Google filed motions in both a New York Federal court and one in Washington DC to require both the Motion Picture Association of America and major studios like 21st Century Fox, Viacom and NBCUniversal to reveal communications made between them and attorney general’s offices in various U.S. States.
This is part of Google’s attempt to fend off criminal investigations in states such as Mississippi where authorities wish to hold the company responsible for the piracy of copyrighted materials by people who use its search engine to find music, movies and all sorts of pirated stuff.
Google’s motion says, in part, “Based on just the handful of documents that have come to light through press accounts, there is little doubt that the Subpoenaed Parties and their lobbyists at the MPAA and Jenner actually directed the Attorney General’s misconduct at issue in this case.”
The MPAA of course opposes the motion. “This is just the latest effort by Google to distract attention from legitimate questions about whether it is profiting from illegal activity online, including fake pharmaceuticals, fraudulent documents, stolen intellectual property and more, ” stated Kate Bedingfield, a spokesperson for it. “Google is not above the law. Attorney General Hood [of Mississippi] should be allowed to investigate whether Google’s actions violate state consumer protection laws.”
Last year Google filed a lawsuit against the State of Mississippi over the matter. The company claims that this is a case of freedom of speech and that Mississippi is violating its rights under the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution.
Google has already been dealt a major blow in Europe where the courts have ruled that the company can be held liable for any libelous information about an individual that comes up on its web searches.