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UK culture secretary backs the BPI in Google 'piracy' fight

Sajid Javid threatens search firms with legislation
Tue Sep 02 2014, 14:34
The UK government is counting down to anti-piracy legislation

UK CULTURE SECRETARY Sajid Javid has told the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) that he supports its complaints about 'piracy' on the internet and is prepared to write legislation aimed at internet search firms like Google and Microsoft.

Javid was speaking at the BPI's annual meeting and presumably received a warm reception for his statements about copyright infringement and what blaggards the internet search engines have become.

He told his audience that the BPI and its industry represent a huge and impressive UK market, saying that it is worth some £4.5bn and employs a quarter of a million people. However, he added that it is being stitched up by the 21st century.

"I know the 21st century has not always been kind to you. The rise of new technology, new platforms and new ways of sharing and experiencing music has created a wealth of opportunities," he said. "But it has also brought with it new challenges for the industry and new dangers."

Javid said that while the industry and the government have done a lot to support a market that pulls in a lot of cash but closes a lot of high street stores, the same cannot be said of the technology industry and he invoked recent comments from colleague Mike Weatherby on just this topic.

"The digital age has created new threats for copyright holders around the world," he added, "We wouldn't stand idly by if paintings worth hundreds of millions of pounds were being stolen from the National Gallery. Copyright infringement is theft, pure and simple. And it's vital we try to reduce it."

The way to reduce it is to make it harder to find, he added, and the firms that can do that are Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, which he said he has told to "step up".

"Vince Cable and I have written to Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, asking them to work with you to stop search results sending people to illegal sites," he added.

"And let me be perfectly clear: if we don't see real progress, we will be looking at a legislative approach."

The BPI has espoused this view for a long time and, like the government, regularly chides internet search firms.

Last year Google said that it removes hundreds of thousands of copyright infringing links every year. µ


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