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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Google Accused Of Profiting On Film Piracy: Discussions Continue

Media Firms Say Google Benefited From Film Piracy [paid sub. required] by the Wall Street Journal reports that Google has been accused of profiting from pirated movies. Specifically, there are two web sites that allegedly offered pirated movies. Google is said to have supported them in part by an ad rep suggesting they bid on terms like “bootleg movie download.”

From the article:

The defendants in the case, Brandon Drury and Luke Sample, said in sworn statements that Google representatives offered them credit to buy advertising on Google’s search engine. They also said Google supplied them with keywords, including terms such as “bootleg movie download,” “pirated,” and “download harry potter movie,” which boosted traffic to their sites, according to people familiar with the case. In court filings, both men deny any wrongdoing.

A Google employee deposed in the case largely corroborated the defendants’ accounts, these people said. The Google deposition has been sealed by the court. Of the $1.1 million in revenue the two sites — EasyDownloadCenter.com and TheDownloadPlace.com — generated from 2003 to 2005, $809,000 was paid to Google for advertising, the people said. The sites have since been shut down.

Google responded saying that they will implement measures to help prevent piracy by removing “certain ads the companies objected to, create a list of approved advertisers and refrain from selling keywords used by rogue sites to lure users to pirated material.”

In addition, Google said it would train and educate its sales force on how to spot these types of sites and ads. Sony Pictures said, “Discussions with Google have been ongoing for a while, and there’s hope it can result in a mutually satisfactory arrangement whereby Google will not give support to pirate sites.”

This does not stop Google’s YouTube from trying to continue to strike deals with content owners. Google’s YouTube in Deal To Air Classic TV Shows, also from the Wall Street Journal, reports that Google and Digital Music Group Inc. signed a deal that will allow YouTube to post more than 4,000 hours of video content of classic TV shows.

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