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Only one homegrown act in the BBC Sound Of... Top 5 – but does it matter?
Former EMI and Chrysalis exec Daniel Glass on running his successful US indie
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Music Week’s five-page analysis with thoughts from industry leaders
RECORD INDUSTRY SUBMITS LIST OF ANTI-PIRACY DEMANDS TO SEARCH GIANTS AND GOVERNMENT
DIGITAL n BY TIM INGHAM
I f Google is still displaying obvious search results for illegal filesharing sites this time next year, it won’t be for lack of pressure.
The BPI has stepped up its battle against one of the industry’s biggest headaches; joining forces with the Premier League, the Motion Pictures Association and the Publishers Association to submit fresh demands to search engines via an official draft Code of Practice.
The document, obtained by Music Week, features at its core a strong call to “de-rank sites that persistently make available unlicensed content in breach of copyright” – something the BPI says Google et al must act on, or face potential legislation from government.
The draft Code is a result of talks between Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, search engines and IP
holders. Its requirements, revealed today, include:
l “According a lower ranking to websites that repeatedly... make available unlicensed content in breach of copyright” l ‘‘Prioritising websites that obtain certification as a licensed site under a recognised scheme” l ‘‘Ensuring that search engines do not encourage [traffic to] illegal sites via suggested searches” l ‘‘Stopping the support of illegal sites by advertising them or advertising on them, or profiting from selling keywords associated with piracy”.
BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor told Music Week: “Government has made it clear that ensuring search engines are directing consumers to legal services is an issue that needs to be dealt with – and if it isn’t dealt with, they will look to legislate.
“We’re waiting on a counter-proposal from the search engines. We know ranking and prioritisation is a sensitive area for them. On the other hand, we have an extremely strong case: it is simply wrong that if you type ‘Plan B mp3’ [into Google], 90% of the results that come back are illegal sites.”
The BPI cites Google’s ‘Panda’ changes to its search result algorithm as proof that the tech giant is capable of making similar adjustments. Panda, which was enacted in February last year, lowered the search ranking of poor-quality sites. The new Code points to this as evidence that search engines would not face “significant legal exposure” if filesharing sites were suddenly de-ranked.
“The tide is slowly turning on this,” chairman and CEO of Universal UK David Joseph told Music Week. “The discussions which Ed Vaizey has led have made progress. Google gives every impression of wanting to act responsibly - the question now is how. The devil of course will be in detail but I am hopeful that in 12 months’ time it will be harder to find illegal content on Google, and that websites that actually pay and value artists will be given greater priority in results. That will be the right and necessary thing for Google to do.”
Google currently offers copyright holders the option to submit takedown requests for individual search listings – but automatic de-ranking is an
London’s 100 Club rocks on after listings blow n BY TOM PAKINKIS
The future of London’s legendary 100 Club is still safe, despite the rejection of its application to become a recognised heritage site.
That’s according to the venue’s director Jeff Horton, who told Music Week that although the decision was “very disappointing” it was “in no way going to jeopardise our future”.
English Heritage authorities submitted an application that, if approved, would have seen the rock venue gain a Grade II listing as “the oldest continuously running (and surviving) live music venue in the capital”. However, Government Minister for Tourism & Heritage John Penrose dismissed the bid.
“Being listed with English Heritage would have helped us considerably,” said Horton. “For instance, it makes life very difficult for landlords to start putting the rent up massively. And if people wanted to take us over, they’d have had to apply for Grade II listing planning and that costs an absolute fortune.
“We’ve lost that advantage, which is very disappointing, but at the end of the day the 100 Club has come through tougher times than someone somewhere deciding that we’re not worth being a Heritage site.”
The 100 Club, which came close to going out of business in late 2010 following rent increases, now benefits from a altogether thornier issue. Google would not be drawn on its initial reaction to the draft Code. However, a spokesman told Music Week:
“Google is committed to limiting online piracy. Existing copyright laws protect and encourage creativity and we are keen to continue working with major rights holders to ensure that creators of content benefit from their work and connect with new audiences.” n Turn to page 18 to read Geoff Taylor’s ‘Body Talk’ editorial.
partnership with footwear group Converse.
“We’re very lucky to have Converse on board, and we’re looking at some very exciting projects over 2012 and looking into 2013 with them,” added Horton, promising “one or two big announcements in the next couple of months”.