November 13, 2012 17:35

Google Play criticised by UK record industry

Industry body says new music service 'undermines artists'

Google Play criticised by UK record industry

Photo: PA

Google Play has come under fire from a record industry body, which says the service "doesn't make sense".

The internet giant launched the new service today (November 13). It aims to compete with iTunes and provide a legal alternative to illegal downloading and pirated music.

Google has, however, been accused of failing to bury links to illegal music downloads and torrents in their search engine's results. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) say the lack of action undermines artists.

Google announced earlier this year that they would modify their search algorithm to stop sites with track records for offering illegal downloads appearing in their results, but these changes have been slow to come into practice.

The BPI's chief executive Geoff Taylor told the BBC: "We don't think it makes any sense for them to be doing something which does support artists and then, on the other hand, undermine artists by referring consumers to illegal sites." He added: "We personally think three months should be long enough to get it working."

The BPI boss went on to acknowledge that Google Play’s arrival in the UK would open up the market to more competition, allowing more customers easy access to legal music, but reiterated Google Play could only be seen as a good thing once it brings in the promised changes.

A Google Play representative responded by saying the service is a separate entity from their search engine parent company: "The way that our search engine works is a completely separate algorithm from anything we do on Google Play," said Sami Valknonen, Google Play's head of international licencing.

He added: "I think it's something that is hopefully going to make piracy obsolete because it's so easy to operate within the bounds of the law that there is really no need to go beyond them."

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