Google’s Schmidt: Hollywood Should Take Content Pirates To Court

piracy-cdsGoogle’s Eric Schmidt says that the entertainment industry should focus on taking content pirates to court, rather than just trying to get Google (and other search engines) to remove pirate sites from search results.

His comments, reported by Variety, came yesterday during an impromptu chat with reporters at an annual financial conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.

“The industry would like us to edit the web and literally delete sites, and that goes counter to our philosophy,” Schmidt is quoted as saying.

But Google does remove pages. The company announced at the end of 2012 that it had removed 50 million web pages from its index in response to piracy reports filed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In August of last year, Google also announced a special algorithm change — we’re calling it the Pirate Update — that penalizes sites repeatedly accused of copyright infringement.

But the reality of the situation is that fighting online piracy is like a game of whack-a-mole. For every web page that gets removed, pirates are easily able to create several new pages that host the same content.

The RIAA and other entertainment industry groups have long been critical of Google (and Bing, too) for not doing enough to help crack down on pirated entertainment content — movies, songs and more.

According to Variety, Schmidt suggested that Hollywood should go beyond asking search engines to help, and instead look to the legal system.

Our position is that somebody’s making money on this pirated content and it should be possible to identify those people and bring them to justice.

Nikesh Arora, Google Chief Business Officer, also told reporters that Google has shut down 82,000 AdSense users that were found to be violating copyright in some way.

We’ve written about this topic quite a bit already, so see the related articles below for more background.

(Stock image via Used under license.)

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Legal | Google: Pirate Update | Legal: Copyright | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • George Michie

    The challenge for that approach is that you have thousands of pirates each making thousands of dollars — very difficult/inefficient for studios/publishers to go after each of these people who are nameless and faceless and hard to track. Google, on the other hand is making millions from the pirates’ AdSense and GDN ads. Much bigger target, and one that is easier to track down.

  • OrgSpring

    It will never happen, and for one reason only – cost. It would cost too much money to take pirates to court. EVERY studio is a vertically integrated company that reports to a parent company where the bottom line is profit.

    After the Time Warner AOL merger many years ago, then president Richard Parsons said, in regard to a journalist’s question about how the studio would handle piracy, that he’d rather release a movie straight to dvd (or straight to tv) than to push a movie to the theaters and risk piracy.

    With many more options now, like Google play store and Apple TV, to name just a few, the distribution model is much more favorable to skip theaters (and dvd’s altogether) and go straight to digital library content where the issue of piracy is, for the most part, mitigated.

    If anyone should consider suing pirates, it would be the theater chains. They stand to lose the most if the studios decide to skip theatrical releases in favor of digital libraries.

  • BMichaels

    Where have you been? Media companies like Viacom already have taken Google to court over YouTube.

  • BMichaels

    Your story takes Schmidt’s quoted statement out of context. He’s talking about profiteers from piracy such as bootleggers and sites that run for profit ads on tube sites, not your son/daughter/relative/neighbor/friend who’s watching movies for free at home.

  • Kaitensatsuma

    So….Hulu, Youtube?

  • Aholl Urang

    Coming from a rich fat guy that doesn’t care about our privacy….

  • a1brandz

    In practical it is hard to check content pirates as they are untraceable and still minting huge money.

  • Moose

    these companies don’t take them to court because the losses they make are less than taking the pirates to court! personally, i love piracy for films, tv, and music. its not like they don’t charge us enough money to watch/download, and then on top of that they slap a ton of adverts in our face! lower prices + less adverts = less piracy. ……. ITS NOT COMPLICATED.

  • Kyle Eggleston

    Google doesn’t HOST anything. They index them.

  • lisa741

    just as Janice responded I am inspired that a mother can profit $9038 in 4 weeks on the computer. have you seen this site w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

  • Josh

    Of course he would suggest that. I wonder if he also would suggest that privacy violators be taken to court, too. Oh, how about monopolies? What a joke this company has become.

  • Ken

    These websites can never be removed because G knows these are the hot keywords people look for.

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