Cary Sherman, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), has called on Google and other search engines to automatically block all links to copyright-infringing sites.

His request was part of a speech yesterday at a Congressional hearing on 'The Future of Audio'.

At the request of the RIAA, Google has already removed 31,922 links to unlicensed content since last July. The search engine has, however, been reluctant to block entire websites – something that it is not obliged to do under America's Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Sherman said: "We hope intermediaries like search engines will follow [major advertisers and ad agencies] in negotiating voluntary marketplace best practices to prevent directing users to sites that are dedicated to violating property rights".

What may surprise some is that the RIAA's UK equivalent, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), submitted 182,805 takedown requests to Google and Microsoft was even busier with 536,716 requests.

Small-fi

The RIAA's Brad Buckles has argued in a blog post that those numbers are nothing when compared to the total number of Google's links to illegal content.

Buckles wrote: "Knowing the total number of links to infringing material available and the limitations Google imposes on rights owners to search for infringements reveals how meagre the number of notices is relative to the vast amount of infringement".

The Pirate Bay, one of the sites that the takedown notices target (and that has been blocked entirely by major UK ISPs) is seemingly unconcerned by this pressure on Google from the RIAA.

In a blog post the site's operators wrote: "Right now about 10% of our traffic comes from these competing search engines. With that ban... users will go directly to us instead and use our search instead. It's really hard to compete with Google, but if they can't index media search engines like us, we'll be the dominant player in the end. So from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU RIAA".

Via CMU