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CEA, CCIA Slam Studios in Google Brief

The Consumer Electronics Association and the Computer & Communications Industry Association have taken aim at the Motion Picture Association of America and its studio members in a court filing.

That came in an amicus brief supporting Google's in its lawsuit against Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood over his investigation into the company and subpoenas he had issued for company info.

"The district court correctly enjoined this investigation when it recognized that the investigation was nothing more than a naked attempt to subvert the federal policy of limited Internet service provider liability. Allowing this subversion jeopardizes the success of the Internet by subjecting service providers [in this case "online service providers" or OSPs, rather than ISPs] to the whims of 50 state attorneys general."

CEA and CCIA (Google is a member of both) said state AG's can't demand that Web sites--what they call "online service providers"--police third-party speech. They also pointed to a Google filing in suggesting that MPAA had drafted Hood's pleadings in the suit--MPAA had no comment but it would not be unheard since MPAA supports the Hood investigation.

CEA and CCIA also said it appeared MPAA and Hood had collaborated in trying to plant unflattering stories about Google in media outlets "controlled" by MPAA.

Google also filed a motion to compel MPAA and select studios to produce internal communication regarding Google. The studios are battling that effort. MPAA concedes it was in contact with Hood about the investigation, which included piracy of the video content that is the studio's lifeblood, but has said that was not inappropriate and in fact the way industry and law enforcement are supposed to work together.

Forty state AG's have already weighed in on the side of Hood, or at least on the side of his ability to investigate, in their own amicus brief.

A spokesperson for MPAA, which supports Hood's investigation, declined to "dignify" the "dirty tricks" accusation with a response, but did say: "As 40 Attorneys General from all across the country just told the Fifth Circuit Court in an amicus filing, it is AG Hood’s right to investigate whether Google is violating the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act. Google is not above the law, and it is important that this investigation move forward.”

Back in June 2013, Hood called on Google to address what he said was the site's allowing consumers to obtain counterfeit goods including drugs, videos, music and software. “This behavior means that Google is putting consumers at risk and facilitating wrongdoing, all while profiting handsomely from illegal behavior,” Hood said at the time.

He then launched an investigation into whether Google's conduct violated state laws.

On March 27, Google secured secured a district court injunction against the subpoenas pending resolution of Google's underlying challenge. Mississippi appealed the injunction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and amicus briefs are being filed on both sides.