Having abandoned its pursuit of individual music thieves long ago, the Recording Industry Association of America now wages a broader effort, seeking to shut down virtual source(s) of piracy — or in this case, prevent you from discovering them via Google. The organization yesterday posted what it calls a "report card" on the search giant's efforts to protect copyright in the digital realm and suffice to say, in the the eyes of the RIAA, the folks in Mountain View still have a long way to go. The document — put forward as Congress nears a potentially game-changing vote on SOPA — recounts steps Google pledged to follow last year, and offers criticism on nearly every front.
To start, the record execs hint that the company should be investing more heavily in the cause, particularly when inadvertently cashing in on AdSense clicks that originate from infringing websites. The report also paints Google's removal of pirate-friendly autocomplete suggestions as not extensive enough, complaining that "mp3 free" and "mp3 download" still accompany the names of popular artists in the search field. Another major point of contention is the lack of vetting in the Android Market which, says the RIAA, has led to a number of apps that offer unsanctioned downloads. Yet the harshest words are reserved for Google's process of acting on takedown requests, which the trade group deems far too sluggish for a company with a reputation "built on its ability to respond to search requests within nanoseconds."
Naturally the RIAA has plenty of suggestions for improvement, not the least of which include better flagging utilities for rightsholders and prioritizing reputable sites over questionable results in search. These may seem like reasonable requests, but the recent Megaupload debacle revealed that Google already extends rather generous privileges to industry players, particularly when — as Ars Technica points out — it remains unclear how proactive the company is legally required to be in the anti-piracy quest to begin with.