Judge Henry T. Wingate of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi granted Google’s motions for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against Mississippi AG Jim Hood (D). This order, issued in early March, stops the AG from making good on threats of civil and criminal charges against the online giant, as well as keeping him from enforcing subpoenas. The judge rejected Google’s first motions in December.
Google’s motions refer to the 79-page subpoena it received from Hood last fall. The MS AG thinks Google is helping pirate sites. He also takes issue with the company’s sharing of YouTube ad revenue. Hood wants to hold the search engine company accountable for such things as pirated movies, illegal prescription drug ads and objectionable content.
The company filed suit against Hood in December 2014 claiming that his actions are violations of federal law and unconstitutional under the 1st and 4th Amendments. The company asserts that the AG has “threatened to prosecute, sue, or investigate Google” if it refused to comply with his subpoena. Google states that it cannot be held responsible for third-part content.
Documents cited in the suit include those obtained by The Huffington Post, The Verge and The New York Times, which reveal that Hood (and other AGs) are working together with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to revive certain parts of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that Congress did away with in 2012.
While not technically predicting an outcome of the pending trial, Wingate’s four-page order stated that he expected the issue to “be adjudicated quickly.” Foreshadowing, anyone?
It strikes me that Mississippi has far more important issues with which to contend than whether its citizens can download bootleg copies of “Frozen.” As we all know, cases like this are not inexpensive. I believe it would be a better use of taxpayer money to boost education in the state. Or, as Michigan has done, focus on increasing seatbelt use. That’s just my opinion, though. Apparently, it’s far more important to ensure that Mississippians cannot buy erection pills from Mexico than it is to make sure they can do math above an 8th grade level and not kill themselves in accidents because they didn’t buckle up.