Leaked e-mails have revealed that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) paid multiple state Attorneys General to attack Google. The leaked e-mails are the latest scandal to break from the massive Sony online hack. The MPAA and Google have a tempestuous history together; Hollywood accuses Google of facilitating copyright infringement by indexing illegal torrent sites, and Google regularly resists the MPAA’s attempts to censor its search results.
The Verge summarises one of the key incriminating e-mails from the MPAA below:
May 8, 2014: Fabrizio to group. “We’ve had success to date in motivating the AGs; however as they approach the CID phase, the AGs will need greater levels of legal support.” He outlines two options, ranging from $585,000 to $1.175 million, which includes legal support for AGs (through Jenner) and optional investigation and analysis of (“ammunition / evidence against”) Goliath. Both options include at least $85,000 for communication (e.g. “Respond to / rebut Goliath’s public advocacy, amplify negative Goliath news, [and] seed media stories based on investigation and AG actions.”).
The e-mail needs a little deciphering: ‘Goliath’ refers, of course, to Google, whereas CID stands for ‘Civil Investigative Demand’, a form of administrative subpoena to force information from a company. In summary: powerful Hollywood studio collective pays US public servants to bully a company it doesn’t like. It will be interesting to see how the MPAA tries to spin this.