It's an ill wind that blows no good. The mystery hackers who have left Sony reeling in embarrassment and discord were good enough to leak evidence that 6 Hollywood studios were secretly trying to resurrect the odious SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) legislation. SOPA and its companion Senate bill, Protect IP, gave the Tea Party its first warning that Senator Marco Rubio and Congresswomen Marsha Blackburn were not to be trusted.
Readers will recall that SOPA pitted chiefly Google but other internet entities such as Wikipedia and Reddit against the movie and music industries. The hacked emails reveal that the motion picture industry has broken the uneasy truce that existed between it and Google, code named Goliath.
The Motion Picture Association of America is "trying to secretly censor the Internet" and revive the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, Google general counsel Kent Walker claimed in a blog post Thursday. The 6 studios budgeted $500,000 each and MPAA poured $1.175 million into the campaign. SOPA would essentially meddle with the search engine’s indexing of websites, something countries like China have been placing restrictions on.
The Times reports the industry group went so far as to hire a law firm to help Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood draft subpoenas and legal briefs in a case he brought against Google. Hood's letter to Google can be viewed here.
On a philosophical note copyright laws must evolve with changing times. Older readers will remember that it was once illegal to Xerox copyrighted material even if it was but one page from a 500 page novel. To assert, as MPPA does, that something as innocuous as autocomplete is a threat to their precious content is patently absurd. MPPA can rejoice that the Bit Torrent site, Pirate Bay, was taken down last week by Swedish authorities but Torrentz.com can furnish the persistent web citizen with more movies than Netflix. Perhaps MPPA and Sony should worry more North Korea than Google and Angelina Jolie.