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Thursday, February 21, 2013
RIAA Says Google's Move to Demote Pirate Sites Doesn't Work

RIAA says that Google's move to demote sites with large amounts of piracy in its search engine in order to combat free access to copyrighted material is not as efficient as it was expected.

Six months ago Google announced it would take into account the number of valid copyright notices it receives when returning search results. However, an analysis made by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) showed no evidence that Google's policy had had a demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy.

"These sites consistently appear at the top of Google?s search results for popular songs or artists," the RIAA's report reads.

Over the six-month period, Google received notices for tens of millions of copyright removal requests concerning various sites, including multiple repeat notices of infringement of the same content on the same site. According to RIAA, the sites the analyzed -- all of which were serial infringers per Google?s Copyright Transparency Report -- were not demoted in any significant way in the search results and still managed to appear on page 1 of the search results over 98% of the time in the searches conducted.

"We recognize and appreciate that Google has undertaken some positive steps to address links to illegal music on its network," said Steven M. Marks, EVP & General Counsel, RIAA. "Unfortunately, our initial analysis concludes that so far Google?s pledge six months ago to demote pirate sites remains unfulfilled. Searches for popular music continue to yield results that emphasize illegal sites at the expense of legitimate services, which are often relegated to later pages. And Google's auto-complete function continues to lead users to many of those same illicit sites.

"The range and number of licensed services embraced by the music business and available to fans today is staggering., a handy guide to online music sites, is one illustration of that.

"We want fans to easily and quickly find the services that are safe, secure and reward the artists that create the music we all love. Research shows that users trust search engines like Google to lead them to legitimate sites when searching for music, yet Google's demotion program is not working. We encourage Google to immediately make the necessary changes so its pledge becomes a reality, and we stand ready to work with Google in that endeavor."

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