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Google to record companies: let's be friends

Hey, remember when everyone used to worry about online piracy killing the music and film industries? And then iTunes launched, and the record and film companies made record profits, and we all kinda stopped worrying about it.

Well, we might have done, but they didn't, it turns out. Record companies in particular are still mighty het up about people downloading things from all over the internet rather than approved legal providers. And they're mad at Google for making it easier.

Type a big name artist into Google - try Lady Gaga - and in the list of suggestions that pops up, you'll probably find 'Lady Gaga torrents'. Searches for bittorrent files - almost always illegal - are some of the most common, so they show up high in Google search results.

Google has now agreed that 'words that are associated with piracy' won't appear in its auto-suggested search terms. We're pretty sure that mainly refers to one word, 'torrent.' So everything should be rosy, right? Well, not really. The record company wants Google to go much further and remove 'illegal sites' from its search results entirely.

This would kill the torrent scene stone-dead - but there's no way Google will do it. Apart from anything else, what the record companies mean by 'illegal sites' is anyone's guess - it's not the sites that are illegal, it's the stuff being shared on them...

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