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Google ‘deeply concerned’ by reports of MPAA working with movie studios to ‘revive SOPA’

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Google has published a post on its Public Policy blog responding to recent revelations that the Motion Picture Association of America was working with a group of movie studios in order to find new ways to force the search giant to modify its results to omit sites that contained stolen copyrighted material:

We are deeply concerned about recent reports that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) led a secret, coordinated campaign to revive the failed SOPA legislation through other means, and helped manufacture legal arguments in connection with an investigation by Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood.

The post goes on to recount the reports surrounding what the MPAA referred to as “Project Goliath.” The Association and its co-conspirators budgeted half a million dollars to providing legal support for the plan, and the MPAA later attempted to raise nearly $1.2 million to help.

The money was then paid to the MPAA’s law firm along with a phony grassroots movement called “The Digital Citizens Alliance,” which, along with the MPAA’s law firm, attempted to find a way to censor Google’s search engine.

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The law firm then created a letter essentially accusing Google of aiding in the piracy of stolen copyrighted material and sent it to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. After a few relatively small edits, Hood signed the letter drafted by the MPAA.

Hood then issued Google “a sweeping 79-page subpoena, covering a variety of topics over which he lacks jurisdiction,” according to the company’s blog post. The MPAA and its partners in Project Goliath reportedly had knowledge of that subpoena before it was even issued.

Google wraps the post up with:

While we of course have serious legal concerns about all of this, one disappointing part of this story is what this all means for the MPAA itself, an organization founded in part “to promote and defend the First Amendment and artists’ right to free expression.” Why, then, is it trying to secretly censor the Internet?

The company pointed out that it already has measures in place for removing pirated content from its search results, though the measures are apparently not enough to appease the creators of that content.

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