Google criticised for lack of online piracy action

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Google faces government anger

Google will today be severely criticised by the government's committee for culture, media and sport, with claims that the search engine giant is failing to take action to combat online piracy.

Chairman of the committee is John Whittingdale, who commented that the department was:

"unimpressed by Google's continued failure to stop directing consumers to illegal, copyright infringing material on the flimsy excuse that some of the sites may also host some legal content. The continuing promotion of illegal content through search engines is simply unacceptable, and efforts to stop it have so far been derisory."

The report goes on to state that the lack of action being taken regarding online piracy was costing the creative industries millions of pounds in revenue every year, as users illegally download the latest releases instead of paying to enjoy them.

Perhaps the most significant comment regarding the power held by Google came from Lord Younger, government business minister, who stated: "I am very aware of their power. I am also very aware ... that they have access, for whatever reason, to higher levels than me in No 10."

A Google spokesperson spoke out in defence of company policy on pirated material, commenting:

"We removed more than 20 million links to pirated content from our search results in the last month alone. But search is not the problem - according to Ofcom just 8% of infringers in the UK use Google to find unlicensed film and 13% to find unlicensed music. Google works harder than anyone to help the film and music industry protect their content online."

Criticisms of Google

This is not the first time that Google has faced criticism from an outside party for failure to take action, with an ultimatum issued for illegally collected street view data in June.

Daniel Nolan, managing director of theEword commented: "Statistics within this government report showed that 61 per cent of searches related to famous artists such as Lady Gaga or Katy Perry contained links to pirated material. Clearly, there are issues which need to be addressed relating to online piracy, however it appears as though this problem is prevalent across the internet and is not just limited to Google."