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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.

  • Jason Macaree

    Yeah, I’ve got this too. It appeared after updating last night

    • Mathspy

      (Wish I had a Chromebook)

      • Naga Tudor

        Buy one…its cheap;)

        • Mathspy

          I would! If I can…

          I live in a developing country that will probably never develop to be honest XD And they are not sold here anywhere

          • MaitreyaVyas

            Yea. It’s not available here too … India

  • If I may clarify two quick things:

    Yes, this was distributed with the latest dev channel release, no the name isn’t indicative of anything related to messaging. As it so happens, Google is very found of using variables for app names in order to serve locales properly. For example, the name in the manifest.json file of the “Google Forms” app is actually “name”: “__MSG_appName__”. There is then an accompanying folder called “_locales” that contains a different manifest.json file with the proper name for each specific language.

    Unfortunately, that’s all I have to say on the subject right now. Until I locate the Extension ID I can’t pull up the files associated with it to dig through. Without having done that, I don’t feel like I’m in a position to speculate as to what this could be.

    • Very true, I didn’t think of variables; however, the general UI just looks like it could be a messaging app of some sort. iMessages uses this layout, as do many other mobile email clients (including Gmail).

      I just can’t wait to see what it becomes.

      • Just because the name isn’t a clue doesn’t mean the other points are invalid :)

        I’m still not yet ready to call this anything other than a mystery. It’s entirely possible this was an accidental release of a project that will be shuttered before it ever gets launched. I don’t like to get my hopes up until I have more concrete evidence to work with. I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for related items though, thanks for bringing it to our attention ;)

        Edit: Solved it, I have confirmed it is indeed a help center. More here:

  • Devon Garber

    Well, unless he and I have the same app it isn’t because of a third party app. But I do wonder what it is.

  • Unfortunately, I won’t see what becomes of this app any time soon because I’m getting my Chromebook replaced, and it won’t arrive for two weeks. :(

    (For those of you who are curious, it has a defective graphics processing unit)

    • What model ChromeBook has the defective parts? Is a certain group of the model or all models? You probably aren’t privy to that information. I was just wanting to see if I need to start looking in to another ChromeBook. Mine is a Acer C7 modified to hold 8GB of RAM. When I do have to replace it I’ve got to be able to find a machine that either comes with 8GB or more, or it will have to be upgradable. Unfortunately this voids my warranty, but with only 2GB I felt I needed an upgrade. I voided my warranty approximately 5 days after getting this one. Viva La Chrome OS!

      • It’s the ARM Chromebook. This one is definitely not for you because it does NOT have upgradable RAM, unfortunately. My unit was defective, but I seem to be one of the few who have gotten a defective unit, as I have not found any other users posting about this issue.

      • shadowguy14

        My ARM Chromebook broke to. Beware.

    • shadowguy14

      I just got mine fixed because of the same thing! Sounds to common for the ARM Chromebook…

  • spike mike

    When you click the “?” from the right clock menu, it brings up this app.


    The bug report is now blocked.

  • joedoe47

    here is the problem with that. freedom of speech, am I not allowed to view what users on the piratebay post? will apple even make an itunes web app for chrome? google can not profile data based on countries where you have rights, even if those rights are made up, you need to let people read and say what they want. piracy is a problem but blocking access to certain websites is unfair for people just using the web. I mean first the ISPs with bit torrent traffic and now they want to limit the access to certain websites they deem are “immoral”. Get out of town, RIAA.

    • piracy is a problem just for the 1%… the rest of us have no problem with that

      • Jop

        We all getting less/worse products and products being stolen is a problem for 1%?

        • lewishnl

          Jop you’re wrong. Most piracy is not because the user can but because they have no choice but to pirate, e.g. they can’t get the programme/film/song elsewhere or can’t afford it. They aren’t going to be able to change that by telling people that piracy is bad…

  • Jop

    That’s a very good idea! Brilliant! I hope they will do this! :)

    • I think there should be a continue button, but it should have this. I don’t feel it’s Google’s responsibility to restrict piracy, but they should at least /try/ to make the user feel bad about it.

      By the way, you’re probably going to get a lot of heat for supporting this (unfortunately :( )

      • Jop

        I don’t think a continue button would do any good…

        (I am not the one who downvoted you however ;)

    • Caledar

      dafuq is wrong with you?

      • Jop

        Why do you think it is bad?

        • Caledar

          because I’m pro pirating stuff.. xD

          Just as long as you can continue onward to the page…

          • Jop

            Why are you pro theft? You think the people who worked so hard on making something don’t deserve anything?

          • Caledar

            No that’s not it. In fact I do think they do deserve to be paid. I think copyright restricts the sharing of content, especially content that’s not available in the shops.. Its super easy, stuff is overpriced, I wasn’t going to buy it anyway.. Maybe you should just go ahead and call me a cheap bastard :)

          • the_immortal

            Things are not overpriced, they are just priced and you will have to deal with that.

          • Caledar

            hence, I the argument “I wouldn’t have bought it anyway..”

          • Dral

            – The_immortal with login problems:
            I also don’t buy a private jet because of the money, is that a reason to steal it?

          • Caledar

            Good point.

          • Jop

            Don’t fool yourself. I can’t believe you really wouldn’t watch any movies etc. if piracy didn’t exist.

          • Jop

            I do not agree stuff is overpriced. Some things are a bit expensive indeed (for example, Nintendo’s games) but these things generally stay fun long enough that it’s worth it. Things that stay fun for a shorter while are generally cheaper, too. Prices are generally balanced if you ask me. Also, keep in mind games and movies generally take at least a year to make!

            Ethically getting stuff is easy, too. For music there is Spotify, for movies there is Netflix, for videogames there is Steam, etc.

            I personally think a movie is a better investment then a stack of pizza’s, because you can eat a stack of pizza’s only once, but you can watch a movie again, and again, and again. (I’m not saying buying a pizza isn’t worth it :D)

          • Guest

            True true, but when I’m hungry I know which one I’ll be choosing. With piracy I’m creating copies at my cost. I get the best of both worlds.

          • Caledar

            Also if I hurt the profits of a corporation, I’m causing a made up entity (corporation) to lose money, all the employees still get paid and if it goes broke because distribution is more efficient because of p2p then they’ve simply become obsolete.

            Btw, artists make like 50cents per cd sold. Fans will give them money go to their shows, but their merchandise etc.. Its not like its the end of music artists you know..

          • Jop

            You are now deliberately overlooking things. Those companies don’t only distribute stuff, they MAKE it too. So if an entertainment company would go bankrupt because of theft (which you are calling “efficient distribution”), there won’t come anything new out to steal.

            And while the chance that that happens is not high (though certainly possible for small companies), it’s also just unethical.

            This comment and your other “what’s wrong with you?” (formerly “dafuq is wrong with you?”) comment show that you are just trying to seek random excuses for justifying your unethical behavior. Stop being an asshole and properly pay for the stuff you enjoy. And if you don’t want to, don’t get them. Oh, and the “I wouldn’t have bought it anyway” thing: Don’t fool yourself, I can’t believe you really wouldn’t watch any movies etc. if piracy didn’t exist.

          • Caledar

            I see you’ve taken me up on my offer. Call me a cheap bastard ^ ^

          • Jop

            Being a cheap bastard isn’t an excuse for stealing.

            Also, see my blog post:

          • Caledar

            Stealing isn’t the right term for that.

  • Jim McDermott

    Hey, RIAA. Mind your own damn business! Not a pro or con theft stance, just not a fan of anyone telling me or directing me where to go. The RIAA is a bunch or lawyered up musicians who like to tell you what you can do with music once you purchase it. I buy it, it’s mine.