Google is Linking its Users to Illegal Pirating Websites

Christopher Sabec Google Online PiratingIn a recent study done by MusicTechPolicy there seems to be some interesting connections between Google and online pirating websites. It seems that Google is helping these pirating sites by driving traffic towards the sites via Google alerts. Google alerts are emails that Google can send its users through data analytics. Users can set their Google alerts for whatever they desire, and when the alert appears, the option to share it to social media is readily available. In some cases, Google even send a link that might be relevant to the requested alert. In some cases, the link might even be to an illegal downloading site.

This could be coincidence because Google might not have the capabilities to know that the site it is endorsing is an online pirating site. There is more data to suggest otherwise. By looking at Google’s “Transparency Report,” one can see that in the last 30 days, Google has received more than 31 million Digital Millennium Copyright Act notices to disable certain links. One can even go more in-depth to see how many times Google has received a notice for the particular illegal website that they are sending to its users. Google has received and acknowledges 1,161,250 DMCA notices that the site that they are sending to its users violates copyright law.

Twitter and Facebook are also promoting these illegal downloading websites because they link to Google alerts. It is a tough battle for copyright lawyers out there as even the biggest search engine that seems to have a monopoly on online searches is promoting these illegal pirating websites.

These days, it is very difficult for artists to make any money online because of these pirating sites. The fact that Google, Facebook, and Twitter are promoting these sites only makes it more difficult for artists. Digital sales revenue is dropping in the music industry. Physical music product sales (like CDs and vinyl’s) are developing greater revenue.

Independent Record Labels vs. Youtube: The Fight for Money

Christopher Sabec YoutubeIn a recent article by Billboard Biz, Youtube might “take down” music from independent music labels. This is all in light of Youtube’s recent subscription service launch. If the rates that Youtube is offering are not fully compensated for the paid subscription service then Youtube will not be “supporting” them any longer on Youtube’s ad-supported streaming service. A service that pays hundreds of millions of dollars a year to labels and publishers. Not only will this hurt the independent labels that use the site to promote their artists and videos but Youtube will keep the videos up on the site without backing the label with advertisers.
In order to defend themselves, Youtube will stand by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and will only take down the music when they are notified by the rights owner. The independent labels either can take down their music or leave their music on the site with no compensation from Youtube. It is a tricky situation. After the service launch, there have been many independent labels complaining about the way Youtube is handling the situation and they are trying to get government regulatory agencies to look at Youtube’s businesses tactics in the way they set up the subscriptions service. However, not all indie labels are upset with Youtube. Other online streaming services, such as Spotify, don’t give labels the option to be on the premium service rather than the ad-supported part of their model. Labels state that Youtube is “going backwards” with their business model. This means that Youtube built and developed the “free” part of their model first and then figured out how to make money by converting the site to an ad-supported model. On the other hand, other streaming services have offered indie labels lower rates than other established labels. Moving forward, hopefully something can be done to help indie labels not have to suffer when big names like Youtube and spotify want to turn a profit on their content.