Music industry accuses Google of slacking on piracy fight

Google said it complies with about 97 percent of the take-down notices.

But in his blog post, Buckles claimed that Google imposes "artificial limits" on copyright owners' ability to search for infringing content and request that it be deleted.

"Google has the resources to allow take downs that would more meaningfully address the piracy problem it recognizes, given that it likely indexes hundreds of millions of links per day," Buckles wrote.

In a statement, Google senior copyright counsel Fred von Lohmann said the limits are just a safeguard to ensure the company isn't overwhelmed by a flood of requests.

"We have never imposed any limit on the number of [Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)] notices that a copyright owner or reporting organization may send us, although we do have some technical safeguards in our trusted partner program (where submitters may be using automated mechanisms to send large volumes) as a safeguard against accidental flooding of the system," he explained.

The RIAA's Buckles said Google's data on the portion of websites that include infringing content is "misleading."

Google noted that many of the websites most frequently targeted by take-down requests have so much content that the requests account for less than 1 percent of the total material on the site.

But Buckles said much of the other content on the site is likely infringing as well. He claimed the statistics are low because of the constraints that Google places on copyright holders. 

"If these constraints did not exist, how many more links on these sites might be identified?" he asked. 

He pointed to Google's calculation that it received take-down notices for less than .1 percent of file-sharing site filestube. "For anyone who knows filestube, this seems unlikely, especially given that Google’s data doesn’t include DMCA notices sent directly to the site," Buckles wrote.

He said the current process for taking down infringing material "is not working" 

"Google is routinely directing people to unlawful sources of content, which is clearly at odds with data that suggests most people rely on search engines to identify trusted websites at the top of search results," Buckles wrote. "If Google truly doesn’t want its search results directing people to materials that violate copyright laws, more should be done to address this problem."

Google's data refers only to the links it takes down from its search results, and not other services such as YouTube.

Von Lohmann said the company decided to focus the project at first on its search results because they "remove more results in response to copyright removal notices than for any other reason."

Google and the RIAA were on opposite sides of the battle over anti-piracy legislation earlier this year. The House's Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate's Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) would have forced Google and other search engines to delete links to entire websites if they were deemed "dedicated to copyright infringement."

Under current law, Google only has to delete links to the infringing content itself — not the entire website hosting it.

The RIAA, along with movie studios and other business groups, said the legislation was necessary to protect industry profits and jobs.

But Google and other Web companies warned the bills would have stifled innovation and censored free speech.

Congress dropped the legislation after a massive protest led by Google and other websites led to a backlash of voter anger over the issue. 

—Updated at 6:03 p.m.