Obama’s a Coward For Not Hitting Google Over Piracy, Filmmaker Says

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The producer of dozens of movies including The Expendables trilogy and London Has Fallen has branded Barack Obama a "coward" for failing to take on Google over piracy. Avi Lerner says that the government is scared of the search giant and anyone not helping to stop piracy "should go to jail."

google-bayWith the recent Copyright Office consultation on the efficacy of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ringing in the ears of many significant stakeholders, we’re informed that much is at stake in the online marketplace.

What began with opinions from a wide range of interested parties has now morphed into a battle of opposing forces, with annoyed copyright holders leading the charge on one side and Google and its supporters on the other.

Despite engaging in no infringement itself and doing everything the law requires, on a daily basis Google is now being described as the world’s greatest piracy facilitator. It’s getting pretty ugly.

The latest to weigh-in with a controversial opinion is veteran film producer Avi Lerner. Perhaps best known for bringing The Expendables trilogy to the silver screen, Lerner is pulling no punches when it comes to the blame game. In fact, he’s taken it right to the very top.

“The government, the president, is such a coward. He’s scared of Google so we are losing millions,” he told AFP.

As the founder of production companies Nu Image and Millennium Films, Lerner is of course no stranger to piracy. In 2014, a pristine copy of The Expendables 3 was leaked onto the Internet, much to the company’s dismay.

While police in the UK arrested two men in connection with the leak later that year, followed by a third in 2015, thus far no culprits have surfaced in the United States. So, in the absence of a direct bogeyman, Google – and the President – will have to do.

“It’s a major problem and it’s something that I don’t know if anyone can stop, because the government, the president, Congress are all scared of Google,” Lerner said.

The film producer says he feels that Google has no incentive to stop piracy because it generates revenue from it, but this kind of blame game is nothing new and largely misses the point. All piracy takes place outside Google’s ecosystem and would continue even if Google disappeared into thin air. Still, Lerner thinks he has the solution.

“They should tell Google to stop piracy. They should make a law that anyone helping piracy — and not helping to stop piracy — should go to jail or get penalized or whatever,” he said.

It’s not clear whether Lerner was just angry when he made these comments or whether he really doesn’t understand how the whole piracy thing works, but the notion of throwing people in jail for simply not helping to stop piracy is certainly food for thought.

Only time will tell if that kind of punishment should also extend to the President himself but he’ll be long out of office before anything (if anything) is done to tune-up the DMCA. Jailing Google executives is presumably much more distant on the horizon.


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