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.

Mark Weatherly on Cutting Off Add Revenue to Illegal Downloading Sites

Christopher Sabec on Online PiracyIn a recent article by Music Week, The Prime Minister’s IP Advisor Mark Weatherly believes that ‘cutting off ad revenue to illegal sites is key to the recent piracy battle.’ In a new recent report, Weatherly suggests a number of actions that need to take place by government rights holders, ISP’s and search companies. Some of his recommendations include: increasing funding for the police intellectual property crime unit (PIPCU), exploring the advertising monitor software to ensure compliance of advertising codes, and lastly, requesting the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) look into what additional legislation is necessary to require pre-emptive action by advertisers and payment providers. According to Weatherly: “Following the money is the key to shutting down the vast majority of websites that host illegal material.” The recent report highlights a number of issues surrounding the piracy debate and Weatherley hopes it will spark discussion in the UK and other parts of the world.

Weatherly goes on to comment that since he is the Intellectual Property Advisor to the Prime Minister, he feels like it is his role to shed light to this issue and how damaging it can be, to even the UK economy. Online piracy is a form of stealing not only from the music makers, but also the country that they owe taxes to.  Steve Head, the head of economic crime at City of London Police states that he welcomes the points noted in Weatherley’s report and agrees with him in many ways. He goes on to say, “It is my firm belief that we will only make truly significant inroads into reducing this type of criminality by having a credible and effective police deterrent.” Time will tell if the UK and other countries put an end to online piracy.

This blog post is based off of this music week article posted by the Trichordist blog.