With help from the MPAA, Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood launched a secret campaign to revive SOPA-like censorship efforts in the United States.
The MPAA and Hood want Internet services to bring website blocking and search engine filtering back to the table after the controversial law failed to pass.
The plan became public through various emails that were released in the Sony Pictures leaks and in a response Google said that it was “deeply concerned” about the developments.
To counter the looming threat Google filed a complaint against Hood last December, asking the court to prevent Hood from enforcing a subpoena that addresses Google’s failure to take down or block access to illegal content, including pirate sites.
This week Google scored its first victory in the case (pdf) as U.S. District Judge Wingate granted a preliminary injunction to put the subpoena on hold.
This means that Hood can’t yet use the investigative powers that were granted in the subpoena. In addition, the injunction also prohibits Hood from filing civil or criminal charges, at least for the time being.
While the Court still has to rule on the merits of the case Google is happy with the first “win.” What stands out most, however, is Google slamming the MPAA’s efforts to censor the Internet.
“We’re pleased with the court’s ruling, which recognizes that the MPAA’s long-running campaign to censor the Web — which started with SOPA — is contrary to federal law,” Google’s general counsel Kent Walker notes.
While the MPAA wasn’t mentioned in the court’s decision, Google wants to make it clear that they see the Hollywood group as the driving force behind Hood’s “censorship” campaign.
Google’s harsh words are illustrative of the worsening relationship between the search giant and the Hollywood lobby group.
After a previous clash, a top executive at Google’s policy department told the MPAA that his company would no longer “speak or do business” with the movie group.
Thus far, the MPAA has remained relatively silent on the court case, at least in public. But given the stakes at hand it’s probably all hands on deck behind the scenes.