Hunt takes on the pirates

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Culture secretary Jeremy HuntAFP/Getty

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured) has been huffing and puffing about Internet piracy - he wants ISPs to take pirated content down. He also wants credit card companies to stop dealing with companies known to pirate copyright content and ideally he'd like to see Google de-listing all the organisations known to flout the copyright laws. I agree - and I'll even decide who's guilty and who's not, personally. OK, which was the bad suggestion in that paragraph?

The answer is of course a straightforward "all of them", and they're all bad because the last of them is the inevitable follow-through. Not that I personally am likely to end up arbiter of who's guilty of piracy and who's not, but because someone will. And that someone, if Hunt gets his way, will be a commercial company.

Judge and jury


Consider for a moment the story earlier this week about the guy complaining that his personal website didn't come up on Google. (A few people queried this and just to clarify, he was complaining not that all references to him had been removed but that his own personal site, bearing his name, had been excluded).

Now consider Google taking other content down because it considers that someone - who hasn't been to a court or anything like that - is guilty of something. Sinister? (The company already has a complaints procedure for people who believe their rights are being infringed).

Add to that credit card companies having the arbitrary right to switch off a business after an allegation and you probably begin to see the problem.

Don't get me wrong, something needs to be done bout intellectual property theft. I'm just not convinced this is it.

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