The recording industry has long been critical of Google’s handling of its search results, and several months ago, the RIAA and IFPI accused Google of profiting from piracy, and throwing up roadblocks to prevent copyright holders from removing infringing material. According to a leaked document, this war of words might be headed to court soon. Industry groups have obtained confidential legal opinions on the viability of a lawsuit against Google.
For its part, Google has always said it is only indexing the Internet as it exists. To proactively weed out everything that could be copyright infringing would break search and be nearly impossible anyway. The document details the ways Google has been cooperating with the industry, including providing a batch search interface to assist in tracking down infringing sites, and compliance in shutting down a number of Blogger sites hosting copyrighted content. The legal document claims that is not enough.
A lawsuit would seek to force Google to stop providing links to pirate websites in search results. The RIAA and IFPI would essentially be arguing on antitrust grounds that Google’s market position should require it to censor its search results. If the case is filed as explained in the document, it would be truly unprecedented.