Google Wins Injunction Against Mississippi Attorney General’s “Conspiracy” To Censor Search Results
Backroom deal with MPAA behind effort to purge disputed content from SERPs.
Last fall, Google sued Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood in federal court to quash a “punitive and burdensome subpoena.” The subpoena, issued under the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act, was a response to Google’s refusal to block search results that Hood (and the MPAA) deemed illegal or otherwise in violation of copyright law.
Various news reports uncovered an alleged conspiracy between Hood and the MPAA and its attorneys to use the office of the Mississippi Attorney General to implement and enforce the kinds of control over internet content and traffic that would have been granted them under SOPA, had that legislation succeeded.
Google’s General Counsel Kent Walker wrote about the subpoena and Google’s efforts to quash it in December:
The MPAA [ ] pitched Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood, an admitted SOPA supporter, and Attorney General Hood sent Google a letter making numerous accusations about the company. The letter was signed by General Hood but was actually drafted by an attorney at Jenner & Block—the MPAA’s law firm. As the New York Times has reported, the letter was only minimally edited by the state Attorney General before he signed it.
The Hood-MPAA action is merely one “backroom deal” among others (see, NY Times report) to use the office of the Attorney General by specific political interests to accomplish via legal actions or regulatory enforcement that has failed in the political or legislative realm.
Yesterday, the judge in the Google-Hood case granted Google a preliminary injunction to block the Hood subpoena. Essentially, that means upon a review of the facts and evidence, the court decided that Google is likely to prevail at trial and obtain a permanent injunction.
Here’s Google General Counsel Kent Walker commenting yesterday on the injunction:
Today, a federal court entered a preliminary injunction against a subpoena issued by the Mississippi Attorney General. We’re pleased with the court’s ruling, which recognizes that the MPAA’s long-running campaign to censor the web—which started with SOPA—is contrary to federal law. We’ll continue working to protect people using our services: in 2014 alone, we removed more than 500 million bad ads and over 180 million YouTube videos for policy violations.