Google was also named as a leading force behind a technology industry effort to erode the legal protections relied upon by the creative sector. It noted widespread suspicion that the search engine’s links to Downing Street helped it influence the Hargreaves Review, which recommended relaxing copyright laws.
The MPs said: “We are deeply concerned that there is an underlying agenda driven at least partly by technology companies (Google foremost among them) which, if pursued uncritically, could cause irreversible damage to the creative sector on which the United Kingdom’s future prosperity will significantly depend.”
The report was welcomed by creative industry bodies.
UK Music chief executive Jo Dipple said: “Google has to stop feeding up unlicensed free content.
Geoff Taylor of the BPI said: “We also agree with the unequivocal finding that Google should end its practice of listing known illegal sites prominently in search results, a key driver of online piracy.
“Both consumers and the digital economy will be better off if fans looking for music and other content are directed to the many great services that offer it legally.”
Richard Mollett, chief executive of the Publisher’s Association, said the criticism of Google was “bang on the mark”.
He said: “Publishers and authors should not have to tolerate seeing infringement of their works tolerated by the country’s leading search engine.”
A Google spokesman said the company “works harder than anyone to help the film and music industry protect their content online”.
He said: “We removed more than 20 million links to pirated content from our search results in the last month alone.
“But search is not the problem – according to Ofcom just eight per cent of infringers in the UK use Google to find unlicensed film and 13 per cent to find unlicensed music.”