Google Slammed by Mississippi Attorney General for “Inaction” on Piracy

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is pressing Google to take greater measures to tackle online piracy and other illegal Web activity, saying that the company’s “inaction” is “not merely a failure to do the right thing” but “raises serious questions as to whether Google is engaged in unlawful conduct itself.”

Hood, chairman of the intellectual property committee of the National Assn. of Attorneys General, wrote the comments in an 11-page Nov. 27 letter to Google general counsel Kent Walker. In the letter, Hood expresses frustration that the company was not sending a representative to a meeting of the association, which was held last week.

Hood accused Google of being “unwilling to take basic actions to make the Internet safe from unlawful and predatory conduct, and it has refused to modify its own behavior that facilitates and profits from unlawful conduct.” His letter cites not just piracy of movies, TV shows and music but the sale of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and sex trafficking.

He also pointed out several instances in which Google has screened out criminal content, like child pornography. Nazi-related content, he noted, was removed from search results in Germany, and spam and malware are blocked because they can be damaging to users.

“Google can and does take action against unlawful or offensive conduct — when Google determines it is in its business interests to do so,” Hood wrote.

A spokesman for Google said that “our users care deeply about their safety and security — and so does Google. It’s why we’ve invested tens of millions of dollars in cutting edge technology to fight bad actors online.”

Hood called for the company to take a series of steps, including creating an icon on search results to direct users to authorized sites and making more changes to its algorithm to deprioritize so-called rogue sites that are devoted to infringing material. He also said the Google should “de-index” rogue sites, with copyright holders or a third party providing criteria to establish if a site is dedicated to infringement.

Last year Google announced a policy under which sites with a large number of takedown notices would earn lower search rankings. In September, Google unveiled a report on how it fights piracy, noting YouTube’s Content ID system as well as a method for copyright holders to monetize user-generated content. It also said that it removed more than 57 million Web pages in 2012 and disabled ad serving to more than 46,000 sites for violating their copyright policies.

Hood’s letter was in response to one sent to him by attorney Jamie Gorelick of WilmerHale, one of Google’s outside counsels.

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  1. Glen says:

    I could not agree more with Mr. Hood and applaud his effort to show
    the American people how little Google has done in order to fight
    online piracy. His letter addresses many of the problems I, myself,
    have noted while looking into copyright and intellectual property law.
    It is deplorable that Google touts their commitment to anti-piracy but
    contradicts itself at every turn. The author of this article states
    that “In September, Google unveiled a report on how it fights piracy,
    noting YouTube’s Content ID system as well as a method for copyright
    holders to monetize user-generated content.”. I can’t help but think
    that they probably spent more time creating this report than they did
    actually fighting piracy. It is time that Google steps up and takes
    responsibility for the promises they have made.

    -Glen

    • Kayleigh Yu says:

      I suppose you work for Microsoft or some other search engine. Because every search engine infringes on copyright. They only index files, sites, and what is submitted to them. Unfortunately, when a DMCA is received they have to handle those requests personally. So, a site may stay up while awaiting a reason why the material should be taken down. https://www.chillingeffects.org monitors requests and takedowns and many of them appear in google’s results. Millions of sites as well as pages have been de-indexed. What Mr. Hood is demanding is out of the question and would cause many sites to go dark that are legal. Game of Thrones on HBO.com would get de-indexed. As well as many fan sites and blogs that only talk about the show and do not share content.

      If you want a safe and completely legal internet you will have to request that the entire internet be turned off and rolled back to only having a handful of sites on it. No more email, because people can share files through that. No more YouTube, because people can post movies and television shows. No more Facebook, because people can also share files and links through there as well as movie clips, personal links, emails, etc. No more anything. So, if you would like to fight piracy Mr. Glen, turn off your computer, and cancel your internet subscription. Because the only way to completely eliminate internet piracy is by cancelling the internet. (Piracy has been around since BBS boards that you would phone in to with your VIC 20, Commodore 64, Tandy, or other computer. Back when there were cradle modems and 5 1/4 inch floppies that could only hold 1155 kB of data, or the old tape drives.) People have been sharing since before the internet became popular, and will continue to share until the plug is pulled. (And even then something else will arise to fill the void.)

      In case you didn’t know people also used to share VHS and Beta tapes sending them via “snail mail” back in the 80’s. They also shared cassette tapes of music and sent those via the postal mail as well. Just because it isn’t physical media only makes it faster to share… Not impossible. :) You must be new to all this “sharing”, because it’s been around forever.

    • Vince says:

      Yeah, because it’s *SO* easy to know when something’s being infringed. Even copyright holders don’t know when something’s being infringed. Hell, copyright holders will send take down notices to Google for places like HBO.com for Game of Thrones. Have you EVER looked at how many take down notices Google goes through in a day? No, you don’t. Here’s a tip, it’s millions. Yeah, MILLIONS that they go through, MANUALLY.

      No, Google does a lot to fight piracy, maybe if the copyright holders would put the stuff out there in an easy to get, wildly available method, piracy would drop.

      You know, like how iTunes caused music piracy to drop or how Steam lowered PC video game piracy?

      Or is that too hard for copyright holders to do?

      • Costa Botes says:

        Vince, you are singing from the same old hymn book quoted by every other Freetard out there. It’s getting real old. Put your self justifying assumptions aside for just a bit and use a combo of empathy, imagination, and maybe a little bit of research, and you might gain a glimmer of understanding about the economics of making ‘content’, and why it is that offering work globally simultaneously, and cheaply, might be a nice thing for lazy, fickle, grazing consumers, but is neither easy, nor financially sustainable in the current marketplace. Maybe things will change, if the pirates lay off, and allow robust and innovative legal online distribution methods to evolve. Yes, like iTunes, but perhaps with some more competition.

  2. John Shea says:

    Nazi-related content? ‘SCHINDLER’S LIST’? ‘THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK’? Most histories of the twentieth century? Those who do not know the past are condemned to repeat it.

    • jasontin2013 says:

      Hackers, whether white or black hate will ever go away we were here long before you could even partially figure out a PC we were writing codes and bringing information that regardless of how much you worship the FEDS the states are supposed to dictate there own laws. DotCom is a citizen of New Zealand I never used megaupload, however I can tell you you cannot stop downloads and trading its like kids trading ball cards it started long before the illiterate learned how to download by P2P. Those of us who still bel;ieve in freedom of information nand want to watch a movie at home because we are that severely mentally ill that the ppl make us sick. Its better for everyone if us introverts are inside fighting the white hat traders who lie in fear instead of embracing the freedom we should have I don’t sell what I get like most do however unlike at least half of you I cannot go to movies unless driven and even then I don’t remember parts because I’m on so much valium that I forget parts. And i’ll be damned if I’d ever pay apple or anyone to rent a movie with the prices they charge for renting. If a movie is worth while then I tend to spend the money upon its release but to think you idiots can stop something that has been going on since the 80’s early and most likely before you even learned simple unix hacks. How about you mind your own business and lube up next time your gonna bend over costa and sound like the idiot you are Programmers and developers tend to be the ones to put the back doors in anyways. A human can make a program do what they want so long as they can enter the correct code

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