Google knows how to be heard, and the company has the money to back up its words. Google has the wherewithal to flex its muscle when it really matters. Where does anti-piracy fit into Google’s priorities?
This week an article in AdAge chronicled the growth of Google’s advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C. After having spent $18.2 million in its lobbying efforts, Google now ranks eighth in advocacy expenditures. That’s a dramatic increase from where Google started 10 years ago. At that time, the company began by employing just two lobbyists.
The efforts are paying off in those arenas that Google cares about most. The company’s influence is exercised and felt regularly at the FTC, FCC and at the White House. At present, Google has taken on the NSA. It’s now fighting intrusions into its data which left it “outraged.” In an interview with the the Wall Street Journal Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said the NSA’s tactics were “not OK” and “perhaps illegal.” Since the revelations made by former NSA staffer Edward Snowden Google has begun an all out campaign at the White House and in Congress to protect its data.
This is all to set up the question we asked at the outset – Where does anti-piracy fit into the equation? Apparently, it’s nowhere near the top. Google continues to pay lip service to anti-piracy efforts. It touts its take down efforts and initiatives to ban ads from pirate sites. Yet those takedowns lack teeth – the same sites or proxies are up in a matter of days or even hours. Ads are directed pirate sites despite claims to the contrary.
When Google’s anti-piracy efforts are unsuccessful it throws up its corporate arms, asking in effect, “What can we do?” That response is, for lack of a better term, disingenuous. Piracy is a problem that can be remediated with effort which in this case at least can be translated to mean money. For a company that can throw millions into supporting or opposing government policies and creating whimsical projects around the world, Google has proven to be reticent when it comes to protecting the content of others. It’s time for Google to show that its old motto of “Do No Evil,” is actually more than words.