Pirates of the Googleplex?

    February 12, 2007

Fans have flocked by the millions to theatres worldwide to take in the first two installments of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise. While Captain Jack Sparrow is enjoying the spotlight, however, the film studios are turning their attention and ire toward pirates of another sort.

While the next generation formats of HD-DVD and Blu-ray slug it out for supremacy, movie pirates sit back and relax with the assurance that no matter which format comes out on top, there will already be methods in place to illegally copy and distribute the movie content.

The film industry’s disdain for the practice is no secret, but one of the culprits in the realm of movie piracy may surprise some people.

A group of major media firms have accused Google of cooperating in the practice, citing that the Internet company has received considerable benefit from the sale of pirated movies and has provided support to two websites alleged to offer illegal movie downloads.

This piece in the Wall Street Journal documents the claims:

At the core of the media companies’ dispute with Google, which isn’t a defendant in the piracy case, is their claim that Google deliberately directed traffic to Web sites that were engaged in fostering piracy. Although people familiar with the situation say the incident doesn’t involve large sums of money, several media executives say it has led them to question Google’s internal controls. Google told the studios on Friday it would implement new procedures to prevent recurrences.

Google addressed the concerns by outlining plans to launch a series of measures it believes will help discourage the practice of movie piracy. Representatives from the company said objectionable ads would be removed and that the it would create a list of approved advertisers in order to keep from selling keywords used by shady sites to compel users to illegally pirated material.

Google also said it would implement a new series of internal guidelines designed to improve the process of monitoring keywords, as well as train its ad sales force about how to prevent the sale of such ads.

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