Anti piracy witch hunt took a new turn this week when the search giant Google was served with a cease-and-desist order by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), Britain's biggest recording industry association and one of the forerunners of copyright enforcement and lobbying in Britain. The order demanded the search engine to take down links to nine "one-click hosting" sites, each of which hosts thousands of illegal songs.
The DMCA notice, which can be read over at Chilling Effects, cites 38 links to copyrighted materials that are available via Google's search engine. The links point to songs hosted at popular sites such as MegaUpload, SendSpace and UserShare.
Google is usually willing to remove links to copyrighted content whenever a DMCA notice is served. But although this is true of services like Blogger, where Google has deleted several music blogs, it's not clear whether it has the same policies with its search index.
Google receives dozens of DMCA takedown notices. However, Techdirt noted an interesting angle to this particular takedown demand.
First, it seems a bit odd that BPI has randomly selected 30 or so songs to take down, from a wide variety of songs that it technically represents. Second, beyond just giving Google the details of the files and links to the files, it also lists out the "infringing webpage(s)" as:
My guess is that this is trying to set up Google, so that Google is officially "on notice" that these nine sites host infringing content, and while Google will almost certainly take down the links to the specific files listed, it's quite likely that similar files will quickly be found elsewhere on those sites -- and BPI may then try to claim that Google should automatically know how to block those other files. Part of the DMCA safe harbors is that you need to remove content if you have "specific knowledge" of the content. This is at the center of the Google-Viacom lawsuit. Google claims it needs to know the specific files that are infringing, while Viacom claims that once Google knows that "content x on YouTube" is infringing, it should be required to find and block all such content x's, even if Viacom has not informed Google where they are.
Sounds plausible. If this turns out to be true, BPI might be setting itself up to drag Google to another copyright infringement lawsuit, and milk lots of money from the Mountain View company.