A battle between Google and the MPAA took a drastic turn this week. A series of emails subpoenaed in a lawsuit revealed the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) planned a coordinated attack to discredit Google and help clear the way for a new SOPA-like initiative. Google discovered the plans when it sued Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, suspecting he was working with the MPAA to attack Google, Tech Times reported.
Here is what you need to know.
1. Google Sued Attorney General Jim Hood, Suspecting He Was Working with the MPAA
The emails were revealed after Google sued Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who has spent several years investigating Google for state law violations and claims of piracy. Google filed the lawsuit claiming that Hood was conspiring with the MPAA against Google in order to help revive the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), Tech Times reported. The lawsuit claimed that Hood was influenced by the MPAA to issue an overly burdensome subpoena for accusations he did not have jurisdiction over, according to Tech Times.
Hood’s allegations against Google have been long-reaching. They included claims that Google’s auto-complete search feature encourages illegal activity and claims that YouTube ad revenue contributes to illegal drug sales, the Clarion Ledger reported. The emails were between two staff attorneys working for Hood and a lobbyist working for the MPAA.
2. The Emails Included a Plan for the MPAA to Fund Fake, Anti-Google Stories in the Media
The email conversations revealed an incredibly complex smear campaign that included having Comcast News and News Corp, among other media entities, issue anti-Google news reports, Tech Times reported. This would include a news segment about Google on The Today Show, which Comcast owns. The emails also stated that The Wall Street Journal, owned by News Corp, would write an editorial suggesting Google stock would decline if something wasn’t done about the attorney generals’ lawsuit, according to Tech Times. That editorial would also talk favorably about some of the claims in the lawsuit against Google.
3. The Plans Involved a Google Investor Coming Forward And Demanding Reform
After the paid-for segment on The Today Show, the emails revealed a plan to have a large Google investor come out and publicly state concerns about the segment, including a call for Google to make reforms and changes, Tech Times reported. A final step, outlined in the emails, would be to invite the media to a National Association of Attorneys General meeting and play videos that revealed how easily someone could use Google to purchase illegal drugs or firearms, Tech Times reported.
4. The Next Step Would Be to Have Hood Submit a Detailed, Complex Subpoena
Either as a backup plan or a final step, Hood and potentially other attorneys general would issue civil investigatory demands to Google, Tech Times reported. These demands are similar to subpoenas except they not only request documents, but also demand answers to questions given under oath, Digital Trends reported.
5. The Plan Called for a PR Firm to Handle the Details Under the Guise of Being a Concerned Non-Profit
According to the emails, a public relations firm would have been hired to handle the smear campaign. The PR firm would work pretending to be a nonprofit organization focusing on intellectual property issues, Digital Trends reported. Google has requested that the judge compel Fox, NBC, and Viacom to hand over any documents related to the secret plan, Torrent Freak reported. The MPAA has also recently been in the news for filing a lawsuit that shut down MovieTube.