At the end of last week, TheVerge.com dug up news of Project Goliath, a secret Hollywood project to investigate and discredit Google on issues of copyright and web freedom. But while the documents showed how bad things had gotten between Google and Hollywood, they also showed how eagerly many state attorneys general took up the MPAA’s anti-Google crusade – particularly Mississippi’s Jim Hood. And less than a week after the documents were made public, that eagerness is starting to have real consequences.
Hood has been at the center of many of the recent legal actions against Google in the US, investigating the company for involvement in both pharmaceutical counterfeiting and content piracy, but never assembling enough evidence for concrete charges. But on Tuesday, The New York Times revealed the MPAA may have had more of a hand in his actions than he let on. According to Times documents, a November 2013 letter Hood wrote criticizing Google for aiding piracy was almost entirely copied from text provided to him by lawyers working for the MPAA. In short, Hood’s lips were moving, but it was the MPAA’s approved text coming out.
Other emails show specific requests from Hood circulating among MPAA lawyers. In an email sent on January 16th, a few days before a scheduled meeting between Google and a group of attorneys general, MPAA counsel Vans Stevenson discusses which supporting documents they can provide to Hood and the other AGs in advance.