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On The Nose, Google Now Accused Of Fostering Illegal Activities

Last week Google management, who like to get their own way and are known for nobbling people who go against them, has this time been slammed by Village Roadshow bosses who have accused them of facilitating illegal activities in Australia.

Already under investigation in the USA after Google sacked an employee for simply passing an opinion the Company is now attracting the wrath of local cinema operators over their attitude to illegal piracy. Google is also coming under intense regulatory pressure around the world over a long list of issues including its role in facilitating hate attacks, trolling, fake news, cyber-bullying, and secret communication by ­terrorists.

Graham Burke the Co-CEO of Village Roadshow told the Australian, that he had grown frustrated and impatient with Google efforts to stamp out rampant film and television ­piracy, singling out the company as a guilty party.

“Google are not doing enough and could do a lot more”, noting that infringements are endemic ­despite official action to curb it.

The Australian found that ­Google’s search engine made it easy to find sites offering free downloads of movies and TV shows within a few clicks.

A search for “free streaming sites” yielded the names of ­piracy websites, and even suggested other searches a user could ­perform to find them.

YouTube, the video-sharing site owned by Google, produced results containing how-to-guides to illegal viewing that have been watched millions of times by users. A spokesman for Google said: “We take protecting creativity online seriously, and we’re doing more to help battle copyright-infringing activity than ever before. The best way to battle ­piracy is with better, more convenient, legitimate alternatives.” Nevertheless, Google did not comment on why it had not removed these results, and instead gave a link to a blog detailing the tech giant’s piracy initiatives that was published in July last year.

Mr Burke said he was shocked to discover how simple and uncomplicated it was to access illegal streams using Google’s services.

To test the strength of Google’s anti-piracy measures Mr Burke recently used the search engine at home to do his own analysis.

He found Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed blockbuster Dunkirk with no difficultly, and then ran into trouble when his computer was infected by a malware virus that paralysed the system and asked for his credit card details.

Last week the film and TV industries claimed a victory after winning federal court ­approval to block 42 websites that provide ­pirated streams of Lion and other films.

Village Roadshow won its legal proceedings against telco services, forcing them to block ­domain names.

It comes as an inquiry into the future of public interest journalism resumes today, with ­public hearings in Melbourne and Sydney.

On Tuesday, Google Australia and New Zealand managing director Jason Pellegrino, and head of public policy Ishtar Vij will front the committee. Among the issues raised at the hearings has been the way in which Google and other behemoths like Facebook take the work of journalists and exploit it to corner the market in online advertising. American ­author Jonathan Taplin in his new book, Move Fast and Break Things, estimated “piracy” costs its ­victims collectively an estimated £US40 billion ($50bn) a year.

In Australia, the competition regulator is set to launch a probe into Google and Facebook’s ­impact on consumers and advertisers following pressure from ­senator Nick Xenophon.

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