|Going for Google
Tuesday, July 24 2012
Musicians including Elton John and Queen guitarist Brian May have attacked Google and other search engines for helping users get access to pirated copies of their work.
Pop mogul Simon Cowell, The Who singer Roger Daltrey, Led Zeppelin star Robert Plant and composer Lord Lloyd-Webber have also joined the campaign calling for more action to combat illegal copying and distribution of music. Their concerns are made clear in an open letter which will be sent to David Cameron this week.
The letter, published in the Daily Telegraph, draws attention to the role that Google, the world's largest search engine, and its competitors can play in giving users access to illegal copies. Search engines, broadband companies and online advertisers 'must play their part in protecting consumers and creators from illegal sites,' say the dignatories, who also include The Who guitarist Pete Townshend and rap artists Professor Green and Tinie Tempah.
The letter is the latest development in an ongoing dispute between the British music industry and Google, which has been accused of making it easy for users to find links to file-sharing websites that enable them to download music illegally. Google denies supporting piracy and claims it removes millions of links a month from its listings at the request of music publishers.
Mr Cameron faces calls to move more quickly in implementing anti-piracy laws that were passed by Parliament two years ago. The letter demands the enforcement of measures set out in the Digital Economy Act 2010, such as potentially cutting off internet access for people who illegally download material. The measures, which also include sending letters to users who download pirated content, are not due to be implemented until 2014.
The letter states: 'As a digitally enhanced nation whose language is spoken around the world, Britain is well-positioned to increase its exports in the digital age. Competition in the creative sector is in talent and innovation, not labour costs or raw materials. We can only realise this potential if we have a strong domestic copyright framework, so that British creative industries can earn a fair return on their huge investments creating original content. Illegal activity online must be pushed to the margins. This will benefit consumers, giving them confidence that they are buying safely online from legal websites.'
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