Culture Secretary Sajid Javid has warned internet search engine comapnies like Google and Yahoo that if “real progress” hasn’t been made to clamp down on links to pirate websites, they could be facing new legislation.
Mr. Javid reinforced the Government’s tough stance on copyright infringement and stressed that more must be done to tackle illegal sites.
In a speech to senior music industry figures, Mr. Javid said he and Business Secretary Vince Cable had written to leading companies like Google requesting that they work closely with firms to find a solution to stop giving easy access to sites which clearly violate copyright.
He referred to figures from Ofcom, in which almost 200 million music tracks were “consumed illegally” in only three months of last year.
Mr Javid said: ” No industry – and no Government – can let this level of infringement continue on such a massive, industrial scale.
“I know some people say the IP genie is out of the bottle and that no amount of wishing will force it back in. But I don’t agree with them.
“Copyright infringement is theft, pure and simple. And it’s vital we try to reduce it.”
He continued: ” 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.
“And let me be perfectly clear, if we don’t see real progress, we will be looking at a legislative approach.”
He said the Government, the music industry and technology companies such as Google have to work together to solve the issue of piracy in the UK.
“We are all connected, we all have a role to play, and we must all work alongside each other to build a fair and legal online economy,” he said.
Backed by the Government, a campaign, reinforced with £3.5 million – Creative Content UK – is being launched in the coming months in an effort to deter UK consumers to only download music from legal sites, such as iTunes, HMV etc.
It will include an education awareness drive and will see some internet providers advising customers if their accounts are thought to be being used to access material which infringes copyright.