There’s little doubt that piracy has become a part of our internet culture. Numerous congressional hearings and high-profile legal cases have highlighted the issue, but little has actually been done. To help appease the entertainment industry and prevent these “rogue websites,” some members of congress are now considering new mandates – including forcing Google, ISPs, and other groups to block piratey sites completely.
The Age of Piracy
File sharing is the status quo, and almost any movie or album can be found online as it’s released to the general public – if not before. Some groups have found clever ways around this, showcasing themselves as a service that simplifies media access rather than a reseller of content that could be pirated (one excellent example of this being Netflix). However, there is plenty of commercial incentive for piracy as well. MegaUpload, a site that prompts users to upload (possibly illicit) videos and then pays them for views, earns somewhere between $40 million and $300 million annually.
Lobbyists from the entertainment industry, including Frederick Huntsberry, have brought the issue before congress, stating, “We’re have reached the limits of self-help.” Some members of congress are willing to consider fairly extreme measures to help the industry, which is seeing decreased profits thanks to the various “rogue” groups on the net.
Google: A Problem and Solution
Part of Huntsberry’s complaints centered around Google. He demonstrated how easily pirated results can be found just by plugging in a few key phrases into the Google search engine. Several of the possible steps forward in the rogue site crackdown included forcing Google to block rogue sites, or at least to promote legitimate sites such as Netflix, to the top of the SERP.
Concern still abound, however, including the potential impact such mandates could have on the legitimate uses of copyrighted materials. Additionally, the possibility of scaring companies like Google offshore may keep “forced tweaks” at bay.
[via Paid Content]