When any Internet intermediary claims it’s too much of a burden to address requests for removing pirated content via sites or links they host, laugh gently (or loudly in their face, if it’s particularly egregious) and tell them to consider the beleaguered rights holder.

Almost two decades on from the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, the real burden still remains on creators to manage almost every aspect of removing unlicensed content. From identification and alerting intermediaries, to follow up and playing piracy whack-a-mole when it inevitably pops up somewhere else, the protests of search engines and internet service providers that they don’t have the time or resources to ease this process ring incredibly hollow.

This personal example highlighted over on Vox Indie should be more than enough to demonstrate this, given the ridiculous hoops it requires the content owner to jump through simply to file a complaint. The fact that their details are then held up for all to see, illicit link included, on a site significantly aided by data from Google, is just an extra slap in the face for creators who just want to keep some control over where their work ends up.

The bureaucracy associated with removing pirated content would normally be anathema to the tech sector, and runs diametrically opposed to the claims of many players that traditional forces stifle their innovation.

Google, as is so often the case, is the flag bearer for such hypocrisy. Where the company is happy to use its updates to bury any business site it deems unworthy of its algorithmic alchemy, it demonstrates massive neglect in removing pirated content links from its results.

Contrast the Vox Indie case linked earlier, for example, to the Penguin and Panda updates that Google has rolled out in recent years.

Rights holders have been petitioning the search giant to do far more to punish piracy sites for much longer, yet only late last year did we see any significant movement to sink major piracy sites in Google’s results pages. At best, the company drags its heels and throws up frustrating red tape when required to enforce laws it doesn’t like (see also its struggles with Europe‘s “Right to be Forgotten” legislation). At worst, Google uses its market dominance and deep pockets for lobbying efforts that attempt to flatten any opposition to the way it works. The recently dropped FTC investigation controversy is just one of many examples of this.

When it comes to companies trying to make the most of its rankings system, however, Google switches from protest and procrastination to immediate action. In recent years there have been examples of big brands like JC Penney falling foul of the search giant’s algorithm shifts, and countless more in which small businesses sink from the rankings, seemingly with the flick of a switch. In some cases these businesses may have been gaming the system, but in many more there are perfectly legitimate business owners simply trying to keep up with Google’s very specific idea of innovation.

The frustrating element here, aside from the economic impact on any small business who dares to make the most of a good Google position, is the disparity between how quickly Google can act when it feels its own business interests are threatened. The company is capable of sinking legitimate sites on a whim, so why not extend that advantage to piracy providers? At least they deserve it!

Based on Google’s poor track record , it seems unlikely that rights holders will see any “innovation” in their favor. As in the case highlighted by Vox Indie, it’s easy to see why they find this so frustrating.