Court Doesn't Buy Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood's Argument: Puts His Google Demands On Hold

from the nice-try,-jim dept

Back in December, we noted that Google had gone to court to try to stop a ridiculously broad subpoena issued by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. For quite some time now, Hood has been publicly attacking Google, based on what appears to be near total ignorance of both the law and technology. Oh, and maybe it also has something to do with the MPAA directly funding his investigation and authoring the letters that Hood sent.

Either way, Google pointed out that the broad subpoena that Hood issued to Google clearly violated Section 230 of the CDA in looking to hold Google accountable for other's actions and speech. It pointed out other problems with the order as well -- and while Hood insisted that his subpoena was perfectly reasonable, it appears that a federal court isn't so sure. Today the court told Hood that he's granting a temporary injunction on the subpoena, noting that Google's argument is "stronger."

This certainly is nowhere close to over, but it does highlight that Hood's repeated arguments that he has every right to hold Google accountable for the fact that sometimes people use the search engine to find illegal stuff, isn't particularly convincing to at least one federal judge.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 12:36pm

    If Google thinks Hood is the only AG that will go after their illegal business model, then they're in for quite a surprise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 12:45pm

      Re:

      Which bits are illegal?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 12:51pm

        Re: Re:

        and to the extent that Google maybe breaking the law it is the law that needs to change. Google is doing nothing morally wrong here and if the law thinks they are doing something illegal it is the law that is morally wrong.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 1:33pm

        Re: Re:

        Conspiracy to facilitate copyright infringement and profit from it.

        Say whatever you want, but the clock is ticking.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 1:52pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Google's business model is selling advertising while indexing what other people put up on the web, and providing a service and selling adverts. Copyright Infringement could go away tomorrow without affecting Google's business model.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 2:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            What's going behind the scene here is way, way more nefarious than you realize.

            The ruling in that courtroom today was a travesty of justice.

            There are people lining up to go after Google- people that care about the law, and not letting a corporation decide how an entire country is run.

            Like I said, say whatever you want, and defend your beloved corporation. But this is only the beginning.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              jupiterkansas (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 2:06pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              People that care about the law!? What a joke!

              The people going after Google (i.e. MPAA) are just as criminal and nefarious as Google, if not more so, and is just using the law as a weapon to beat down what they wrongly believe is hurting their profit margin.

              Stop pretending like Google is some malicious evil.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 2:20pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You mean like the content industry is twisting the political purpose to impose a serfdom on everybody, through their ownership of ideas .

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Gracey (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 3:23pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              [and not letting a corporation decide how an entire country is run.]

              Seems to me Google might do a better job of running the country than the politicians have.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That Anonymous Coward (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 3:34pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "people that care about the law, and not letting a corporation decide how an entire country is run"

              You mean like the **AA proposals that were to subject everyone to random checks having to prove content on their devices was authorized by them?
              You mean like the public domain gutted by years of lobbying and cash stripping any benefit from the largest stakeholder the public?
              You mean like groups buying special access to laws and its enforcement to support their business model form the 1950s that they refuse to adapt while demanding veto power over innovation because it MIGHT somehow hurt them?

              Yeah, I'll take Googles evil over that anyday.
              As far as I know Google hasn't bought off an AG to investigate the thorns in its side.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 4:40pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              >people that care about the law, and not letting a corporation decide how an entire country is run

              Funny, the MPAA seems to be very much in charge these days.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 10:38pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Really? I don't see the MPAA in charge of anything, politically. Do you have an example?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 11:42pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  You mean like a State Attorny General being bought, paid for and even scripted by the MPAA ?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 3 Mar 2015 @ 12:07am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  How about every trade agreement in the last 20 or so years? GTFO of here, troll.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 1:27am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  SOPA? ACTA?

                  Do you have to bash your head with a sledgehammer every morning or are you naturally this bloody dense?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 7:23pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "...and not letting a corporation decide how an entire country is run."

              So you're actively against corporate lobbying and other forms of bribery? So you're actively against a State AG taking money from corporations who tell him who to go after? I think you have a hypocrisy problem with your stated ideals.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 1:53pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Gödel metric. There, the clock just stopped.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 1:56pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Conspiracy to facilitate copyright infringement and profit from it."

          Ah, I see. So you've already convicted Google (in your mind) of obviously ridiculous charges. Good to know.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Seegras (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 1:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Conspiracy to facilitate copyright infringement and profit from it.

          That's like "conspiracy to not control your fellow passengers whether they have paid the fare?"

          Very good, sounds like you're in for a post guarding a bridge and enforce that upon anyone who passes.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          jupiterkansas (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 1:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          If Google is in a conspiracy to facilitate copyright infringement, then the entire creation of the internet is nothing but a conspiracy to facilitate copyright infringement.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Seegras (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 2:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You're on to something. But maybe it's the other way round.

            Copyright is a conspiracy to facilitate infringement on creation?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              jupiterkansas (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 2:13pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yes, obviously there would be no infringement at all without copyright. The ethics of infringement depend on the ethics of copyright itself.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Mar 2015 @ 5:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Conspiracy to facilitate copyright infringement and profit from it."

          Every ISP in the US and throughout the world are facilitating piracy being as they allow people to commit copyright infringement and everyone of these ISP's are profiteering from this copyright infringement being as they are receiving payment and charging these people for the copyright infringement. /sarcasm.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous, 3 Mar 2015 @ 6:57am

        Re: Re: Which bits [of Google] are illegal?

        Obviously, the 1 bits -- they contain all of the important information. The 0 bits are just filler and are of no importance, besides being twice as wide as the 1 bits. (0, 1 -- see?)

        I don't know why they bother storing all those 0s anyway.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Mar 2015 @ 7:38am

        Re: Re:

        The naughty bits.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Mar 2015 @ 6:55pm

        Re: Re:

        I'll byte the O's

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 12:50pm

      Re:

      I think the strongest evidence that the only reason the MPAA et al hate various Internet companies (ie: Megaupload) is because it offers competition is the fact that they are going after Google for no good reason. Likewise there was absolutely no good reason to go after Megaupload other than the fact that they allow others to compete with the previously established losers that only wish to scam both the public and content creators while doing no work of their own.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 12:58pm

      Re:

      If Google thinks Hood is the only AG that will go after their illegal business model, then they're in for quite a surprise.


      So what? The fact that there are plenty of headline hungry AG's out there means nothing.

      Their efforts will also run smack dab into Section 230 since it's a Federal statute and applicable in their individual states too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 1:13pm

      Re:

      If we think google is the only one who will stand up to your illegal bribery, you're in for quite a surprise.

      How many AGs can your guys afford? I guess they wouldn't have to buy them all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 1:51pm

      Re:

      No, I'm sure there's plenty of other scumbags like him ready to get bitch-slapped, er, I mean, pounce on the "opportunity."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 10:11pm

      Re:

      Keep dreaming, meatbag.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    connermac725 (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 1:04pm

    Clueless in Mississippi

    just goes to show that no matter what their title is does not mean they know anything remotely about their jobs

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 1:06pm

    comparison

    A) Google:
    1) Websites exist to provide information for people that want it.
    2) Websites can opt-out of being indexed
    3) Google indexes those sites which have not opted-out
    4) Google provides a service for people to search that index to find services/information they are looking for.
    5) People sometimes search for "bad things" like unauthorized content

    B) Telcos
    1) People and Businesses get telephones so friends/customers can contact them.
    2) They can opt-out of being listed (indexed) [ unlisted number]
    3) Telco & Yellow Pages index all the phone numbers/names which have not opted-out
    4) Telco & YP provide a search service so customers can find what they are looking for (used to be a free book delivered to your house)
    5) People sometimes searched for "Bad Things" (like escort services)

    So what makes "A" illegal and "B" legal again?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 1:15pm

      Re: comparison

      A hurts the MPAA/RIAA profits, as does all the legal content indexed by the search engines, B provides them with pleasures, and a means of bribing people.
      /Sarc, (but if the shoe fits wear it).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Seegras (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 2:06pm

        Re: Re: comparison

        .. hurts the MPAA/RIAA profits, as does all the legal content indexed by the search engines,

        Yes, turns out there are people out there writing their own books, making their own music or even movies. And even giving them away under free licenses. And people might even learn such competing content exists by perusing search engines like google.

        Clearly, there must be done something against this, otherwise people will NOT buy the things the MPAA or RIAA deigns to offer.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    antidirt (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 2:18pm

    Either way, Google pointed out that the broad subpoena that Hood issued to Google clearly violated Section 230 of the CDA in looking to hold Google accountable for other's actions and speech.

    Did you read the subpoena? Hood asks for details about Google's own actions. Why pretend otherwise?

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/12/17/technology/document-google-subpoena-from-mis sissippi.html?_r=0

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 2:25pm

      Re:

      Imagine if the comments here today only came from non-pirates. We'd be watching tumbleweeds blowin through.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        antidirt (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 2:38pm

        Re: Re:

        Yep. It's a disappointing ruling, but it's far from over. The thought that an AG can't investigate potential violations of state law is shocking. What's Google hiding?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 2:41pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Currently looking to find out if anyone contacted Judge Wingate the last few weeks.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 3:39pm

            Just can't make this stuff up

            I love it.

            On one side, you've got an AG who was exposed for having his 'investigation' paid for by a third party with an axe to grind, and his legal documents written by the same third party. And who also tried, badly, to bluff his way out of it and act as though he had never even met or talked to the people writing his press releases and legal filings.

            On the other hand you've got a judge who sees something off with the AG and his request, and refuses his fishing request.

            And the judge is the one you imply is acting suspicious.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 3:54pm

              Re: Just can't make this stuff up

              Funny you mention the Sony hack. After McAfee came out said it was music pirates that were responsible, that investigation is also going to lead to some interesting connections.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 6:58pm

                Re: Re: Just can't make this stuff up

                Yes, because those internet script kiddies managed to break extremely weak security using tricks found with Google search.

                The horror.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 3:32pm

        You're projecting again AC

        If you have any actual, you know, evidence that those commenting who don't agree with you are pirates, please, by all means share, because I don't know about other posters, but even completely free, legal or not, I still could not care enough about the rubbish the *AA's put out to bother with it.

        Really, don't you lot have any better arguments other than the tired 'Everyone who disagrees with me must be doing it because they're a criminal!' line?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        jupiterkansas (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 4:12pm

        Re: Re:

        So you're saying everyone that visits this website is a pirate except you? O, high and mighty?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 4:28pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, just anyone who visits/posts and disagrees with him.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 4:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I think it's funny how average_joe thinks that logging out, changing his IP address on his wife's laptop and posting to himself makes him look intelligent.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2015 @ 7:31pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Shhh... No one is supposed to look at the fact that the messages in the anti-dirt circlejerk were posted 7, 13, and 3 minutes apart. Even the best case scenario is that it is actually two different people who have enough time on their hands/are getting paid to continually refresh the page, waiting for someone else to comment. At least I hope they're getting paid for this. Greed is a much more respectable vice than arrogance and stupidity.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Mar 2015 @ 12:51am

        Re: Re:

        Imagine if there were no comments from advocates of pro-copyright terrorism.

        We wouldn't have a bunch of liars calling this sensible injunction a "travesty of justice" for one.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 2 Mar 2015 @ 9:07pm

    the laws don't apply to the rich and powerful much anymore.

    They can do what they want however they want. Who is going to stop them when they break a law?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), 3 Mar 2015 @ 5:06am

    This is the new justice?

    How much did it cost to buy an Attorney General again? Cause I can think of a few people I'd like prosecuted...

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150302/07014530180/should-punishment-falsely-accusi ng-people-crime-match-punishment-crime-itself.shtml

    Maybe we should fire up a kickstarter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Mar 2015 @ 7:10am

    this still boils down to the entertainment industries trying to take control of the internet. if they, through Hood, can get the court to hold Google accountable for what people have put up on the net and therefore other people are able to find it, then Google will have to stop information that is classed as illegal going to the net and therefore stop other people from being able to find it. how long do you think it would be then before Google was sued because it allowed a web site on the net that had links to other sites that had illegal movies and music on? i would say about 5 minutes! there is nothing the industries would like more than to hold Google accountable and be able to haveit in court whenever it wanted. eventually, Google may well pack up but all that would do, if it wasn't happening already, was to move focus on to another search engine. the bigger picture here is the entertainment industries trying to dictate what information is on the internet. anything it doesn't like, it expects to be stopped or removed ASAP! that then gives the industries carte blanche to go after anyone and everyone it wants. if that isn't controlling the internet, tell me what is!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2016 @ 8:23am

    2016 UPDATE: Overturned on appeal

    Fifth Circuit Green-Lights Mississippi AG's Probe of Google”, by Erik De La Garza, Courthouse News Service, Apr 11, 2016
    The Fifth Circuit on Friday [Apr 8, 2016] overturned a federal injunction that stopped Mississippi's attorney general from investigating whether Google may be liable for aiding child predators and vendors of illegal goods. . . .

    U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate put the investigation on hold in March 2015 . . .

    Google v Hood (5th Cir. Apr 8, 2016)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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