Trichordist readers will recall our many posts about how Google uses search to drive traffic to unlicensed sites where Google Adsense or Doubleclick serves the advertising that keeps the illegal site operating. And turns a nice profit for Google. This is the principal way Google profits from piracy as far as we can tell.
Today there’s a story in the BBC about Google’s latest charm offensive to try to demonstrate to the world–or at least to the European Commission antitrust regulators–that far from profiting from piracy, Google actually fights piracy.
This is, of course, utter bullshit. We’re not going to go through the whole song and dance again, but take a look at this screen shot showing Google’s Doubleclick serving an ad to Grooveshark. That would be the adjudicated infringer Grooveshark:
Here’s what Google told the BBC:
Google has announced changes to its search engine in an attempt to curb online piracy.
The company has long been criticised for enabling people to find sites to download entertainment illegally.
The entertainment industry has argued that illegal sites should be “demoted” in search results.
The new measures, mostly welcomed by music trade group the BPI, will instead point users towards legal alternatives such as Spotify [Google is on the Spotify board so presumably owns shares in Spotify] and Google Play [aka the Genco Pura Olive Oil Company 2.0].
Google will now list these legal services in a box at the top of the search results, as well as in a box on the right-hand side of the page.
Crucially, however, these will be adverts – meaning if legal sites want to appear there, they will need to pay Google for the placement.
The BPI said that while it was “broadly” pleased with Google’s changes, it did not think sites should have to pay.
“There should be no cost when it comes to serving consumers with results for legal services,” a spokesman told the BBC.
Well, allow us to retort:
This is a motherfucking shakedown.
We suspect that’s a more accurate assessment of what the BPI was probably thinking but felt constrained to say.
Combine this with thursdays Digital Music News story and we can only conclude:
Google drives traffic to illegal sites while forcing legitimate sites to pay! How is this good news?