Film, music industry sounds alarm on piracy
By Anne Flaherty, APWASHINGTON--The music and movie industries are sounding the alarm again on online piracy, saying illegal downloads are on the rise and search engines like Google aren't doing enough to stop them.
September 20, 2013, 12:21 am TWN
Entertainment executives say they have no intention of trying to revive failed legislation that would have imposed unprecedented regulations on Internet companies. That proposal last year prompted a fierce backlash from tech companies and activists who said it would damage the Internet as a free and open enterprise.
But the industry's top lobbyists returned to Capitol Hill this week to try to renew interest in online piracy, which has largely fallen off the public's radar. They are distributing to sympathetic lawmakers their own research on what they say are the growing perils of piracy — some of which is contested by Internet activists — and telling Congress that Google and other search engines aren't doing enough to redirect consumers away from known pirating sites.
The suggestion was that private talks between entertainment executives and Google on anti-piracy efforts had failed to produce a solution, prompting two lobbying giants — the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) — to make their case instead in news conferences and hearing rooms on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, while Google declined to comment.
“We invite Google and the other major search engines to sit down with us to formulate a plan that goes beyond promises of action and actually serves its intended purpose of deterring piracy and giving the legitimate marketplace an environment to thrive,” RIAA Chairman Cary Sherman told a House panel on Wednesday.
Earlier that day, MPAA Chairman Christopher Dodd, a former U.S. senator, joined several House lawmakers in telling reporters that “as the Internet's gatekeepers, search engines share a responsibility to play a constructive role in not directing audiences to illegitimate content.”
While Google declined to discuss the allegations, a spokeswoman pointed reporters to its own recent piracy assessment. In that report, Google claims consumers are more likely to find pirated material from friends or social networks than by using its search engines.