) [Elements of notification], which sets out what information has to be contained in a takedown notice. This is often interpreted as meaning that rights holders have to notify service providers individually of each infringing page or link, but it doesn’t actually say that. For example, I don’t see why a takedown notice to Grooveshark could not take the form ‘all files indexed by Grooveshark’s search engine under the title ‘Stairway to Heaven’, as this would (arguably) constitute adequate ‘identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material’. I’m curious to know if any court cases have decided that notices must take the more demanding form of an itemised list of URLs.

      • Anonymous

        “I don’t see anything in the text of the DMCA to set a limit on the number of notices”

        I haven’t been able to find anything either. It seems that Google deliberately violates the DMCA.

        • Yves Villeneuve

          It’s definitely ammo for the music industry to sue Google.

          Google can potentially increase related staff levels ten times, if even necessary, without making a significant dent in profits. They are spending a lot of dollars on ideas unrelated to their core operating goals which should be spent on fighting piracy and maintaining the integrity of their core business.

  7. Anonymous

    In todays’ news:

    ‘We’ve listened – and here’s how we’ll halt this depravity’: Google chief ERIC SCHMIDT explains block on child porn.

    We should do everything in our power to protect children from harm. Google has more than 200 people working to tackle the problem. We’ve fine tuned Google Search to prevent links to child sexual abuse material from appearing in our results.

    While no algorithm is perfect – and Google cannot prevent paedophiles adding new images to the web – these changes have cleaned up the results for over 100,000 queries that might be related to the sexual abuse of kids.

    As important, we will soon roll out these changes in more than 150 languages, so the impact will be truly global.”

    Eric Schmidt, exectutive chairman of Google

    It took a lot of years, but Google finally listened and stopped its support for pedophiles. Next phase will be to stop its support for pirates.

    Piracy costs millions of jobs and billions of dollars every year, and now we know how easy it is just to block it.

    Google took an important first step away from its past as the world’s leading portal to organized crime. Now it has to go all the way.