A regional daily editor has hit out at “absurd and silly censorship” after a professional artist demanded the right to forget his previous work.
But to the paper’s amazement, its wholly positive story has now been the subject of a “right to be forgotten” request by Mr Roach.
He has requested its removal from Google searches under the recent ruling by the European Court of Justice that has already seen hundreds of newspaper stories deleted from search engine listings.
Worcester News editor Peter John branded it “the most absurd and silly piece of censorship since Google started to try to enact the Right the Be Forgotten.”
“We have come across plenty of people wanting to remove reports of their crimes, but an artist wanting to remove part of his back catalogue did not strike us as the sort of principle that the European Court of Justice had in mind when they came up with the Right to Be Forgotten ruling,” he said.
“Nor did we think that an artist could argue that their previous work was irrelevant. Would Google remove early Hirsts, or Monets, on request?
“We are trying to appeal, but have not yet been able to find out if Google have an appeals procedure.”
Added Peter: “We, of course, ran a report on this act of censorship in the paper and online, republishing the picture.
“Even more absurd (but don’t tell Google this), the new article then appeared in their search results, and the painting complained about was the first one in their image search results.”
Mr Roach told the paper: “Since 2009, when the story and photograph originally appeared in the Worcester News, my paintings have developed; the work depicted in the 2009 article bears little resemblance to the paintings I’m now making.
“The popularity and high traffic of the Worcester News website meant that a search on Google would bring up an outdated image as the first item, which in turn meant that anyone researching my work may view it with an outdated perspective.
“I had hoped for some flexibility with the image in the piece, however the Worcester News explained they do not usually take articles down, something I fully respect.
“The decision to ask for the link to be removed from Google was based on no more than a wish to highlight my new work, rather than the old.”