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Now unpublishing or removing links from Google search is no longer just about hiding your prior arrest from potential employers. Even artists who hate their old artworks have a means to make them, for all practical purposes, disappear.

Artist Dan Roach apparently asked Google to remove search links to a positive article by the Worcester News about him that included a photo of one of his earlier works, the newspaper reported.

He had complained that the photo of his painting shown in the article was “outdated,” he told the newspaper.

“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,” he told the Worcester News.

“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,” he told the paper.

The 2009 article, “Scholarship will help Dan follow dream,” was about Roach’s hopes to obtain a master’s degree. It included a photo of Roach with one of his pieces of art.

Roach indicated in his comments to the Worcester News that he went to Google for the take down since the newspaper wouldn’t comply with his request to yank the article.

Worcester News editor Peter John told the Guardian‘s Roy Greenslade that the request for the article to be removed was “the most absurd and silly piece of censorship” and that he wants to appeal the move.

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Right to Be Forgotten

As background, Roach was making his demand based on a European court ruling from earlier this year that created the “right to be forgotten.”

Google had “condemned the decision” to allow the “right to be forgotten,” CNET reported in July.  According to the ruling, people can now request Google to take down search links to articles about them that are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive.”

The Google ruling and take down doesn’t mean the article itself is unpublished; instead a link to the article is removed from Google search results. This summer, Google said it was approving most of the requests filed for takedowns.

The Worcester News said in its article about the take-down of the link to its article on Roach that it was the first time the “right to be forgotten” law affected the newspaper.

iMediaEthics has written to the Worcester News for comment. Roach declined to comment to iMediaEthics about the article.

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Google ‘Right to be forgotten’ gone wrong? Artist asks Google to ‘forget’ old artwork he no longer likes?

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