back to article Media groups propose anti-piracy 'code of practice' for UK search

Internet search engines that operate in the UK could stop publishing links to websites that are deemed to be substantially infringing copyright under plans proposed by groups representing rights-holders. The groups have proposed a voluntary code of practice for search engines in a bid to get them to engage more in tackling …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Geoff Johnson

    "any de-listings would be published "

    Excellent, a directory of all the best free download sites.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Can I ask for a new icon that warns readers to put down their coffee before reading a comment to prevent keyboard damage!!

    2. Ben Tasker

      That was my first thought! Especially as if you were feeling really nasty, when you published a de-listing you'd use a hyperlink on the URL, and perhaps a link to the 'example' that was reported

    3. LarsG


      I'm sure someone on Facebook, Twitter or any other site would post the addy of where they have been to download 'that' film, music etc. So a quick Google search 'where TPB gone' will bring a multitude of answers.

      Unless of course they shut the whole internet down .....

      Can they really erase it?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother


    "To use the examples of BPI, MPAA or PACT, we would propose that prioritisation be enabled for searches that contain any of the following key search terms: 'twat', 'pillock', 'out of touch with reality', 'broken', 'numpties', 'clueless', 'cockwombles'.

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      "cockwombles'? Superb, that's my word of the day!

    2. CD001

      cockwombles - lol - literally!

      Though I daren't Google that at work - I dread to think what would be returned.

      1. Miek
        Thumb Up

        You should be fine to Google that word, Top result is the Urban Dictionary ....

        "Cockwomble. The best insult known to man! Don't speak to that guy, he's a complete cockwomble!" --

  3. Whitter

    I already typed this: please don't reset the fields.

    So will Google block access to YouTube? And if not, is the whole game a bogey?

  4. KJB

    The URL

    It has a typo:

    Its screwing with my OCD...

  5. Jess

    where a site has been found by a court to be substantially infringing

    That's a step forward, from just being accused.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge


      Not really - if the (probably foreign) web site fails to turn up to defend itself (which really it should not have to outside of its country or registration) then they get the default judgement in their favour.

      Basically if you want to oppose any of their stupidity you will need DEEP pockets, a good way of keeping any small company's innovation out of their profit plans...

  6. DrXym Silver badge

    The good thing about this

    Is it might hasten the development a decent distributed search engine for BitTorrent. Not just keyword searches (as KAD does), but all kinds of distributed services could sit on top of P2P and a discovery service to find them.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge


      Yes, use the https-like connection (can't be blocked without stopping all eCommerce) with a P2P model (so no IP address and/or domain name to be blocked) to host an incrementally up-datable copy of TPB that you can search locally (fast & secure) and then they have BIG problem in blocking search of pirated stuff.

      Can't be long in coming, showing that the way forward is to compete on convenience & quality, as even most 'freetards' are willing to pay something, even if its just 5-10 Euro//month VPN costs to avoid detection. Money that should be going to the creators, and not avoidance services or lawyers.

  7. Ray Simard


    These "media groups" must be power-drunk with the favorable reception ACTA, SOPA and PIPA are getting from certain quarters. Just who the hell is supposed to pay for all the people and resources in government, search engines, cyberlockers, torrent sites and God knows who else they want to do their dirty work for them? They're on a roll and it's hard to blame them for making the most of their momentum, but it's getting beyond insane. If piracy is the disease, their "cure" is pathological.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    they could still publish links to websites that link to websites that are deemed to be substantially infringing copyright. Which may become quite common if this goes through.

  9. Christoph


    "We demand that the entire internet works solely for our personal profit"

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Well Said

      Have a beer on me

  10. Greg J Preece

    Conspicuously Absent

    "The proposals were drafted by the British Recorded Music Industry (BPI), Motion Pictures Association (MPA), Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT), The Premier League and the Publishers Association..."

    ....and not a single search expert, or anyone who understands how the Internet works.

    1. g e

      Fly. Ointment

      Come, come, Mr Bond. Surely you don't expect me to believe you want us to have a balanced debate?

  11. g e


    Because once anyone agrees to this arbitrary code of practice you KNOW the scope creep will begin based upon 'Well, they're already doing THIS, so it's just a small step for them to do THAT with their search engine, too'

    Yet again Big Media is in denial and secretly punting the subconscious message of 'buy your media secondhand cos it's the same quality as new'

  12. Sir Runcible Spoon


    The dice are rollin' and the wheel turns once more.

    Cut off a search engine, and a dozen will pop up in their place.

    When will these todgertitwranglers understand that no matter how much money they throw at squashing 'piracy', there will be some geek in a bedroom somewhere who goes 'Hey, I've just had an idea on how to get round all that malarky they've just thrown up' and they're out stacks more money and are several steps behind once more.

    Their business model simply cannot compete with an individual with a will to do something (and not just for money - it's usually for the challenge).

    1. Arrrggghh-otron

      Time to see how far yacy has moved on...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is only the start, soon governments and big business will own the web. It is up to us to oppose any pandering to big media giants or lose the web and the Internet forever.

  14. squilookle

    It's really time the entertainment industry and the groups that represent them really need to stop telling other industries how to operate and sort their own industry out.

    I know I and others repeat ourselves every time this kind of story comes up, but they need to stop criminalising people and asking ISPs and search engines to do their dirty work for them, and look at *why* people are choosing to pirate content instead of buy it. It's a mixture of factors including price, DRM that creates inconvenience for genuine customers but fails to prevent the content being copied, their insistence on milking the same content we bought over and over again - films and albums bought out again every time a new format emerges, albums with bonus tracks after we already bought the original, etc - and their insistence on not playing nicely with the likes of Spotify and Netflix who are trying to make the content available in a legal and convenient way.

    Personally, I don't download much these days, only things that are hard to get/out of print. I'm signed up to Spotify and Netflix to get content legally and I buy CD's and DVD's if the album/film is something a consider worthwhile. I also spend quite a lot on games.

    Back in the day where I did download things though, I genuinely did get led on to new bands by downloading their albums, and I did go on to buy a lot of albums that I would not have bothered with if I hadn't heard them. Spotify now provides that service for me.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Death to the old school

    any content creators who don't want their stuff copied? please stop creating content, keep it in your head. Go get a real job instead, sponging parasites...

    Privateers, stop mindlessly copying everything off The Pirate Bay and try creating content then posting it to pirate bay.

    Then everyone will be happy (except the gatekeepers because their one reason for existence is now wiped out).

    Coporate whores are saying that sharing is bad. Is that what you say to your two year old when he refuses to share his toys?

    Cockwombles - excellent.

    1. Miek

      "Coporate whores are saying that sharing is bad. Is that what you say to your two year old when he refuses to share his toys?" -- I think each child is required to have a valid license for each toy they wish to play with.

  16. BristolBachelor Gold badge


    "A value judgment on how "damaging" illicit material is to rights holders..."

    I'd love to see this handled properly in a court case:

    "...and the court finds that the plaintiff's work is a crock of shit that not even a deranged person would pay for, and therefore the damages to the plaintiff are ZERO!"

    1. spiny norman

      Joke or not, there's a serious point, which is that the law tends to accept the rights owner's valuation, hence some of the absurd damages awards. Also, it would be quite hard to lodge a defence that, in effect said: "I was so desperate to get hold of this that I had to download it illegally, but it's rubbish really."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "One man's meat, another man's poison."

      Joking aside, sadly it's "art" so the value is subjective. They get an expert in who's paid shedloads and is a blind, deaf plank, they rate the "art" to be such and such, thus you're screwed!

  17. Irongut

    How much time and money has been wasted dreaming this up when it can be avoided by simply going to another country's version of Google?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ...or Baidu. Doubt they will abide by this even if by some miracle all the western search engines do.

      When are these idiots going to run out of bribe money?

      1. John G Imrie

        When are these idiots going to run out of bribe money

        When we stop our kids from buying their crap.

  18. Ben Tasker

    "take down mobile apps where it is aware that they are designed or known to be used to illegally download entertainment content, either via p2p [peer-to-peer] applications "

    Now how am I going to download full-blown Linux ISOs to my phone?

  19. Tom_

    If I had to choose...

    ...between access to recorded music and films on one hand and the internet on the other, I would choose the internet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If having that that choice forced upon us was ever a possibility the copyright monopolies wouldn't have to go cap in hand to the search engines.

      Going on mass to beg for help to promote up their products under the guise of combating piracy really is low.

  20. I dont believe it

    Reaklly!! I mean really?

    I wonder if the BPI,MPAA, PACT et all are going to pay for the work the search engine providers will have to do to facilitate this rediculous idea, if it even got that far.

    Will they fund the government department that will have to emply peple to monitor and report the work that has been done. Will they then cry unfaiur when the list poff prohibited sites is then published and instead off going to a search engion i'll just have a trueted source off illegal download sites provided by the government.

    Would the government tghen not be complicit if i then downloaded from the illicit sites?

    I love going to the movies, i dont but cd's or dvds very often and when i do most off teh cd'sa have about 5-10 percent good content and the rest is a load off ols tosh. Can i go back to the BPI and demand a refund off 90% off teh purchase price off the CD please as you have sold me goods not fit for purpouse. IT DIDNT entertain me.

    How often have we sat through a hyped film just to be let down, all the good bits seem to be the trailers that are free anyway. Can i have a refund please. I dont think so.

    When will these people wake up and smell the roses, the old modle is dead. work out a new modle for the 21st centiuary. everyone else has

    1. Ben Tasker

      "Can I go back to the BPI and demand a refund off 90% off teh purchase price off the CD please as you have sold me goods not fit for purpouse"

      You may want to try that with you're spelling and grammar checker first!

      1. Ben Tasker


        The thing about global constants is they never change!

  21. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    I'm perfectly fine with the idea of search engines having to block links to pirated content where possible. What I'm not so happy about is sites that pay a licence fee being bumped up search ratings.

    I don't use Google because of the extent to which they interfere with search results, so I certainly don't like the idea of any search engine bumping search results based on whether they pay a licence fee. There's no mention of this licence being compulsory. So basically surfers would get directed to the sites of companies with enough cash to pay. Sites that don't have enough money to pay for the licence would find their visitor numbers adversely affected.

    In other words these licence holders are looking at a way of directing surfers to their own sites rather than anybody else. This is very definitely anti competitive.

    1. Ben Tasker

      "In other words.... directing.... anti-competive"

      My first thought was "No it's not" - if you haven't paid a licensing fee for the music then you aren't legally using it so can't actually complain.

      But then..... what's the betting that this'll potentially be quite badly implemented. I search for "New Indie Music mp3" and the first few sites listed will be the ones that have agreements with PRS etc. Newer, unheard of bands may well lose out as a result

  22. scrubber

    We don't need no steenkin' DNS

    So, they want Google to find out what users actually use 3rd part apps for and then decide whether to list those apps on their app store?

    Ignoring the ass-backwards nature of this requirement, have we not already had way too much of Google and the like snooping on our online behaviour?

    PS. Writing those numbers at the top of this would be enough to get the whole of El Reg shut down under SOPA.

    1. P. Lee

      re: We don't need no steenkin' DNS

      until ipv6 arrives

  23. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Epic Freetard Outrage Erupts - More at 11

    Most of us accept some sites are 'undesirable' and that search engines should not link to those so it's not the practice at stake it's applicability.

    That we cannot prevent undesirable sites from being found in other ways has never seemed good grounds to not try to do as much as we can. There's nothing wrong with trying to do the best we can; it may not be 100% successful but that doesn't make for unsound principles nor unsound law where that applies.

    It seems some people are rejecting the proposals not on sound principles but because they want to have access to the material proposed as 'undesirable'. Once again it looks little more than freetards demanding entitlement to their pirated downloads along with the fallacious claims the internet will collapse unless allowed that.

    To suggest, as one AC has, that producers of content must expect to have no rights (even though those rights are enshrined in law), and if they don't like that should not produce content, is simply incredible. I'd suggest trolling or agent provocateur but it seems some people do believe such things. I wonder when such freetards will wake up and realise they are aiding those they claim to be fighting?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How about you take those blinkers off and widen your search a little eh?

      Most of us on here are probably anti-theft/piracy/infringement but the problem is that with every stupid suggestion from the stuck-in-the-past media corps comes another way to not only attempt to kill off "piracy" but also curtail our freedoms.

      Do you really think that Sony, Universal, etc give a monkey's toss if you couldn't look up auto-parts, motherboards, how to stop and ingrowing toenail or a million other useful and free pieces of info in order to stop 3 sights from advertsing hooky movie downloads? Afraid they don't give a flying f***!

      What's more the governments supporting these sorts of proposals love nothing more than to see our rights eroded, piece by piece, until there's one site left on the internet, [ ] which will then split into your local language edition for your country.

      So if you're happy to lose any number of useful sites swept up in the big purge, then be my guest, me personally I'd rather see a few free movies and MP3s slip through the net in order to safeguard freedom that millions died fighting to preserve over the last few hundred years!

    2. Vic

      > Most of us accept some sites are 'undesirable' and that search engines should not link to those

      "First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist."

      Many of us do not accept your initial premise.


      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        "Many of us do not accept your initial premise"

        But as soon as you say that you will be faced with the, seemingly correct, accusation that you don't have a problem with any links to sites associated with paedophilia, child abuse, rape, promotion of terrorism or hatred, and other unsavoury subject matter deemed offensive and/or illegal.

        That may well be correct, it may be your definition of "freedom", but it doesn't I believe fit the majority view of society at large.

        We don't have a world which has unrestricted freedom, never have and likely never will. We have a world where we define lines beyond which we must not step, we have laws to control and enforce that. You may not like it, but that's what we have, and why should the internet be any different?

        1. Vic

          A "think of the children" rebuttal? How... original.

          > you don't have a problem with any links to sites associated with paedophilia,

          In common with a large number of people, I have no problem with a search engine indexing such sites.

          The appearance of illegal sites in a search engine's results will have no measurable effect on that site's activity. Those that want to view it will find it, those that don't won't be looking for it. There will be few false positives.

          However - and this is the important bit - I do not want those sites to exist. They can generally be removed under existing legislation, once found. And having a search engine index them will make that task much easier.

          So yes - I do want the search engines to index such things.

          > it doesn't I believe fit the majority view of society at large.

          And I don't believe you represent the view of "society at large".

          > we have laws to control and enforce that.

          We do indeed. We do not need any more.

          > why should the internet be any different?

          It shouldn't. It should be regulated just like other aspects of reality. And that is why I would resist attempts to treat it differently. We do not need new regulations for the Internet.


        2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

          @Jason Bloomberg

          A "think of the children" rebuttal? How... original, and very simplistic of you (and not very accurate).

          Most of the sites you talk about are not the sort of sites you can find on a search, a lot of the really nasty stuff is distributed by private VPN and member only groups, this is why some paedo groups are hard to infiltrate, and when they are it usually takes a carefully co-ordinated international operation to nab all the pervs.

          There is a subtle distinction between unrestricted freedom and freedom, for example The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect anyone falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. The ultimate goal of the copyright mafiaa is to be able to say to an ISP that a particular IP is infringing copyright and that that user at that address should be banned from ever using the internet again.

          A free and totally open internet may not be the best way to run the Internet, however I would be more concerned about the alternative of a highly regulated internet like that in China.

        3. Mad Mike

          @Jason Bloomberg

          If you really believe that not indexing paedo sites etc. will make the slightest difference to their viewing rates, you really are living on another planet. People who have an interest in that sort of thing will always find it, because they are directed and have the want. In fact, indexing the sites is a positive benefit as it makes them easier for the authorities to find and deal with.

    3. Ian 16

      (even though those rights are enshrined in law)

      I think you'll find that was a privalege given by the people to the creators -- not a right enshrined on them. Maybe it's time the people took it back because with the mickey mouse copyright laws and perpetual licenses the content creators are breaching OUR terms and conditions.

      Burn them all I say -- good content gets paid for one way or another.

  24. Richard Wharram

    That's a rather different internet they envision.

    They are welcome to build it with their own money. I'll stick on the real one thanks.

  25. Shades

    Broadness or vagueness is the key?

    "Google (or any search engine that operates an apps platform) should: effectively screen applications to see if they are likely to substantially facilitate or encourage infringement or otherwise designed to facilitate infringement; take down mobile apps where it is aware that they are designed or known to be used to illegally download entertainment content, either via p2p [peer-to-peer] applications or unauthorized lockers;"

    A still or video camera app can, if YouTube alone is anything to go by, be used to "substantially facilitate or encourage infringement". How many clips have you seen of something that has been recorded off of a TV screen, footage recorded at concerts or festivals, video of friends in bars/nightclubs having nothing more than a good time, innocent birthday parties with someone having "Happy Birthday" sung to them? Hundreds? Thousands? Well, chances are each and every one of those is infringing somebodies copyright. So if freely available still/video cameras are not substantially facilitating or encouraging infringement then I don't know what is!

    Music/video playback apps can play unauthorized copies of music and video files, surely they must be encouraging the further downloading of infringing material.

    What constitutes an "unauthorized locker"? One can only assume this will mean ANY locker service, that has not been authorized by the BPI/MPA/PACT; meaning one from which they don't get a cut. Will they be able to stop all services like Dropbox from offering an app, or at least make it more difficult to find? After all, they CAN be used to store and download infringing material because they provide public links.

    How broad, or vague, will the definition of a "Search Engine" be? How broad, or vague, will the definition of an apps platform be? Will this, when it suits the BPI/MPA/PACT/Premier League, come to eventually mean ANY site that offers a search facility (after all, that has to have an "engine" behind it) and/or has software that can substantially facilitate and encourage infringment? Will CNet be forced to stop providing links to CD/DVD rippers, P2P software? What about Amazon? They are not, by current definitions, a search engine and they do not have an apps platform (like Google does) but their Android apps market is well known. Will Google have to drop links to Amazon for software they've had to drop from their own apps market?

    Any time organisation says rule X will not apply to Y, or defines rule X to cover whatever they need it to at the moment of their choosing, will, sure as eggs are eggs, stomp all over Y with rule X the split second it suits them.

  26. Sir Runcible Spoon


    If God were truly real, I'd like to see him turn up and sue every one of these bloodsucking fuckers for infringing his copyright. After all, he created them and I believe I remember (just before being born) seeing a contract that says whilst I am incarnate, anything I create is the Intellectual Property of God.

    (This isn't a serious post (for those people who are hard of understanding))

    1. Shades

      I'm inclined to think...

      ...God, if one such invisible sky fairy existed, would have used a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence! ;)

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon


        Oh how I'd like that to be true :) Imagine the wails of angst in the corridors of bribery and corruption if you could provide documentary evidence >:)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >God ... would have used a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence!

        But wouldn't that have been un-American?

  27. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    It's working already

    I just searched for "+X-Factor +Greatest +Hits +mp3" and I found nothing....

    Thank God.

    Seriosouly though, if you want to hide a lie, surround it with obscuring truths.

    The copyright mafiaa are fighting a loosing war, first they tried to sue websites out of existence, that worked initially but for every site they took down, 10 more sprang up to replace them. Then they tried to sue downloaders out of existence, they bribed their political lap dogs to introduce legislation that allowed punitive damages against downloaders, the result was single mothers on welfare were given fines for hundreds of thousands of dollars, all that achieved was to hold the copyright mafiaa and the law up to ridicule.

    They come up with new DRM systems only to have them broken in a relatively short period of time.

    So does anybody actually believe that prevent copyright material in a google search will achieve anything? Or are the copyright mafiaa beginning to believe their own king canute like propaganda? If searching online does not show any links to TPB, I’ll go to the TPB site and search there!!

    The copyright mafiaa have stepped up the war several notches; their first attempt at legislating away copyright infringement, DMCA which tried to criminalise any technology that could be used to circumvent DRM, was a failure, and as it turns out, 57% of notices sent to google under the DMCA to demand removal of links were sent by businesses targeting competitors, not copyright infringers.

    They have manipulated the law making system to give us ACTA and SOPA, ACTA is a particularly insidious route to take as it is only a trade agreement and all discussions about ACTA have taken place in secret, signatory countries are then expected to enact legislation to support the trade agreement.

    The copyright mafiaa have only one goal, total control of the interwebs, this attempt to get copyright infringement removed from search engines is only the first step in a long process, unfortunately their approach is a bit like tying to clean up the banking system by blocking access to the Bahamas, Cayman Islands etc.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon


      57% of notices sent to google under the DMCA to demand removal of links were sent by businesses targeting competitors, not copyright infringers.

      any chance you could quote your source for that info?

  28. yoinkster
    Thumb Down

    These people also miss the main point that lawmakers have been missing when trying to compel ISPs to block stuff.

    An ISP is paid by a customer to be a gateway to the internet, that's it. Not to police said access, just connect someone to the world and keep quiet. The same goes for search engines, they provide a searching service and if someone wants to search for "I WANT FREE MUSIC TORRENT" then that's the searcher's call and it is not for the search engine to censor any result. They are, after all, a SEARCH engine not a police/commercial puppet ... or at least they bloody well shouldn't be.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    protecting customers!

    Quote: "We believe that search engines have a role to play in protecting consumers..."

    ah yes, it's all for my benefit, but of course. So that I... what? Oh, yes, so that I don't get into trouble through doing something I shouldn't be doing,as famously Mr google suggested. How good of them to think of my well-being, as always, soooo thoughtful!

    btw, it would be quite hilarious if this filtering was introduced and, consequently, Google were to be pushed down the rank of the most popular search engines in the UK. Dethroned by Baidu, for example :)

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't go far enough....

    I think it should be extended to include record label names Apple for example. :-)

  31. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. blades

    i keep thinking that they're basically trying to get everyone else to pay for their policing...

    what i can't help but think is that if there's a real monetary loss for these companies, then they should have a vested financial interest in the recourse. if there's a significant financial loss to them, they should have no problem in pursuing it themselves from the profits that they're still clearly making in the middle of a recession. this would have the added advantage that, at some point, the losses they're incurring would be less than the cost of pursuing them, at which point they'd be fools to chase it further. personally, i think they're probably already at that point, which is why they're trying to get others to pay for their policing instead.

    ultimately, they appear to miss the fact that if you provide goods for reasonable prices that are what people actually want, then there's no need for piracy. as an example, i could buy a pvr that records content from, say, the bbc in hd. it will, however, store the content in an encrypted format that i can't access from any other device that i own, despite the content being paid for by my licence fee. so, to access this content that i've paid for in the manner that i choose that's convenient for me, i have no choice but to find a drm-free source instead, or to break the encryption, or use a third-party tool that (as an example) could pull it down from iplayer and store it drm-free. and that's content that i'm legally obliged to pay for.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Presumably this is just a ploy so that they have something to wave in front of a judge if any legal shenanigans involving Google ever occur.

    "We asked them nicely! Look!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That has been the tactic used by the Dutch anti-piracy shakedown merchants BREIN.

      They ask first and when refused immediately launch court action.

  34. Kubla Cant

    "Internet search engines that operate in the UK"

    Clear evidence that they don't get this internet thing.

    Who knows where a search engine "operates"? It might or might not have web servers in the UK. They might be handling requests themselves or proxying for app engines elsewhere. The underlying databases are distributed replicas of a dataset that's probably been created by numerous little computers in lots of locations.**

    If your search engine really is located in the UK and it stops giving you the results you want, you'll just switch to a different, possibly offshore, one.

    ** I stand ready to be corrected by somebody who actually knows about search engines.

  35. Frumious Bandersnatch
    Big Brother

    baby, meet bathwater

    For the sake of argument, let's say I wanted to see if there were any free MP3 downloads from Lackluster (an alias of electronic artist Esa Ruoho). Typing in "lackluster download free mp3" into Google currently gives the following link as the third result:

    Scanning through that page, I count over 20 recordings which the artist has made available for free download. After checking out the site, it's fairly obvious that this is legit and that kudos is due to the artist for providing us with such an array of freebies. However, if these proposals were to be implemented, my search terms would be subject to extra scrutiny since it includes many trigger words. I realise that the proposals here would not automatically stop me from accessing the search results in this case, /provided/ the artist has taken steps to register his site with an as yet non-existent "certification" entity. However, no guarantees are given that the site will not be blacklisted by default based purely on my search terms.

    It's highly likely that these "certification" entities will, in fact, be either collection agencies or agents of the big labels. Neither have a sterling record (to pardon the pun) when it comes to copyrights they don't actually own. A case in point is Edwyn Collins, who was (in)famously prevented from sharing his music via myspace: see

    The essential point that I am trying to make here is that although the proposals seem innocuous enough on first reading (provided you read past the knee-jerk reaction that this is simply censorship, pure and simple, and try to see some merit in them), I think it's highly likely that this will end up hurting independent artists. In effect, the established players (not really a good word for them) in the music industry are attempting to set themselves up as gatekeepers, deciding what you can and cannot access. It doesn't matter whether their intentions are as pure and egalitarian as they make themselves out to be here, it's almost guaranteed that "mistakes" will happen, and innocent sites will find themselves cut off from their audiences.

    The devil is really in the details of implementation. Can independent artists (including those artists that just compose, record and release music just for fun) ensure that all the search engines won't blacklist them by default? What happens if takedown notices are issued in error? Will the accusation count for more than the eventual exoneration (ie, will there be mechanisms for ensuring that accusations are effectively forgotten once overturned)? How will sites and artists know that their traffic is being blocked by search engines? How will sites and artists know who to contact to remedy the situation? What sort of bureaucracy will be involved in getting un-delisted? What happens to site rankings if some legitimate takedown orders are processed against it--will other users of the site end up being tarred with the same brush and have their details delisted? What about searches with similar keywords? What about sites like What about blocking sites in other countries that don't use English as the lingua franca? Et. cetera...

    Just my €0.02.

    1. MacroRodent

      ... and the washtub, soap and towel.

      if implemented as proposed, this would eventually make it impossible to look for any mp3, wma etc... file whatsoever, since album names famously can contain just about anything. Throw in artists' names and other languages besides English, and they could just as well ban any search involving media files and be done with it.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a start

    Sooner or later the pirates will get their wish to end up in a prison cell.

  37. Mr Anonymous

    Dear old media,

    Please talk to Kodak before continuing on your current path or you may find your cash cow has died.

    Your sincerely


  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not the blocking of illegal sites that scares me

    It's the "automatically redirect you to the site *we* think you should be looking for" part that rubs me the wrong way. Google et al being forced by media companies to list results in the "approved" order. There are plenty of smaller "review" sites out there that discuss "licenced content" but are not promoting or facilitating piracy. Under this proposal these sites will be required to pay the requisite licence fee just to remain findable in Google results.

    It's like wanting to find details/review about the latest tech gizmo and google only being allowed to show you links to the manufacturer and "authorised" resellers.

    Here come the thought police.

  39. Neoc


    It's amazing how fast these concerned citizens... er, copyright holders are to propose how others should clean up their act to make things easy for the copyright holders. But they seem to be uninterested in cleaning up their *own* shoddy work habits which cause people to pirate in the first place.

    Case in point: A movie I *want* to buy was released in the States on Jan 24. I asked the local stores when I could expect to see it on the shelves around here... and got told "not before mid-March". Explain this to me - it's not like the movie is still playing in theatres around here.

    So my choices are now the suck-up the industry's blatant disregard for me as a customer ("yeah, you'll want for us to be good and ready like a good little sheeple"), buy it from the US, or just simply download it overnight.

    And the industry wonders why pirate downloads are so popular.

  40. Crisp

    Try buying a film or music track that's no longer published.

    You're a criminal if you pirate it, but that's sometimes the only way to get hold of such titles.

  41. Malcolm Boura 2

    Rational and equitable?

    Yest another example of the privatisation of justice. Hide quasi judicial decisions behind a smokescreen of commercial stonewalling. We only have to look at how well the likes of Facebook respond to complaints about unjustified censorship, typically they don't.

    Before there is any extension to censorship it must be placed on an equitable and rational basis. There are two major requirements:

    1. It must be based on evidence of harm, not the myth and prejudice which drives most of it at present. That prejudice results in widespread and often serious harm.

    2. There must be a single point of appeal. At present every internet service provider, mobile phone operator, social network, or whatever has to be fought individually and that is completely impractcable. It makes a nonsence of freedom of expression if the means of expression are denied.

This topic is closed for new posts.