Next-Generation Piracy: How Search Engines Will Destroy the Music Business
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UCLA Entertainment Law Review

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Next-Generation Piracy: How Search Engines Will Destroy the Music Business


This Comment seeks to address the problems that search engines

create for the music business in our ever-evolving digital society.

Piracy costs are now measured in billions, encompassing lost revenue

and job cutbacks. As the world becomes even more dependent on the

Internet for entertainment, piracy can only get worse. Although in the

United States piracy has been addressed with respect to P2P file

sharing services, record companies are coming upon an era where

search engines will enable effective, quick, and simple piracy. This

evolution has already taken hold in China, a country where 99 percent

of music files are estimated to be pirated, and copyright infringement is

as easy as typing a song name into a specialized search engine. The

problem is slowly starting to be felt domestically. Although Supreme

Court precedents have addressed the issues of P2P file sharing,

current statutes and decisions are unequipped to deal with the next

generation of search engines.


This Comment argues that although search engines might be held

responsible for some of their contributions to piracy through the court

system, ultimately, the fundamentals which make up the business model

of music companies must change. Statutes, court decisions, and

society are comfortable allowing an open and unrestricted Internet,

ensuring that search engine capabilities will not be curbed As the

digital age progresses, recording companies will bleed money until

they are faced with a choice: adapt or die. This Comment proposes

that to survive, recording companies must delve deep into alternative

revenue streams, leaving behind their pursuit of pure music in the

process. Ultimately, pure music as an art form will vanish.

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