Sony Emails Reveal MPAA’s Piracy Battle Plan, Google In Its Crosshairs

Sony Emails Reveal MPAA’s Piracy Battle Plan, Google In Its Crosshairs

Since January of this year, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has been preparing for long-term battle with an enemy referred to as “Goliath”, according to documents made available by the recent Sony hack. And after several of the documents have been examined, it’s looking very likely the pseudonym represents Google.

After the defeat of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the MPAA turned to its backup plans. It has legally been pursuing its goals of stopping piracy, albeit at the expense of the open internet and everyone’s online experience, as well as the ISPs, ever since. A major sticking point has been the ease of finding piracy sites through search engines, and attempting to block such access with co-operation from Big Search would be a huge victory. Emails from the Sony hacks, however, show that Google isn’t having a bar of it.

According to a report at The Verge, certain emails refer to Google directly, whereas others refer to the same events using the pseudonym Goliath. A yearly budget of $500,000 was set aside for legal fees, and strategies ranged from promoting negative press about Goliath, to gathering evidence to show legal decision-makers, to full-frontal legal attack.

The documents also show, however, a fear of what would happen if Goliath decided to return fire. When Google featured anti-SOPA/PIPA information on its page (seen below), along with the internet blackout orchestrated by many other websites, it certainly got the word out fast, and the MPAA executives seemed wary about that kind of PR effect. Not to mention, if push came to shove, a mechanical tinkering with the search algorithm and YouTube policies could translate into many dollars lost for the movie studios.

Head over to The Verge for the full report, with a timeline of emails sent and the MPAA’s initial plan of attack.