updated 02:05 pm EST, Thu February 16, 2012
IFPI, RIAA mull suing Google to censor results
Two organizations that represent the music industry may file a lawsuit against Google in order to make it harder for web users to find pirated content online. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have gone as far as to obtain a preliminary legal opinion on the matter, TorrentFreak revealed. The two maintain that Google is abusing its dominant market position and should degrade search results that link to websites hosting pirated material.
"IFPI's litigation team, in coordination with the RIAA, is continuing to negotiate with Google to obtain better anti-piracy cooperation in various areas," read an unpublished letter reportedly going around in the music industry and its executives.
IFPI wants to force Google to censor links to sites that host infringing content and if Google complies, this could set a dangerous precedent.
"Google continues to fail to prioritize legal music sites over illegal sites in search results, claiming that its algorithm for search results is based on the relevance of sites to consumers," the document added.
The lawsuit, if it comes to fruition, would be based on competition law and argue that Google prioritizes illegal sites and is guilty of antitrust practices. Google has always denied this and says it presents results objectively, based on relevance to what the user looked for.
The entertainment industry also suggested that a Voluntary Code of Practice be adopted by all search engines in order to de-list popular file-sharing sites, including The Pirate Bay, and instead promote results that link to sites where users can legally buy copyrighted music, movies, and other content.