Tinie Tempah and The Who’s Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are among a group of musicians who have signed a letter to the Prime Minister calling for action on illegal downloading.
The letter – which is also signed by Professor Green, Robert Plant, Elton John, and Brian May – says that search engines must “play their part in protecting consumers and creators from illegal sites” – adding that broadband companies and online advertisers must also do more to prevent piracy, The Telegraph reports.
The letter is the latest stage of the ongoing row between the music industry and Google. Industry body The BPI has accused google of making it too easy for users to find links to file-sharing websites, where they can then illegally download music.
Speaking on Newsnight last week, Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive of the BPI, said: “Once we’ve told Google 100,000 times that a particular site is illegal, we don’t think that site should be coming above iTunes and Spotify in the results.” He added that if Google “have knowledge that a site is illegal… that site should be blocked. But they still list that site in their search results.”
Google denies supporting piracy, saying it removes millions of links a month from its listings after requests from music publishers. Also speaking on Newsnight, Google’s UK Policy Manager Theo Bertram said: “It’s not for Google to go around the web judging what is or isn’t legal, and I don’t think people would want us to do that. When people tell us, that’s my content on that page, we remove it quickly, and we do almost two million of those every month.”
He added: “But what our research shows is that however much you don on filtering, on blocking, what would be much more effective is to go after the money – to remove the underpinnings, the advertising, the payment processes, from these sites.”
The artists’ letter published today also urges the governmet to implement anti-piracy laws passed in the 2010 Digital Economy Act more quickly. They are currently due to come into force in 2014. Under the new law, people caught illegally downloading could potentially have their internet cut off.