British music industry body the BPI has set a new milestone, but it’s announcing it in frustration rather than celebration. The body says it has just submitted its 500 millionth URL to Google, asking for it to be delisted from the company’s search engine on the grounds of copyright infringement. The BPI also says it has sent 398m removal notices to Microsoft for the Bing and Yahoo search engines, meaning it’s on course to reach 1bn total link submissions across those search engines this year.

Actually, the BPI’s announcement of these figures isn’t just criticising Google: it’s also acknowledging some of the progress that’s been made. Yes, BPI boss Geoff Taylor talked about “the staggering scale of the problem of illegal sites” reflected by the removal notices, but also praised a 2017 agreement with major search engines on a new code of practice.

“Persistent illegal sites are now regularly demoted out of search results, and together with the legal actions we bring to block illegal sites, this has significantly improved the quality of results presented to consumers,” he said. “The collaboration with search engines, including Google, sets a good example for online intermediaries and platforms, which must urgently take on greater responsibility to combat illegal content.” According to Google, 96.6% of the BPI’s URL submissions have resulted in removals.

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