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MPAA: Google Searches Lead to Pirated Content

18 Sep, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

More than 80% of searches for online, illegal content are coming via Google, and nearly three out of four consumers use a search engine to either discover or navigate their way to infringing content for the first time, according to a new report from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

Fifty-eight percent of searches used prior to viewing illegal content were generic, or title-specific keywords only.

According to the MPAA, consumers who view infringing content for the first time online are more than twice as likely to use a search engine the second time around. And consumers who use search engines to find infringing content conduct an average of 8.3 searches during their viewing session, compared with 4.3 searches for average Internet users. Repeat visitors to infringing content are more likely to search for domains that host the illegal content, compared to specific titles.

“This study reaffirms the significant responsibility that search engines share with all of us in the Internet ecosystem to help prevent the theft of movies and TV shows online,” said Sen. Chris Dodd, MPAA chairman and CEO. “Search engines bear responsibility for introducing people to infringing content — even people who aren’t actively looking for it. The TV and movie community is working every day to develop new and innovative ways to watch content online, and as the Internet’s gatekeepers, search engines share a responsibility to play a constructive role in not directing audiences to illegitimate content.”

According to the report, approximately 50% who search for infringing content can find it in two to seven minutes. Just under 10% can find it in less than a minute.

The study was based on a database of 12 million film and TV content URLs that were known to host infringing content from 2010 to 2012.

“For years, I have been making the case that responsible players in the Internet ecosystem — from payment processors to advertisers to [Internet service providers] — have a responsibility and a self-interest to take voluntary, good faith steps against rampant online piracy,” said U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. “This study shows that there is much more that search engines must do when it comes to pointing consumers towards legal outlets. By supporting legitimate sites rather than illegal ones, everyone wins — content creators, the U.S. economy, and consumers themselves.”

The MPAA estimates that content creators lose $16.3 billion in earnings each year to copyright piracy, and that piracy results in the loss of 141,000 jobs in the movie industry.

Earlier in September, Google released a report on its anti-piracy practices, noting that it gets 4 million requests each week for the takedown of illegally shared content. The company said that more than 4,000 content partners, including studios and broadcasters, use its Content I.D. automated video content identification system, and that it disabled ads to 46,000 infringing

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