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Judge Puts Stop to MPAA-Backed Copyright Probe of Google

Posted by: , 15:36 AEDT, Thu March 5, 2015

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Google gets minor victory in lawsuit against MPAA backed state of Mississippi copyright probe against the search engine company
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Image/Photo Credit: Sam Howzit @ Flickr, CC

A federal judge has granted Google a temporary injunction that halts Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood's copyright probe into the search giant.

Attorney General Hood's investigation focuses on whether Google has been facilitating the unauthorised distribution of copyrighted materials, an investigation that Google says was instigated by lobbying from the movie industry and their copyright lobby, the MPAA. 

Google'a assertions were backed by sensitive emails that were leaked following the hacking of Sony Pictures, which revealed the existence of a MPAA backed campaign to revive the controversial SOPA legislation through non-legislative means, which included a coordinated attack on Google. This included the funding of an "astroturf" group, the Digital Citizens Alliance, to attack the search engine company, and even included writing letters on behalf of Attorney General Hood. All of this, and more, were revealed publicly by Google on their official Public Policy blog last December.

It was on these facts that Google launched a lawsuit against Hood and his investigation, citing protection the company receives from the Communications Decency Act as well as First Amendment protections. 

And this week, a Federal Court judge granted an temporary injunction against the investigation until the matter can be heard in court.

The MPAA backed Digital Citizens Alliance attacked the decision, saying that Google profits from illegal activities and might be "aiding criminals" in the process.

"We're pleased with the court's ruling, which recognizes that the MPAA's long-running campaign to censor the Web - which started with SOPA - is contrary to federal law," wrote Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel. "We'll continue working to protect people using our services: In 2014 alone, we removed more than 500 million bad ads and over 180 million YouTube videos for policy violations."


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