Google and Hollywood Feud Over Piracy Issues

Google and Hollywood are still having a feud over piracy issues, and this intensifies with the recent Sony Pictures hack attack. Motion Pictures Association of America lawyers and six studios are talking about the battle against a powerful enemy they call “Goliath,” – online piracy. While discussing the damages caused by their enemy and what things will be like when Goliath goes on, they try to come up with ways to address them. Somehow, it is suggested that their efforts are pointing in Google’s direction.

Leaked conversations between executives from Sony reveal their talks about Google searches showing links of pirated content which have irritated media giants for a long time. Google did try to help, but backed off after being displeased with the movie group’s response.

This year began with Motion Pictures Association, Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros., working together to launch a new campaign against online piracy. It included sets of ambitious new tools, such as blocking infringing sites from getting to the customers of huge Internet Service Providers. It began a new way of attacking piracy after the efforts of Stop Online Piracy Act failed. They worked with attorneys general and major ISPs such as Universal Pictures’ owner Comcast to extend the power of the court about data serving. The web’s open nature will basically change, if they succeed.

In August, Google voluntarily helped by moving the links which point to pirated contents further down in its rankings of search results, based on several valid copyright violation notices it received for certain web pages. The Internet firm’s efforts, however, did not totally impress MPAA, and even the Recording Industry Association of America. The movie and recording groups piled up the pressure, saying there are still more things that can be done.

In October, Google tried to make things happen while responding to complaints and criticism as among those who facilitate online piracy. Copyright Policy Counsel Katherine Oyama of Google said they already refined the signal and expected to affect the rankings of most notorious websites. Moving the sites with several removal notices down the search results rankings would easily help users get the legitimate sources, she added.

The Mountain View, CA – headquartered tech company was then confident that prior to announcing the change, it sent MPAA Head Chris Dodd an email that notified about the algorithm change. However, that did not stop the Google and Hollywood feud over piracy issues, as the response from the latter was unexpected.

In a press release, the MPAA said everyone has a responsibility to help stop unlawful online conduct and it is grateful that Google acknowledged its role of enabling access to pirated content through search. Google was displeased, reckoning it bent over more than backwards to accommodate MPAA. The search titan then concluded it has nothing to do with Hollywood anymore.

To justify the snarky tone of their response to Google, the MPAA explained they were not sure if the search titan’s system would work. Besides, they reserve favorable statements which might hinder the move of the Mississippi Hood to issue a Civil Investigative Demand to Google.

General Counsel Steven Fabrizio of MPAA said blocking the site is a way to the end, plus other effective measures by ISPs. Hollywood is said to keep tech experts to develop methods to block or identify in-transit illegal shared files.

For now, the Google and Hollywood feud over piracy issues is not over yet and while the former has stopped collaborating, the MPAA continues. Its efforts to topple down Goliath are indeed gigantic since it can cause conflicts with many companies that have boomed on the Internet. It is a battle which, without determination, can put the Hollywood industry on the losing end. Counsel for the group noted that the project’s strategy need to expand more as status quo is not favorable for them; and that doing nothing will not get them any better, he added.

By Judith Aparri

The Register
The Verge
Torrent Freak

Photo courtesy of Branden Flasch – Flicker License

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