Did you know you can find pirate sites through Google? That comes as a big shock to the Motion Picture Association of America, Hollywood's lobbying organization, which is very surprised to discover that it was able to find links to pirated content on Google if it searched for it.
In a new report published by the organization it paints a grim picture of search engines as enablers of piracy, Google in particular.
According to its research, almost 20 percent of traffic to pirate sites comes from search engines. It's actually 19.2 percent, but the MPAA rounds it up to 20. While Google uses a similar number to highlight the fact that most people don't use a search engine to find pirated content, the MPAA argues that this is still a huge amount of traffic.
It says that search engines provide some four billion visits to pirate sites in a year. For comparison, Google gets about three billion searches each day.
The report also argues that search engines are responsible for influencing some 74 percent of pirates. But it includes in this number both searches for generic content, which lead to pirate sites, but also navigational searches, i.e. people typing in the name of a site in Google rather than in the address bar.
This is why "Facebook," "YouTube," and, indeed, "Google" are the top searches by volume year over year. The same is true for people typing "the pirate bay." They're not influenced by Google, they obviously know what they want and would visit the site even if they didn't find the results they wanted by searching.
Regardless, the MPAA went before the Congress with this report to put pressure on Google to do "more" to fight online piracy. Ironically, it cited the fact that an algorithm change Google implemented last year didn't provide any tangible drop in piracy, as proof that the search engine needs even more aggressive changes. This is the perfect example of the MPAA's logic: if something doesn't work, you just need more if it.