RIAA Whines That Google Won't Let It Program Google's Search Algorithm

from the it-must-be-easy-when-you-see-the-world-that-way dept

There’s been some discussion about the RIAA’s ridiculous report card on Google’s “progress” in dealing with infringement. Remember, a year ago, Google promised to take steps to appease the RIAA, even though it wasn’t required to under the law. Both Ars Technica and TorrentFreak have good coverage of the ridiculousness of the report card, but I wanted to dive into a few of the specific claims, which just seem laughable. Let’s start with the really ridiculous claim that Google isn’t doing enough to remove search terms from “autocomplete.” As we noted at the time of Google’s announcement, this seemed silly and pointless. How would you figure out what words to choose? For example, 10 years ago, the industry would be upset about mp3 — but now everyone sells unencrypted mp3s. And, indeed, the RIAA seems to believe that certain words that aren’t illegal should be associated with infringement:

Autocomplete still suggests terms associated with piracy when a user is searching for a piece of music or a movie. For example, when ?lady gaga mp3? is typed into the search bar, autocomplete directs a user to choose ?lady gaga mp3 free? or ?lady gaga mp3 download,?

Now that’s interesting. I didn’t realize that “free” and “download” were illegal terms. Especially since Lady Gaga and her manager have both expressed interest in giving away her music for free. It seems that the RIAA’s real complaint is that the end result of the searches still points people to some sites that offer infringing works. But that’s a totally different complaint. Google could censor the words “free” and “download” and within hours people involved in infringement would come up with alternative words.

The RIAA then goes totally off the rails, insisting that Google needs to pre-screen every mobile app for Android. Sure, Apple does this, but it’s why there are so many complaints from iPhone developers. The whole point of Google’s more open system is to allow more open innovation. We recognize that anything “open” is horrific to RIAA-types, but for those of us who recognize how innovation works, we’d prefer that Google continue to allow such innovation, rather than putting up a big wall just because the RIAA is too clueless to adapt. It’s ridiculously presumptive for the RIAA to presume that it has the right to dictate a big part of Google’s setup just to please the RIAA.

Finally, the RIAA whines that Google won’t listen to its own suggestions for how Google’s algorithm should work.

We don?t understand why Google can?t take delisting notices for a site into account in determining rankings if it uses this information in its other copyright policy activities.

Funny, but I also don’t think that the RIAA listens to Google’s suggestions on how their labels should sign bands. Why should the RIAA get to determine how Google’s algorithm should work?

In the end, this whole thing is a ridiculously obnoxious attempt by the RIAA to pretend that Google “isn’t doing enough” when the company already goes significantly beyond what is required under the law (and now generates significant income for the RIAA’s labels through things like YouTube’s monetization scheme).

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Companies: google, riaa

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Comments on “RIAA Whines That Google Won't Let It Program Google's Search Algorithm”

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anonymous says:

why should Google or anyone else do anything at all? the RIAA itself does very little, if anything to help itself, relying entirely on others, at their own expense, to do the ‘internet policing’ for it. what the RIAA wants is no sites on the ‘net unless previously ‘ok’d’ by them, no search terms allowed unless ‘ok’d’ by them and no sales of any sort unless ‘ok’d’ by them. basically, complete control of something that, as usual, they have no right or claim to.

Anonymous Coward says:

In the RIAA’s perfect world every item that shows up in a search result would have a ‘censor’ or ‘delist’ button that anyone could click on. Just 1 click would remove that search result from the search engine for everyone forever.

The RIAA is upset that the closest anyone gives them to that is the option to vote up or down individual search results.

Anonymous Coward says:

The RIAA’s arrogance and sense of entitlement is astonishing. They seem to genuinely believe that the world revolves (or should revolve) around them and the recording industry they represent. An individual displaying the same behavior would likely be diagnosed as having narcissistic personality disorder.

Here’s a definition from healthline.com – “Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which there is an inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with one’s self.”

P.S. Google made HUGE a mistake when they gave in one iota more than the law demanded.

The Logician says:

Here’s a definition from healthline.com – “Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition in which there is an inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with one’s self.”

I believe that definition could be ascribed to most individuals in Hollywood and the entertainment industry, as well as most politicians and many business executives.

The Coward says:

Remove ALL References

Google should remove all references to any big label music for a week or maybe a day just to show the big labels how poorly the music business would fair without Google’s help. The real gatekeepers, in our modern age, is in fact Google. A website without a presence, whether it exists or not, has not presence.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Remove ALL References

The coward got it right. If the RIAA has a problem with the searches Mike listed, just remove any search with Lady Gaga in it. All of them.

This reminds me of the Belgian case (was that several months ago), where Newspapers got a court order removing links, so Google removed all references to their content. They were pleading to get that fixed within days.

Randy says:

Re: Re: Remove ALL References

Here is a great article about it…


It would be a perfect idea to do to the RIAA associated companies. However, I think that the long term ramifications of that actions would be worse than initial joy and satisfaction. I can see wailing and gnashing of teeth in Congress as paid-for congressmen/women cry about “how large Google is” and “it must be broken up”, etc. etc.

Still one can dream, though.


Anonymous Coward says:


> The RIAA then goes totally off the rails, insisting that Google needs to pre-screen every mobile app for Android.

Even if they did, Google’s Market is not the only “app store” for Android. Android was designed to allow for alternative “app stores”, and in fact there are several of them. For instance, see http://f-droid.org/, which specializes in FOSS software. I saw one somewhere which specialized in pornographic applications, which Google does not allow in its Market. And so on.

And even if every “app store” for Android pre-screened its applications, you do not need to use any “app store”. Again, go to the F-Droid website and scroll to the bottom. You will see a QR code, which is a direct link to an Android application. You can either click on the link on your Android phone, or use a barcode scanner application to load the link. It downloads and installs directly, without involving the Market or any other “app store” at all.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Android

Well, you see, the RIAA is so hung up on restrictive copyright and control (as in total control freaks) that they have no idea what open source software is, what it means or that would mean there’s more than one “app” “store” or that Android will run on a host of more devices than just a telephone. Just recomplile and go. Fix the inevitable bugs, then recompile and go again and you can jail break your smart meter the power company thrust on you complete with a nifty GUI!
That would, of course, make SourceForge a pirate site but I’m sure the RIAA and MPAA consider that it is or at least potentially is. Look at all the stuff there that might just possibly, maybe, could be or might be used for piracy if someone adds a few lines of code!!!

TheSmokingGNU (profile) says:


Things like this make me despair for the future. I wish more people realized that “piracy” is the new “terrorist” of buzzwords. They’ll make a big fuss over it, be made to look like idiots, and come up with a new word… possibly “ponies” or “nanomachines” if you look at what they’ve freaked out about lately (the point being EVERYTHING. They’ve gone bananas over everything lately, so who knows what’s next?) Also, I’ve just copyrighted this post, so no reposting or I’ll get the government on your ass! 😛

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