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BPI wants Google and government to do more about piracy

By | Published on Wednesday 4 July 2012


British music is doing very well indeed thank you very much one and all, but if the government doesn’t get its arse into some sort of better gear to tackle the evil sin that is piracy, then it could all still go to the dogs. I’m paraphrasing slightly, but that was the general gist of discussion at the AGM of the record industry’s trade body the BPI yesterday.

According to Billboard, the organisation’s Chairman Tony Wadsworth told the collected record industry types in the room: “We should not be afraid to shout about how proud we are of our industry and of the importance of music to society. [But] this love affair [our government has] with big technology and big telecoms has cast a shadow over our home-grown creative success and it’s time to redress the balance. We have earned the right to be treated seriously and fairly by government. The technology world has to also come to the party either willingly, or kicking and screaming”.

Of course the current government’s slow progress in getting the three-strike elements of the Digital Economy Act up and running was one gripe expressed during the day, but hooking onto the record industry moan zeitgeist, Wadsworth also took aim at Google, for failing to do enough to remove links to unlicensed content for its search results, and to ensure copyright infringing websites do not benefit from its ad networks.

The BPI Chair continued: “When consumers are encouraged towards illegal content by search engines, where reputable advertisers plough millions towards websites that make their money from our music and return not a penny to the creators, the government needs to step in”.

Also calling on the current government to do more for music – unsurprisingly – was Labour’s Harriet Harman, the Shadow Secretary Of State For Culture, Media And Sport, and guest speaker at the BPI’s event. Accusing the coalition government of failing to properly bring together the different departments that have an interest in music – including culture, business and education – she too called for more action in getting her party’s DEA enacted, though also, perhaps less predictably, took a pot shot at Google et al as well”.

Harman: “Google and other technology companies need to do more with the content creators to better signpost legitimate search and block illegal sites. Search engines like Google are highly trusted, and there’s no way of telling, as an average consumer, what is an illegal site. They could also do more to stifle the income of pirate websites by stopping advertising on illegal sites. And I want to see the government getting on with implementing Labour’s Digital Economy Act. And while I’m pleased that OfCom published their code for consultation [on three-strikes] last week – it will still be 2014 before any warning letters are sent out”.

You can read Harman’s full speech here.

Elsewhere at the BPI AGM, Julian Wall, who is the primary contact for indie labels within the BPI, as well as heading up international events, announced he would be departing the trade body in September.