In the ongoing battle between the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) – the infamous trade organization that represents the music industry – and anyone infringing on copyrights (in this case, Google), a new strategy has emerged. As of this morning, the RIAA submitted a collective 10,000,000 take down demands to the tech giant on behalf of member labels Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment.
This “avalanche method” (as Digital Music News calls it) aims to mire Google in time-consuming “compliance chores.” Though Google possesses the infrastructure and resources to handle such a deluge, the number of demands filed by the RIAA has reached a level so onerous that Google’s legal director Fred von Lohmann issued a public complaint to begin rethinking copyright law and its implications.
Digital Music News also notes that, while Google should be able to plow through the increased volume of complaints, “the tactic could be extremely effective outside of the Google theater”:
“After all, Google can bitch all they want, but they can handle it. But what about smaller, struggling opponents, like Grooveshark? Here’s where a massive avalanche could be extremely effective: after all, Grooveshark is currently saddled with massive legal bills and, according to our sources, exiting personnel. All of which makes a sudden avalanche a major compliance problem, and a serious legal vulnerability.”
On the other hand, it is clear that loopholes exist which allow those guilty of copyright infringement to continue operating with relative impunity, as evidenced by this chart detailing the top offenders on Google’s copyright removal requests list:
Another step in much larger discussion about the current and future nature of copyright law that is far from over. Ideally, Google can use its position as one of the world’s foremost content hubs to help advance the conversation in ways that can be beneficial for both creators and consumers.