Google Accused Of Harboring Film Pirates
Thanks to some help from Google, a couple of men charged with copyright infringement brought in over a million dollars to two websites, with about 80 percent of the money repaid to Google for advertising.
The most compelling piece of evidence in the testimony of Brandon Drury and Luke Sample comes from the Wall Street Journal’s report. The two men said Google reps helpfully suggested keyword buys to attract traffic, and offered ad credits. Then came the surprising part:
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.
Staci Kramer at PaidContent wrote that Google will “train ad sales people to recognize similar potential problems and monitor keyword sales internally.”
Google isn’t commenting on the case, and the identity of the deposed employee has not been revealed. It does indicate that Google has a lot more work to do to make its movie industry pals happy. Movie piracy, like that being offered at Oscar Torrents, has long been an issue for them.
Recently, Google moved to reassure the movie studios that this situation would not happen again. The studios don’t think it should have happened in the first place; just because Drury and Sample said their sites were legal shouldn’t have been enough for Google to do business with them.
The question now seems to be whether or not the studios will sue Google. The WSJ Law Blog asked the question of whether or not Google could be liable for infringement as well.
Commentary at the Law Blog included a discussion of MGM v Grokster and how a third-party might be held responsible for copyright infringement. But Google probably can broker a deal behind the scenes and payoff the studios. They should be able to afford it.