According to reports this morning, the UK government wants search engines including Google to “make life more difficult” for file-sharing type sites that provide access to copyright infringing material.
Tomorrow, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to tell the Royal Television Society’s Cambridge Convention that he wants search engines to play a much bigger role in fighting online piracy.
“We do not allow certain products to be sold in the shops on the high street, nor do we allow shops to be set up purely to sell counterfeited products. Neither should we tolerate it online,” Hunt will state.
“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.”
Hunt will suggest a number of measures including seeking the cooperation of ISPs and search engines to make it more difficult to access infringing sites, cutting off their advertising revenues, and ordering payment processors to stop doing business with them.
The Culture Secretary will also propose the creation of a censorship body, modelled on the anti-child abuse organization Internet Watch Foundation, which will be authorized to take action (and presumably block) file-sharing sites.
“The government has no business protecting old models or helping industries that have failed to move with the times,” Hunt is expected to add. “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.”