The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has released a damning report commenting on Google’s efforts to demote pirate sites, stating that illegal downloads “Consistently appear at the top of Google’s search results for popular songs or artists”. Last year, Google agreed that it would make changes to its algorithm to push pirate sites down in search results and work with the music industry to tackle the problem. In November 2012, The BPI stated that three months following this pledge, nothing had changed, with illegal sites still dominating searches.
The RIAA has now called on the search giant to do more, saying: “Six months later, we have found no evidence that Google’s policy has had a demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy”.
The report adds that over the six-month period Google has received notices for “tens of millions” of copyright removal requests against various sites but that over 98% of these still appeared on page 1 of the search results.
EVP and General Counsel of the RIAA Steven M. Marks said: “The range and number of licensed services embraced by the music business and available to fans today is staggering. 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”. Marks continued: “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 endeavour.”
In related news, the Financial Times has reported that Google is in negotiations with music companies to launch a streaming service aimed at directly competing with the likes of Spotify and Deezer before the end of this year.