Google Rips MPAA For Allegedly Leveraging Local Government To Revive SOPA

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Are SaaS Companies Just Misunderstood?

Corruption in the American Hollywood style is something to behold. Today, Google published a short blog post alleging that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), alongside a number of film studios, funded what was essentially opposition research about the company. The resulting material was later fed to state attorneys general.

At issue is the MPAA’s wish, according to the search company, to “revive” SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, which was seen by most as a shamble of legislation that would have potentially led to widespread censorship of the Internet. Since the MPAA failed to get the bill that it wanted when SOPA failed, it turned to other means.

The evidence for Google’s post, stemming from the recent hack of Sony and the ensuing email dump, is explicit.

After the MPAA and its studio associates spent their pooled capital to hire a law firm — Jenner and Block — they “pitched,” in Google’s words, Jim Hood, the attorney general of Mississippi. Hood later sent to the company, again according to Google, a “letter making numerous accusations about [it].” The original author of that letter was not the good attorney general, but instead, as you likely guessed, the previously hired law firm Jenner and Block.

Hood sent to Google, with minimal changes, the work of the MPAA and several studios, accusing the company of various misdeeds.

What followed from Hood was what Google calls “a sweeping 79-page subpoena, covering a variety of topics over which he lacks jurisdiction.” As far as corporate notes discussing government officials go, that’s as salty as language comes.

At play here is the fact that the MPAA was more than willing to raise capital, and, through campaign donations and orchestrated campaigns, attempt to buy support for its cause, using it to go after private companies. The MPAA’s nickname for Google is telling: “Goliath.”

Google ends with a stomp:

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?

Why indeed?