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McGuinness lashes out at Google over music piracy sites

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

Published 31/01/2012 | 05:00

U2 manager Paul McGuinness has slammed Google as "a monopoly" and criticised the way it displays illegal download sites in search results.

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The music mogul launched a fierce attack on the search engine as he outlined his views on online piracy.

Google has been campaigning against proposed legislation in the US aimed at stopping this type of illegal online piracy.

But speaking at MIDEM, an annual music trade fair held at Cannes in France, Mr McGuinness said: "Never underestimate the ability of a monopoly to defend itself."

He attacked Google's policy of including pirate sites in its search results.

"It amazes me that Google has not done the right thing. The experience of people when they go on Google and look for U2 music, or PJ Harvey music, is a shopping list of illegal opportunities to get their music. They have done nothing meaningful to discourage it," said Mr Guinness.

Often called 'the fifth member of U2', the 61-year-old Dublin-based music manager asked why technology companies were not more "far sighted".

He wants to see illegal download sites -- where internet users can obtain thousands of songs, films or other files for free -- blocked from search engines such as Google.

He said that companies such as Google were "incredibly clever people with enormous resources".

"Why are they not trying to solve the future in a more generous way? Ultimately it is in their interest that the flow of content will continue, and that won't happen unless it's paid for."

The U2 manager said he would be more likely to give previews of U2's next album to traditional radio than an online service like Spotify.

"At the moment I'm inclined to treat it (Spotify) as a promotional medium. If we have to choose where to put records on their debut we're unlikely to give it to Spotify.

"We have arrangements like that around the world with people we've worked with over the years. Spotify has yet to become popular with artists because artists don't see the financial benefit of working with Spotify."

Irish Independent

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