Skip to main content


September 18, 2013 | News Articles

RIAA CEO To Tout Voluntary Anti-Piracy Initiatives As Way Forward, Calls On Search Engines To Join The Effort

Asks Congress to facilitate discussion on DMCA in testimony before House IP panel

WASHINGTON – In testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Chairman & CEO Cary Sherman will emphasize the promising nature of current voluntary collaborations between content owners and intermediaries such as ISPs, payment processors, advertisers, ad networks and others to prevent online music theft and grow the legitimate marketplace, noting that the music business earns more than 60 percent of its revenues from digital sales and offers millions of songs from more than 500 authorized music services worldwide.

“We, like others in the creative communities, are working very hard to grow this digital marketplace, driving new technologies and services, and entering into new licenses and partnerships,” Sherman will testify.  “But in order to make this digital marketplace truly work, we must ensure that these vibrant new legitimate and authorized technologies are not undermined by those engaged in illegal activity.  Voluntary initiatives with Internet intermediaries are a key component of that objective.”

Sherman will call on search engines such as Google to take a page from current successful voluntary initiatives and work with the music community to meaningfully prevent illegal sources of music from appearing in top search results.

“Search engines are the roadmaps – indeed, the turn-by-turn directions – to rogue sites online,” says Sherman. “They can be a key part of addressing infringing activity, yet there is no voluntary agreement regarding search results that lead users to illegal activity.”

In his written remarks, as proof that search engines can do more to prevent online theft, Sherman points to a Google search conducted by RIAA staff on August 29, 2013 for mp3s or downloads of the recent top 50 Billboard tracks whereby an illegal site for which Google has received more than 1.25 million copyright removal notices consistently shows up in the top five search results. If Google implements voluntary steps to demote clearly illegal sites and promote legitimate sites that pay creators and marks them as licensed, this could have a profound and positive impact on user experience and behavior, notes Sherman.

Sherman also will ask Congress to help facilitate discussions on how to make the “notice and takedown” provisions of the DMCA more effective and meaningful so that copyright owners and service providers are not unduly burdened under the current process, but will stress that voluntary discussions are preferable to any legislative effort.

“While unilateral enforcement efforts and legislative options have played a large part in our past and may necessarily play a role going forward, we truly believe that strengthening our partnerships and mutual efforts through voluntary initiatives is preferable and can be much more effective,” says Sherman.

A copy of Sherman’s testimony can be viewed here.