The war of words between search engine giant Google and rights holders has intensified this week, after the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) released a damning report labeling Google a major gateway for pirates.
The MPAA, Hollywood's main trade lobby group, released a report on Wednesday titled Understanding the Role of Search in Online Piracy. The report, commissioned by the MPAA, accuses Google of being helping users to navigate to infringing content, even when the user wasn't initially looking for such content.
The report is based on a study that interviewed more than 500 US and UK users that visited an infringing website between December and January 2013. According to the report, 74% of those surveyed used a search engine as a navigational tool for their first ever visit to an infringing website.
The study also found that 58% of search results contained links to infringing content, even when the search terms only contained the name of the content, and no specific piracy related keywords. The study also says that Google's downranking system, where it penalizes websites that have received too many infringement notices, has not been effective, and that penalized websites are still receiving the same share of referral traffic from Google.
The MPAA played up the findings of the study at a press conference in Washington. "This study reaffirms the significant responsibility that search engines share with all of us in the Internet ecosystem to help prevent the theft of movies and TV shows online," said Chris Dodd, chairman of the MPAA.
Google has not issued a statement at this time on the matter.