Hollywood Resists Revealing Details Of Its Cozy Relationship With Mississippi AG Jim Hood, But Glimpses Come Out

from the buddy-buddy dept

The whole legal fight between Google and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has been pretty nasty from the very beginning, but it's been getting even nastier as it drags on. Even in many high stakes lawsuits involving large companies and the government, the filings tend to remain somewhat bland and low key. But this particular fight seems personal to many of the parties involved (going beyond just Google and Jim Hood to the MPAA and the studios it represents). If you don't recall, for a few years now, Hood has been bizarrely blaming Google for the fact that people do bad stuff online, rather than understanding that a search engine isn't responsible for the content that it finds. The reasons for Hood's ignorance became a lot more clear after the Sony Hack, when internal emails revealed that Hood was acting as a puppet for the MPAA whose hand was shoved so far up Hood's behind that it was a bit unseemly.

The MPAA's lawyers ran the entirety of Hood's "investigation." Those lawyers actually wrote the subpoena that Hood sent Google (Hood merely added the opening and his signature). The studios paid for the investigation, and the program itself was explicitly designed not to protect anyone online but to bring down Google (dubbed "Goliath" in the documents). The MPAA hired Hood's best friend, mentor and predecessor to lobby Hood on this... and (coincidentally, I'm sure), Hood hired the very same guy, Mike Moore, to help with the investigation -- which should raise serious conflict of interest questions. As these details were revealed, Hood launched into a bizarre anti-Google rant that was both ill-informed and often flat out incorrect. He insisted perfectly legal things (a news site about dark markets) were completely illegal, he blamed Google for not doing things it actually had done, and he couldn't seem to figure out the first thing about how the internet -- or the First Amendment -- actually work.

With this new info in hand, Google went to court to argue that Hood's demands were illegal, and a clear attempt of abusing the power of his office to attack a business. The courts have overwhelmingly sided with Google up to this point -- putting his demands (written by the MPAA) on hold and saying that it was clear Hood unconstitutionally acted in bad faith in violation of the First Amendment.

The judge also ordered Hood to cough up his communications with the MPAA -- something Hood was refusing to do the last time we checked in on this case about two months ago.

Since then, there has been a flurry of activity in multiple courts as Google, Hood and the MPAA fight it out in increasingly emotional terms. As Hood tried to resist, Google opened up another front in this and sent subpoenas to the Hollywood studios directly for those same communications and more. The studios have resisted strongly, claiming that their own documents are unrelated and they're not a party to the lawsuit. Google, however, has pointed out that since the MPAA was running the government's investigation almost entirely, it seems reasonable to argue that that information should be disclosed:
Each Subpoenaed Party asserts "work product protection," but none can identify any litigation they contemplated at the time the requested documents were created. They claim there is a "First Amendment privilege" shielding their activities from discovery, but they cannot explain how it applies here where they are engaged in lobbying government officials, where that lobbying is a matter of public record, and where their conduct is in no way likely to meet with government reprisal. And they assert "common and joint interest privileges" but cannot articulate any valid "interest" that creates or preserves a privilege. While some responsive documents might theoretically be subject to the attorney-client privilege, the Subpoenaed Parties have not collected or reviewed such documents, let alone provided a privilege log for them.
The studios then hit back angrily at these requests arguing that Google is going way overboard in asking for basically all of its anti-Google documents, even those it never actually sent to Hood (after finally agreeing that they would produce its communications with Hood):
The MPAA and Jenner have already agreed to produce all responsive documents they exchanged with Attorney General Hood prior to Google’s lawsuit; after all, only documents that Attorney General Hood actually saw could conceivably influence him. That should suffice if Google wants to probe the Attorney General’s motives.

Google filed the present motion because it insists on more. Google demands documents that the Attorney General never saw, and that instead include the internal deliberations of the MPAA, its communications with its members, and the legal advice of Jenner, as well as communications with others similarly aggrieved by Google’s conduct, on the misguided theory that such documents somehow are probative of Attorney General Hood’s intent. Moreover, Google’s demands impose very substantial burdens on the subpoenaed parties, not only because they require a wide-ranging search for documents, but more importantly because many of the documents are protected by the attorney-client and First Amendment associational privileges. Not only would the MPAA and Jenner be required to devote countless hours to the creation of privilege logs, but further time-consuming and expensive litigation with Google over the privilege assertions would be a near certainty.
Then, last week, Google hit back in a flurry of additional filings concerning the MPAA and Hood. Many repeat the same basic points, but it's clear that the battle is getting angrier and angrier on all sides. You can sense the exasperation on the part of Google's lawyers as they explain, again, that the studios are clearly trying to hide the details of their plan to use Hood to attack their company in violation of the Constitution:
The Honorable Judge Henry T. Wingate has ruled that Google is likely to succeed against AG Hood under Constitutional and federal law.

It is undisputed that the parties before the Court on this motion — Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. (“Fox”), NBCUniversal Media, Inc. (“NBC”), and Viacom, Inc. (“Viacom”) (collectively “the Subpoenaed Parties” or “the Studios”) — played key roles in AG Hood’s unlawful conduct. The record already shows that as part of a secret plan called “Project Goliath,” they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying state attorneys general to pressure Google to alter its search results and other products in service of their agenda on federal copyright issues. In connection with Project Goliath, lobbyists for the Subpoenaed Parties formulated AG Hood’s demands to Google and ghost wrote AG Hood’s talking points, letters and even the CID that prompted Google’s lawsuit and Judge Wingate’s injunction.

Despite this extensive involvement in the events giving rise to the underlying litigation, the Subpoenaed Parties claim here that: (a) documents regarding Project Goliath, beyond their direct communications with AG Hood, are irrelevant; (b) they should not, in any event, be burdened to produce what they have; and (c) that such materials might be privileged — but it is “premature” to assess that issue. None of these arguments has merit.
And then, after the MPAA revealed some of the requested documents, Google went back to court to highlight that what's been emailed only serves to more strongly support the claims of a questionable relationship between Hood and the studios, which should support their arguments for more information. It starts out with Google outright mocking the MPAA's argument that it's unfair to force them to hand over documents to a court in Mississippi, since they're NY-based companies not operating in Mississippi. Google points out that the MPAA and the studios seemed to have no problem at all going to Mississippi to hang out with Hood, so it seems odd for them to suddenly act as if Mississippi is out of the way.
The MPAA and Jenner claim that Google somehow “dragged [them] into its dispute with [the] Attorney General.” ... The DCA portrays itself as a mere amicus of the Mississippi court, and reassures this Court that it “does not do business in Mississippi.” ... Their rhetoric does not match reality.

The Subpoenaed Parties sought out Mississippi when they co-opted the state’s Attorney General for their anti-Google campaign. Documents withheld by the MPAA until last week reveal a stunning level of involvement in Mississippi’s affairs. The MPAA and Jenner repeatedly travelled to the state to meet with the attorney general; they hosted campaign fundraisers and made contributions for Attorney General Hood (“AG Hood”); and they controlled the pen used to draft AG Hood’s illicit demands and threats to Google. The DCA (funded by the MPAA) likewise visited with AG Hood in Mississippi, established a presence on the ground, and regularly communicated with him — retaining Mississippi’s former attorney-general, Mike Moore, to lobby AG Hood as part of “Project Goliath.” It was Google that was “dragged” into this dispute by the Subpoenaed Parties, and not the other way around.
And then there's more:
The Subpoenaed Parties have made clear that they have no problem acting in Mississippi when it suits their ends. After their years of direct involvement there, litigating objections to a single subpoena in the state could not be an undue burden.
The filing notes that while the MPAA revealed its communications with Hood to Google, it did so only if Google promised to keep them confidential. Google notes that there is no legal reason to do so, but for now it agrees to do so. However, it does reveal the nature of what's in some of them. And what it shows is the MPAA and Attorney General Hood working hand in hand, with the MPAA basically calling the shots.
The Subpoenaed Parties and their representatives made repeated visits to AG Hood’s office in Mississippi to guide his anti-Google work. Even when they weren’t physically at AG Hood’s office, they may as well have been, getting together with him in Denver and Santa Monica and holding a fundraising dinner for him in New Orleans. But those interactions only scratch the surface, as the documents reveal remarkably cozy and constant communications between the Subpoenaed Parties and AG Hood... (MPAA’s Brian Cohen greeting one of AG Hood’s staffers with “Hello my favorite” and offering to send her pictures of his vacation in New Zealand); .... (discussing a meeting with AG Hood’s staff the MPAA’s Cohen gushed “OMG we spent 3 hours.”). This pattern of sustained, intimate contact is hardly the mark of a party that merely “communicated with Attorney General Hood” “previously” as the MPAA characterizes itself.

Despite protesting that Google has “inappropriately grouped” it with the MPAA and Jenner ..., the DCA is no different. It retained Mike Moore, Mississippi’s former attorney general, as a lobbyist to influence AG Hood regarding his Google investigation, even while Moore was serving as a deputized agent of AG Hood in connection with that same investigation. Alongside the MPAA lobbyists, Moore too was in constant contact with AG Hood regarding Google. And he co-hosted the campaign dinner for him that the MPAA put on. ... Similarly, the DCA’s Executive Director, Tom Galvin, was personally involved in discussions with AG Hood, also traveling to Mississippi to meet with him.... Although the DCA claims it “does not do business in Mississippi” ..., its “business” is lobbying and manufacturing press at the behest of the MPAA which heavily funds it. It was extremely active in that regard in Mississippi. The Subpoenaed Parties did not act alone in animating AG Hood with respect to Google, they coordinated their efforts with the major Hollywood studios who make up the MPAA, including Fox, NBCU and Viacom (collectively the “NY Parties”). That coordination continues to this day — the NY Parties are using the same law firm, Jenner, to resist subpoenas from Google, and in the Southern District of New York, they have made relevance, burden and privilege arguments that are virtually identical to those that the Subpoenaed Parties have advanced here.
There's a lot more in the documents being filed (some of which we'll cover in other posts), but suffice it to say this fight is getting even nastier as it continues, and it sounds like the contacts between the MPAA and Jim Hood (the same emails that wanted a ridiculous amount of money to reveal following our public records request) show that the relationship was even tighter than was revealed from the leaked Sony emails.







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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Jul 2015 @ 10:00am

    Gee it is almost like it might somehow be illegal to just pay elected officials to do what you want and get them to ignore the law they are charged with upholding.

    If Hood goes down, does anything think Dodd might have his panties in a bunch? Perhaps publicly admitting we buy the law we want and they give it to us or else might finally result in the serious questions about how bought the government is.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 10:16am

      Re:

      Then the shills continue to come here and zealously defend IP laws all the while ignoring the morally bankrupt state of our current laws and the democratic subversion that was taken to get the laws that they want passed as proof of their lack of moral character.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 12:07pm

        Re: Re:

        Which is why it's always funny when the maximalists claim, "it's the law!" as if being a law makes a rule moral or ethical or even implies that it was passed with the consent of the governed by representatives of the actual citizens rather than of lobbyists and their corporate employers.

        Saying "it's the law," in this case is the equivalent of saying, "I paid for it to be this way, so that you would be forced to do what I want, and you're not doing what I want!"

        And then they'll pull out the "two wrongs don't make a right" trope to hand-wave away any unethical actions by the maximalists. But they created the dog-eat-dog world, and the only people who play along with their purchased laws are suckers. I would assert that it's your moral duty to disrespect laws that disrespect the people they're supposed made on behalf of.

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  • identicon
    Dave Xanatos, 6 Jul 2015 @ 10:08am

    whose hand was shoved so far up Hood's behind that it was a bit unseemly.

    The metaphor started strong, but ended weak. Please reword. Suggestion: whose hand was shoved so far up Hood's behind that even proctologists were uncomfortable watching it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 11:06am

      Re:

      Hand so far up Hood's behind:
      ...they really should have had to pay double.
      ...it would have made even a TSA veteran blush.
      ...he could have auditioned for Avenue Q.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 11:31am

      Response to: Dave Xanatos on Jul 6th, 2015 @ 10:08am

      Hand so far up his behind that their fingers poked out his nose.

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

    • icon
      Blackfiredragon13 (profile), 6 Jul 2015 @ 11:59am

      Re:

      Well at least that's hood's prostate exam out of the way.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 3:42pm

      Re:

      "The metaphor started strong, but ended weak. Please reword. Suggestion:" whose hand was shoved so far up Hood's anal cavity that their fingers moved his lips.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 10:10am

    The MPAA got caught with their hands in the cookie jar and are afraid now that it will reveal a systematically funded and supported effort across the nation might be revealed with the same level of involvement in other states.

    Now it wants to play coy in being that legal club instrument attempting to drum up support by making it costly for Google to fight lawsuits across the nation.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 10:12am

    IP extremists have no regard for morality whastoever. I just wish the shills around here, that keep lying about their conflict of interest in the matter as proof (at least to themselves) of their lack of moral character, would turn around and decide to stop being so morally bankrupt. but they won't. I don't know how the shills around here can look themselves in the mirror with a straight face and still defend their unconditional zeal for copy protection laws knowing that the current laws (ie: copy protection lengths) are morally bankrupt and are a result of the corporate subversion of the democratic process. Yet these morally bankrupt thugs continue to defend their lies with no remorse. How can such evil even exist.

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

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 7 Jul 2015 @ 3:10am

      Re:

      They do it using one word: "Property."

      It's NOT property, it's a monopoly. Let's be reminding them of that fact every time.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 10:18am

    The courts have overwhelmingly sided with Google up to this point -- putting his demands (written by the MPAA) on hold and saying that it was clear Hood unconstitutionally acted in bad faith in violation of the First Amendment.


    But he just keeps on doing this without anyone actually charging him for that abuse of authority?

    Yep... stupid people still voting and voting stupid people into office... nothing new.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 10:20am

    They are laying the groundwork for a anti-trust suit that may bust the MPAA.

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

  • identicon
    David, 6 Jul 2015 @ 10:27am

    When are the big charges going to come?

    Since it's apparent that multiple studios and Hood colluded on this, where are the Conspiracy charges? "Gee, that's a nice search engine you have there!" racketeering charges? Will there be RICO charges brought against these folks?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 10:29am

      Re: When are the big charges going to come?

      If charges if any are brought against the MPAA/Hood you can sure bet that Dotcom will be applauding them and rightfully so.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 10:27am

    The studios then hit back angrily at these requests arguing that Google is going way overboard in asking for basically all of its anti-Google documents
    To be fair, the studios hate Google so much that producing all of their anti-Google documents could take a while. You'd probably also need a good search engine to sort through it all. I wonder if there are any up to the task...

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 10:38am

      Re:

      IP extremists won't be happy until they have completely stopped any opportunity for anyone to compete with them without going through them. All content must go through them or else. That's why they hate Google and that's why they took down Megaupload.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 6 Jul 2015 @ 10:29am

    Omg, omg I'm smelling blood here. It's not like a big corporation abusing their power against the small guy that barely has money to sustain himself. No, it's more like a clash of titans (specially because behind the MAFIAA you have a collective of companies).

    Gentleman, this may end in a very good way for everybody. I have my issues with Google but I hope they win a smashing victory against the MAFIAA and their facade starts to crumble so the public will see them for what they are: rotten, greedy bastards.

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

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 6 Jul 2015 @ 10:48am

      Re:

      The public already sees the MPAA as rotten, greedy bastards.

      All that will happen is Hood's political career will be over (until he gets a cushy job lobbying for the film industry) and the MPAA will move onto their next plan to rule the world.

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  • icon
    DB (profile), 6 Jul 2015 @ 10:47am

    I imagine what really scares the studios and MPAA is that Google likely already *has* some of the emails. Right there in GMail, on their own multiply-redundant servers. With the most powerful search engine in the world, and the third-best social network analysis.

    Imagine their situation. They know that there are incriminating emails. Perhaps very incriminating emails. Can they be certain that the worst didn't end up on gmail?

    Even when they know who received them, what if someone forwarded the email through their GMail account to more easily read them on a tablet or phone?

    They can't really ask. Doing so would be out-and-out conspiracy. Which might be worse than the original offense.

    For individuals with email that did end on GMail, what can they do? Delete it? That might be criminal. With Google's legendary email preservation, the mail might still be exist.

    And the paranoia sets in: what if the email recipients are already known, and Google has already identified the email. The evidence might already be preserved. You can't delete it -- that would be spotted. You can't claim it doesn't exist -- Google already knows about it. You might claim to inadvertently omitted it from discovery responses -- but Google already knows about it!

    Once you think it through, the only approach to block discovery completely. That's the only way Google can't use the incriminating emails. And if you know they are really incriminating, fight it with every tool at your disposal. Including getting nasty and personal. Using every political tool, and every powerful person.

    That looks exactly like what is happening.

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    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 6 Jul 2015 @ 10:20pm

      Re:

      With the most powerful search engine in the world, and the third-best social network analysis.

      Second-best is?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 5:28am

      Re:

      This looks bad, it's a pity they can't call Agents J and K, have them whip out their handy Neuralyzers and make the Google Collective forget about the whole thing.

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

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 6 Jul 2015 @ 11:06am

    I'm amazed ootb isn't here spouting the usual nonsense.

    Perhaps he's busy cleaning his brown pants.

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

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 6 Jul 2015 @ 11:16am

    Google filed the present motion because it insists on more. Google demands documents that the Attorney General never saw ... on the misguided theory that such documents somehow are probative of Attorney General Hood’s intent.

    Considering how it's becoming increasingly clear with each new bit of evidence that comes to light that Attorney General Hood's intent was never his intent in the first place, but that of the studios pulling his strings, calling this theory "misguided" smells like outright perjury to me...

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

    • identicon
      observer, 7 Jul 2015 @ 4:49pm

      Re:

      I'm a little disappointed that they haven't even tried to come up with an excuse for why the Attorney General of a state with hardly any local film industry is so interested in the affairs of the film industry, because I'm sure that would have made for entertaining reading.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 11:38am

    I think the smart thing for Mr. Hood to do here is keep his mouth shut to minimize the damage to himself. He is more the conduit for these two giants to battle than the target.

    He won't get out of this unscathed, but trying to fight it will only make things worse. Perhaps someone could offer him a plea deal.

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

  • identicon
    PRMan, 6 Jul 2015 @ 12:34pm

    Get it overwith already

    Google should just buy one of the studios and clean house. Pull out of the MPAA and RIAA and make everything in their catalog available on Google Play for a low price.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 12:48pm

      Re: Get it overwith already

      How fast would the MPAA (hypocritically) accuse Google of anti-trust and monopoly practices if they went that direction. The studios already hated Netflix for its original purpose as a distributor and now more for its role as production house. Yahoo! is producing shows. The relevance of the original studios is subsiding, like a dinosaur into a tar pit...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 12:56pm

    How is Hood still AG after openly refusing to provide the evidence that would exonerate him if his claims are true.

    Obviously they are not and he has openly committed crimes using his position to.

    The question is why is that somehow not enough to remove him from office before he does even more harm.

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  • identicon
    Digitari, 6 Jul 2015 @ 1:10pm

    So.....

    ....Darth Vader might yet get paid?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 3:33pm

    so umm...

    what exactly would it take for the feds to investigate conflict of interest, potential bribery acceptance, and potentially other crimes for abusing his station on behalf of another private party?

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 6 Jul 2015 @ 3:47pm

      Re: so umm...

      A desire to actually do their jobs, and more importantly, a willingness to apply the law fairly and equally, regardless of the rank or station of the one being investigated.

      In other words, don't hold your breath.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 8:23pm

        Re: Re: so umm...

        what exactly would it take for the feds to investigate ...?
        In other words, don't hold your breath.
        Oh, c'mon. Some of these kids can hold their breath until they turn blue in the face!

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

  • icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), 6 Jul 2015 @ 3:58pm

    Is it really prostitution...

    when the only people in the room are prostitutes and there aren't any actual "clients"? Hood prostituted himself to MPAA whom prostituted themselves to Hood and Moore while Moore was prostituting himself to MPAA and DCA was just standing waiting for it's turn in the round robin of ruination.

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

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 6 Jul 2015 @ 5:37pm

    The MPAA acting illegally?

    Tell me isn't so Joe! Tell me it isn't so! (Allusions to the infamous Black Sox scandal of 1919.)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2015 @ 5:45pm

    I like how the MPAA is arguing that since they're based in New York, they can't be accounted for relationships in Mississippi - and yet, at the same time, copyright holders and their enforcement arms constantly insist that because websites are global, they get to demand the presence of site operators and other defendants in whatever court/arena location they see fit, because having a website means you "do business" in wherever the hell they summon you to.

    It's almost pathetic to see the MPAA thinking that such hypocrisy is completely reasonable, and that they'll get away with it without anyone noticing.

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  • identicon
    pcdec, 6 Jul 2015 @ 10:33pm

    i'm guessing twitter

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

  • icon
    Jeremy2020 (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 8:55am

    An interesting sidenote, local PBR station KUT had an interview with Hood regarding the recent BP settlement for the gulf oil spill. He spent most of his talking about how great BP was and how easy they were to work with and then went a side tangent about how Google should be more co-operative like BP was..

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

  • identicon
    Deserttrek, 7 Jul 2015 @ 11:54am

    looks like two pigs wrestling in the mud to see who is worse

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

  • identicon
    Another Anon, 7 Jul 2015 @ 1:28pm

    So...let's play Name That Party! Anyone care to guess what political party membership the slimy Mr. Hood (what an apt name he has, to be sure) holds? Yup, he's a Democrat - a fact that isn't mentioned a single time in this article, nor seemingly in any previous articles on this case. How strange. Especially since party identification always seems to occur in the very first line of any article about a Republican's misdeeds.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 1:37pm

      Re:

      Especially since party identification always seems to occur...
      You're rather new around here, aren't you? Next time, you should become familiar with Mr Masnick's well-known policies before making stupid statements.

      Actually, cancel that—let's just not have a next time.

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

    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 1:39pm

      Re:

      Yup, he's a Democrat - a fact that isn't mentioned a single time in this article, nor seemingly in any previous articles on this case. How strange. Especially since party identification always seems to occur in the very first line of any article about a Republican's misdeeds.


      Not here at Techdirt. Political parties are only mentioned here if it actually has something to do with the gist of the article.

      I agree with Techdirt's policy on this. Political partisanship usually only serves to distract from the real issues.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 2:28pm

      Re:

      So...let's play Name That Party! Anyone care to guess what political party membership the slimy Mr. Hood (what an apt name he has, to be sure) holds? Yup, he's a Democrat - a fact that isn't mentioned a single time in this article, nor seemingly in any previous articles on this case. How strange. Especially since party identification always seems to occur in the very first line of any article about a Republican's misdeeds.

      As noted by others that's not true. Unless there is a story-specific reason for naming the party, we do not name parties as a matter of policy. Because, when we do, idiots show up with partisan screaming points, rather than actual discussion.

      Our policy has always been unless there's a relevant reason to name the party (no matter which party) we leave it out.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 2:31pm

      Re:

      Congratulations on being the latest winner of the 'Sucker of the day' award, for caring one bit about party affiliation over what's actually being done.

      Your award will be mailed out to you sometime in the next week, please wait next to your mailbox for it to arrive.

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

  • identicon
    GEMont, 7 Jul 2015 @ 1:38pm

    Capitalisteosis - civilization's terminal cancer

    What a beautiful example of exactly how business-as-usual is conducted in the United States of America.

    This folks, is literally, capitalism in action.

    Like an iceberg, 90% of American Corporate Business is conducted behind the scenes (below the surface), out of sight, because it is 100% criminal activity of the lowest form and because it incriminates the very people hired/elected to safeguard the nation's life blood.

    What a legacy.

    Old: In God We Trust.
    New: In Gold We Tryst.

    ---

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

  • icon
    dogsdreams (profile), 7 Jul 2015 @ 2:46pm

    As bad as you say, but nowhere close to illegal

    No matter how much this sucks, it's nowhere near being illegal. The only way it would be is if Hood was paid money to do this, but I guarantee he wasn't because he's tried stuff like this before, so it's obvious he needed no convincing. The MPAA doing the legal work isn't a payment. It's not all that uncommon for parties working with law enforcement to do this, and it's also been done in cases where an attorney general has successfully prosecuted large corporations for false advertising, failing to honor consumer warranties, etc., where an outside group provided knowledge about the particular industry that the attorney general needed but didn't have. I know you guys want to express your anger and disgust, but I'm trying to help you. Here's some inside knowledge you might want to consider. You may be trying to help your cause, but you're actually hurting it because you make it the easiest thing in the world for the IP side to be the only voice listened to. They have actual facts with actual evidence, even if they distort them. If you want to be taken seriously you can't just make up "facts" based on your opinions or on what you think must have happened, like saying someone was bribed. Also, just because zillions of other people on the internet are saying the same thing that doesn't make it true. I read lots and lots of posts and blogs (because I want to know all sides), and about 99% of what's written is not just totally wrong, but it's completely obvious that it's wrong to anybody who knows the true facts because they've seen the evidence. No matter how many resisters express themselves online they're not even a blip on the screens of the Powers because there is zero being said that stands up against what the IP industries are saying based on believable evidence. You can say it's all lies, money and corrupt government officials, or flame me for saying this stuff, but like I said, I'm trying to help.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2015 @ 3:39pm

      Re: As bad as you say, but nowhere close to illegal

      No matter how much this sucks, it's nowhere near being illegal...
      Oh, of course not.

      Judge Wingate was obviously —clearly— mistaken when he found that Google has demonstrated a substantial likelihood that it will prevail.

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

    • identicon
      GEMont, 7 Jul 2015 @ 7:56pm

      Re: As bad as you say, but nowhere close to illegal

      "...nowhere close to illegal..."

      Sadly, most of what you said is true, but only because the laws and rules of the game have been changed over the last thirty years specifically to make these kinds of under-the-table and behind-the-scenes deals by big business and the federal government "perfectly" legal.

      Considering how almost everything the USG and its minions do is also "nowhere near illegal", including the theft of people's property and cash through the Twilight Zone concept of claiming an inanimate object is guilty of a crime and must be incarcerated, and the secret intrusion into the private lives of all US citizens under the obvious bullshit guise of fighting terrorism, its hardly surprising that the USG's "partner in crime"; corporate America, can also do as it wants with the full support of the law.

      Anywhere else on earth, in any other nation, Americans would call this process fascism - corporate government.

      But in America where the population knows that God his very self has made sure that Fascism cannot possibly happen, the public is content to use terms like "over-reach" to explain the - had the laws not been changed first - criminal activities of their "government" and "commercial giants".

      Apparently the only Americans that can still break the law are the members of the 99%, for which all laws now apply.

      ---

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 8 Jul 2015 @ 1:37am

      A poor defense at best

      No matter how much this sucks, it's nowhere near being illegal.

      That's like saying that the NSA hasn't done anything wrong, because they carefully followed all the laws. Even if it's true, that doesn't do anything but make the matter look worse, in large part because what's been done isn't 'technically' illegal.

      The only way it would be is if Hood was paid money to do this, but I guarantee he wasn't because he's tried stuff like this before, so it's obvious he needed no convincing.

      Paid directly, for this very action? Probably not, but they absolutely have thrown money his way before.

      It's not all that uncommon for parties working with law enforcement to do this, and it's also been done in cases where an attorney general has successfully prosecuted large corporations for false advertising, failing to honor consumer warranties, etc., where an outside group provided knowledge about the particular industry that the attorney general needed but didn't have.

      Here's an important distinction though: I'm guessing that in those other instances, with outside parties working with law enforcement or AG's, the relationship was made clear, and both sides admitted that they were working together.

      Here though, both Hood and the MPAA have claimed, repeatedly, that there is no relationship between each other, despite all the evidence to the contrary(like the MPAA literally writing legal documents Hood sent out). They have done everything they could to hide the connection between each other, which at the very least makes it look like they're doing something they shouldn't and know it.

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


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