Google and music downloads

The creator of a popular YouTube video that shows how to use Google searches to find MP3 files has gone one step further and created a Web page with a search box that does the work for you. How will the recording industry react?

Matt Rosoff
Matt Rosoff is an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, where he covers Microsoft's consumer products and corporate news. He's written about the technology industry since 1995, and reviewed the first Rio MP3 player for CNET.com in 1998. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network. Disclosure. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattrosoff.
Matt Rosoff

A few months ago, JimmyR-dot-com (aka Jimmy Ruska) posted a YouTube video that showed users how to conduct a Google search for free, unprotected music files. Essentially, by modifying search terms with a few extra key words, a user can limit results to underlying directory pages rather than user-facing Web pages. The video proved quite popular, garnering more than 300,000 views.

Recently, he went one step further and created a Web page that modifies the search for you--all you have to do is enter the song title, and you'll receive a Google search page with links to directories containing an MP3 file with that text in the file name. These are often full MP3 versions of the song in question. Artist or album names also work.

This just shows the complete inadequacy of the record industry's attempts to crack down on illegal file-sharing by suing file-sharing networks and their users. Even if the RIAA tried to shut down this site, others could easily spring up. And suing Google would be a much harder task.

The root problem: audio CDs aren't copy-protected. Anybody with the right software can rip an audio track and post it publicly. The methods of discovering these postings might change over time, but the root problem won't go away.

(Thanks to Coolfer for pointing out the site.)