The Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is to warn a television industry gathering that he wants Google to play a far bigger role in combating piracy.Mr Hunt is to speak at the Royal Television Society in Cambridge, and will start to give some ideas of the shape of the forthcoming Communications Act, which will dictate the way the media are regulated in Britain over the next decade.
In part of his speech he will mention the regulation of the online world, emphasising that the law should apply online in the same way it does in the real world. Here’s what he’s expected to say:
“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. 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.”
He is supposed to suggest a number of other ideas including:
In other words, the government wants to make piracy sites harder to find and harder to make pay – and it believes internet giants, from Google to BT, have a responsibility to play their part.
Mr Hunt will be taking this message to gathering of many of the same television executives who listened to Google’s Eric Schmidt at the Edinburgh Television Festival. Mr Schmidt’s message of deregulation and peace and love between TV and the net seemed to go down fairly well last month.
But a TV industry increasingly anxious about the threat to its profits from the online world may be more sympathetic to the Culture Secretary’s promises of protection.
For Google, though, responding to this call to take responsibility may involve some very tricky politics.