The RIAA isn't buying Google's efforts to thwart piracy, pointing out flaws in its "Take-down" efforts.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has fired back at Google over its transparency report released last week, basically saying the search engine giant doesn't do enough to fight piracy despite its recent efforts. Google claimed that in just one month, it received almost 1.25 million take-down requests on behalf of 1,296 copyright owners.
Apparently that's just the tip of the piracy iceberg.
"Even more transparency is needed to fully understand the scope of the problem," said Brad Buckles, Executive Vice President, Anti-Piracy, RIAA. "Knowing the total number of links to infringing material available and the limitations Google imposes on rights owners to search for infringements reveals how meager the number of notices is relative to the vast amount of infringement."
Buckles points out that anyone can search for any major recording artist’s track and the term "mp3," and discover that most of the very first results offered by Google direct people to infringing material. Similar results are also seen when searching for any popular creative content followed by the words "free download."
"On the one hand, Google states that it processes an overwhelming number of notices," he said. "On the other hand, Google’s data misleads by calculating that the DMCA notice requests represent a tiny fraction of the pages on even the most recidivist sites."
Buckles goes on to point out five facts. First, Google places artificial limits on the number of queries that can be made by a copyright owner to identify infringements. The company even limits the number of links copyright owners can ask them to remove per day. Google has also placed constraints on the tools they promote to deter infringement to identify and notice infringements -- constraints that are well below what is necessary.
"One needs to consider these numbers and Google’s activities in context," he said. "Google says it received requests to remove 1.2 million links from 1000 copyright owners in one month. But consider that Google has identified nearly 5 million new links posted in just the last month in searches for free mp3 downloads of just the top 10 Billboard tracks."
In his fourth fact, Buckles points out that Google claims that the DMCA notices it has received for a site represent less than .1-percent of the links it had indexed for the domains at the top of its list. But this percentage is misleading given the constraints imposed by Google on a copyright owner’s ability to find infringements and send notices to Google.
Finally, if "take down" does not mean "keep down," then Google’s limitations "merely perpetuate the fraud wrought on copyright owners by those who game the system under the DMCA." Buckles offers up an example of this, saying that Google has blocked search results leading to linked pirated material on a specific site, but hasn't blocked the site itself. Thus, the RIAA keeps having to send requests each time the site throws up a new link to the content in question.
"In order to truly address this problem, Google needs to take its commitment to fight piracy more seriously by removing the limits on queries and take downs, by taking down multiple files of the same recording instead of just one when a 'representative sample' of infringing files is provided to them, and by establishing meaningful repeat infringer policies," he said.
"Clearly the current process is not working," he added. The full Google-bashing report can be read here.