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Google censors torrents

Written by Michael Carr on February 2, 2011

In what comes as another blow to free downloading following the case in the US where a woman was ordered to pay $1.5 million in damages for downloading 24 songs Google have announced they will be censoring particular terms from their search engine after calls from the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America, making life just a little bit harder for those illegal download enthusiasts out there.

The terms that will be censored are “torrent”, “BitTorrent”, and “utorrent” as well as web-hosts Megaupload and RapidShare, and while the move has been welcomed by the music and film industry alike, the censored sites such as RapidShare have already called the move arbitrary.

“RapidShare is one of the most popular websites worldwide,” a representative of the site said to TorrentFreak. “Every day hundreds of thousands of users rely on our services to pursue their perfectly legitimate interests. That is why Google has obviously gone too far with censoring the results of its suggest algorithm. A search engine’s results should reflect the users’ interests and not Google’s or anybody else’s.”

While I don’t condone illegal downloads (although due to my weak morals I still partake in them) this move seems like a pathetic attempt on Google’s part to get the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America off their back. Anyone who’s downloaded music before more than likely has these sites in their history, or bookmarked, and all this will do is make life a little bit harder for these people. You could say even the slightest of hindrances to downloading is good, but realistically if the labels and studios just took a leaf out of people like Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead‘s books and gave fans an incentive to pay for their product rather than force it on them, downloading wouldn’t be as much of a problem for them.

You see the reason why downloading, and downloading music in particular, has become so rampant is that the record industry has commodified music to the point where people no longer really connect the end product with the artist who made it because we have been so inundated with disposable music over the years it’s lost it’s relative worth. Add to this the fact we moved from viynl to CDs, possibly the worst format ever in my mind (whatever happened to minidisks, they were sick) and it’s plain to see that it is because of the wide spread commercialisation of music that people feel comfortable stealing it. We feel as though we’re stealing from some large faceless corporation rather than the musicians. For the music industry to truly overcome the scourge of downloading what they need to do is to get people wanting to buy albums again because they love and want to support the artists rather than just stopping people getting it for free and forcing them to pay, which in my case, only further compels me to get it for free out of spite.

Anyway excuse the rant, please make your own views known below.

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