Tuesday 22 June 2010

BPI warns Google over search links

BPI, the UK recording industry’s trade association has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Google, asking the search engine to take down links to nine "one-click hosting" sites, each of which hosts thousands of illegal songs. The BPI cite 38 links "that are available via Google's search engine, and [requests these] links be removed as soon a possible as they directly link to sound recordings owned by [BPI] members". Simple Google search queries such as keying in artist and song names and then a word like 'MP3', 'download', 'upload' or the name of a file-transfer service lead users to illegal downloads on pages of sites that includes MegaUpload, SendSpace and UserShare. Last October, Google removed links to the Pirate Bay – the infamous illegal BitTorrent tracker – from their search index. The BPI takedown request promoted much chatter online yesterday after it was leaked by the Chilling Effects website with some journalists and bloggers claiming this is a new more aggressive initiative on behalf of the BPI.

CMU Daily says that some commentators also note that the document includes not only a list of specific links to infringing content, but also a list of home page links to the services that have aided the infringement, such as MegaUpload, leading to additional speculation that the BPI is stepping beyond the strict remit of America's Digital Millennium Copyright Act and calling on Google to block access to whole website rather than just infringing content. The BPI has denied there is anything out of the ordinary about this takedown notice to Google and BPI Spokesman Adam Liversage told C-Net that such documents were filed with Google on a regular basis by bodies like the BPI and that "in most cases, Google takes down the links in question, following its own internal procedures".

In more encouraging news for the recorded music sector, The Black Eyed Peas' track 'I Gotta Feeling' has become the first ever single to be downloaded more than one million times in the UK.


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