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Google Chrome Should Warn Users Visiting Pirate Sites Say RIAA

Google Chrome should warn users about pirate websites in the same way they are warned of malware, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has said.

Cary Sherman, CEO and Chairman of the RIAA, an organisation known for making draconian demands on internet freedoms, gave the suggestion in a statement to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee onCourts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet.

piracy warning in chrome

A tongue-in-cheek mock-up of what a warning box might look like

The lobby group argue that more anti-piracy countermeasures are needed to safeguard the digital marketplace from being ‘undermined by those engaged in illegal activity’. The RIAA’s ‘Copyright Alert System’ (aka ‘six strikes’) was introduced earlier this year.

Among the ideas proposed by Sherman in the document several pivot around the idea that Google should ’do more’ to help protect the rights of its members.

One idea is that Google should add anti-piracy filters to its Chrome browser that ‘warn’ users when they arrive on a website suspected of offering copyrighted material:

Google has tools in its Chrome browser to warn users if they are going to sites that may be malicious. Shouldn’t that technology be used to warn users of rogue sites? Or better yet, can Google use similar technology to highlight or identify sites that are authorized?

In his statement to the House he also suggests that Google add ‘certification marks‘ to search results so that legitimate sites selling copyrighted content are highlighted.

This, he proffers, would send an  ’educational message’ to searchers and potentially shape their habits to favour officially licensed, legal outlets highlighted in search.

Overkill? Considering that elsewhere in the statement he (and by proxy the RIAA) argue this gem, one suspects not:

There can be no doubt that search engines play a considerable role in leading users to illicit services and can be a key part of addressing infringing activity online.”

For now these remain suggestions. Google are pro-active in their engagement with the RIAA and other copyright holders in the fight against piracy.

But it’s unlikely that such a heavy-handed approach as this mooted ‘warning screen’ would ever find favour with them.