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Rock stars accuse search engines of enabling music piracy

Elton John, Robert Plant, and Pete Townshend say Google and its competitors should be forced to do more to hinder illegal downloads.

Some of music's biggest names have accused Google and its competitors of not doing enough to prevent music piracy.

Rock legends Elton John, Robert Plant, and Pete Townshend were among 11 signatories of a letter addressed to British Prime Minister David Cameron said it was time that search engines, Internet service providers, and online advertisers to "play their part in protecting consumers and creators from illegal sites."

The letter also calls for the immediately implementation of the the Digital Economy Act 2010, antipiracy legislation passed two years ago.

CNET has contacted Google for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

Recent court orders in Europe forcing ISPs to place blocks on their systems to prevent customer access to The Pirate Bay apparently did little to curb illegal file-sharing. One major U.K. broadband provider reported that peer-to-peer traffic on its network returned to "just below normal" only a week after it was forced to block access.

The letter, as received by the Telegraph:

Sir -- As the world's focus turns to the UK this summer, there is an opportunity to stimulate growth in sectors where the UK has a competitive edge. Our creative industries represent one such sector, which creates jobs at twice the speed of the rest of the economy.

Britain's share of the global music market is higher than ever with UK artists, led by Adele, breaking through to global stardom. As a digitally advanced nation whose language is spoken around the world, the UK is well positioned to increase its exports in the digital age. Competition in the creative sector is in talent and innovation, not labour costs or raw materials.

We can realise this potential only if we have a strong domestic copyright framework, so that UK creative industries can earn a fair return on their huge investments creating original content. Illegal activity online must be pushed to the margins. This will benefit consumers, giving confidence they are buying safely online from legal websites.

The simplest way to ensure this would be to implement swiftly the long overdue measures in the Digital Economy Act 2010; and to ensure broadband providers, search engines and online advertisers play their part in protecting consumers and creators from illegal sites.

We are proud of our cultural heritage and believe that we and our sector can play a much bigger role in supporting UK growth. To continue to create world beating creative content, we need a little bit of help from our friends.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Cowell
Roger Daltrey CBE
Professor Green
Sir Elton John CBE
The Lord Lloyd Webber
Dr Brian May CBE
Robert Plant
Roger Taylor
Tinie Tempah
Pete Townshend
Katie Melua