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Google Vs the Mississippi A.G. Could Set A Precedent for a State’s Right to Regulate Online Content

Posted on the 07 February 2015 by Worldwide @thedomains

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Matt Schruers wrote an article yesterday on an upcoming legal battle that could set a precedent for content censorship. This is Google going up against the Attorney General of the State of Mississippi. Schruers makes the point that this is like SOPA at the state level.

From the article:

Far from Washington or any other place associated with Internet policy-making, a federal district court in Jackson, Mississippi is considering a case that could dramatically alter the regulation of Internet speech.  The case pits Google against the Mississippi Attorney General, Jim Hood, over the question of whether Hood can launch a sweeping investigation of Google after the search provider declined to block websites at Hood’s discretion, absent any court order.

Some background:  Among the leaks that resulted from the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures was the revelation of so-called “Project Goliath,” a secret initiative of major film studios and the MPAA.  The project involved enlisting State Attorneys General (AGs) like Hood in taking up one of Hollywood’s “key issues and asks” since the spectacular 2012 failure of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA): extra-judicial site blocking.  As an article by The Verge makes clear, the funding of high-priced private law firms to ghost-write legal demands from AG Hood to Google was a major element of “Goliath.”  (It’s like Uber, but for State AGs.)

Following these disclosures, Google filed a complaint, motion, and legal memorandum on December 19 in Mississippi.  It sought a temporary restraining order (TRO) and injunctive relief, arguing that Hood’s subpoena was unconstitutionally expansive, and it objected to Hood’s repeated threats of litigation if the service didn’t block sites at Hood’s discretion.

Read the full article on Project Disco


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