We didn’t include the Telegraph’s ‘Google looks to cut funds to illegal sites’ story in the Bulletin earlier this week, because there wasn’t much to it beyond the headline – the suggestion that Google was “in discussions with payment companies including Visa, Mastercard and PayPal to put illegal download websites out of existence by cutting off their funding”. No quotes, no details. But the story is spreading far and wide – it popped up on influential technology-news aggregator TechMeme yesterday. So here’s the other reason we’re not entirely convinced this is big news in 2013: it reminded us of a couple of stories from 2011. March 2011: the IFPI revealed it had been working with MasterCard, Visa and the City of London Police to try to cut off payment services for unlicensed download stores in Russia and Ukraine. July 2011: A similar initiative with PayPal. So the news story in 2013 shouldn’t be pure discussions between Google and these companies, but more searching questions about how any agreement would go beyond the IFPI’s efforts – and what the payment firms have been doing since 2011 on the piracy score.

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