MPs have criticised Google for its "continuing promotion of illegal content" and lack of effort when it comes to preventing music and film piracy.
The Commons Culture Media and Sport Committee's condemnation of Google comes as the parliamentary body publishes its 'Supporting the creative economy' report. The report points to the success of the UK's creative industry, but warns that it could be jeopardised by the "notable" failure of Google to prevent piracy, instead allowing content to be easily accessed through its search engine.
"We are unimpressed by Google's continued failure to stop directing consumers to illegal, copyright infringing material on the flimsy excuse that some of the sites may also host some legal content," said John Whittingdale MP, chair of the committee, who suggested Google has the power to remove them from search results.
"The continuing promotion of illegal content through search engines is simply unacceptable, and efforts to stop it have so far been derisory," he added. "There is no reason why they cannot demote and ultimately remove sites hosting large amounts of illegal material from search engine results."
Whittingdale also argued that because Google already works with authorities to remove other illegal content such as pornography, there's no reason why the web giant shouldn't be able to do the same with pirated material.
"Google and others already work with international law enforcement to block, for example, child porn from search results and it has provided no coherent, responsible reason why it can't do the same for illegal, pirated content," he said
"Copyright infringement is a serious crime that threatens our economic future," Whittingdale added.
A Google spokesperson commented that the company is removing millions of links to pirated content a month, and that only around one in 10 of those who illegally download films and music do so by accessing the websites through Google.
The Culture Media and Sport Committee's report also criticises Google's "perceived power and influence in the government's inner, policy-making sanctum", with evidence suggesting it has better access to Downing Street that some government ministers.
"Google is one of several search engines and I am very aware of their power, put it that way," business minister Lord Younger said while giving evidence to the committee.
"I am also very aware, I think, that they have access, for whatever reason, to higher levels than me in No 10, I understand," he added.