Hunt pressures ISPs on pirates

On Wednesday, Jeremy Hunt, Culture Secretary, is expected to pile on the pressure to ISPs to block pirate sites. He will exhort them to make ‘life more difficult’ for online pirates telling an audience of media executives that internet companies, advertisers and credit card firms should do more to clamp down on alleged rogue websites.

“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 tell the Royal Television Society.

Government ministers see Google as one of the key players in the fight against online piracy, chiefly because it is a portal to the web for nine out of 10 UK search engine users. It will be pressured to downgrade unlawful websites in search listings, potentially depriving them of millions of users and advertising revenue. The company already responds to “reliable” takedown requests when issued by rights holders.

To combat the rogue sites, the culture minister wants to speed up the legal process so that websites can be ruled unlawful within weeks of being identified, rather than months or years.

Hunt is believed to support an independent cross-industry body that will identify sites used for illicit filesharing and push for them to be blocked.

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