Jeremy Hunt requests Google become "Big Brother" on behalf of the British Government

Gadzooks! Here's the Telegraph article with my emphasis added: Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, is to tell Google and other search engines that they should play a greater role in the fight against online piracy....

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Gadzooks! Here's the Telegraph article with my emphasis added:

Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, is to tell Google and other search engines that they should play a greater role in the fight against online piracy. Mr Hunt will ask them to "make life more difficult" for pirates.

He is expected to tell the Royal Television Society's Cambridge Convention that "reasonable steps" will make a significant difference, and also make the suggestion that if the industry does not help the Government it will legislate via the new Communication Bill. "We intend to take measures to make it more and more difficult to access sites that deliberately facilitate infringement, misleading consumers and depriving creators of a fair reward for their creativity," Mr Hunt will say.

My first reaction was "of course he'd say that, look at the audience" - but keep reading...

The Government wants search engines to penalise website whose content is ruled unlawful. Less prominent results would have a direct effect on revenues from advertisers as well as sales.

Let's see, that's all of:

  • Government or Industry-mandated placement and filtering of search results.

  • Government declaration of "digital content" as being in-and-of-itself unlawful

  • Government telling Google what it may / may not tell you can be found on the web

All this algorithmic oversight won't go down well at Google, especially given the proposed solution's fruitlessness. UK searchers will - as in China - abandon Google's UK service in favour of something somewhere else in order to find that which the UK Government wants to keep from them.

China? Oh yes, where have we also heard that mentioned recently?

For me, the biggest lolquote was:

He will add, however, "The government has no business protecting old models or helping industries that have failed to move with the times.

...which is ironic given the recent crowing over extension of copyright from 50 to 70 years.

But those new models will never be able to prosper if they have to compete with free alternatives based on the illegal distribution of copyrighted material."

So how about strongly enabling new business models that monetise the "free alternatives" of which you speak, thereby legalising the distribution?

Or is that too obvious, Mr Hunt?

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