Mississippi A.G. Asks Court To Throw Out Google's Lawsuit

Documents hacked last year from Sony's computer network revealed that the entertainment industry was trying to convince state law enforcement authorities, including Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, to target Google for allegedly enabling piracy.

Shortly after the documents were publicized, Google went to federal court and sought an order banning Hood from enforcing a subpoena for “millions” of documents. Google said in its papers that the material requested by Hood appears to relate to copyright infringement by third parties -- including YouTube uploaders and Web site operators who appear in the search results. Google also sought a restraining order prohibiting Hood from following through on a threat to sue the company for enabling Web users to access “illegal” content. Among other arguments, Google pointed out that the federal Communications Decency Act immunizes it from liability for illegal activity by third parties.

The case was put on hold, to give Hood time to respond. This week, he did so.

In papers filed with U.S. District Court Judge Henry Wingate on Monday, Hood argues that Google's request is premature. “If the Attorney General ultimately files suit ... Google will have its day in court -- it just should not be this court,” Hood says in a motion arguing for dismissal of Google's lawsuit.

The Attorney General adds that he's investigating whether Google has violated Mississippi's consumer protection law, which prohibits businesses from engaging in deceptive and unfair trade practices. Hood contends that the material he requested “is directly related” to discovering whether Google violated the Mississippi Consumer Protection Act.

Hood also argues that Google shouldn't be “the arbiter of whether its conduct violates state law,” especially given its history with the Justice Department. Specifically, Hood referred to a 2011 settlement that required the company to pay $500 million to settle charges that it allowed Canadian pharmacies to advertise prescription drugs to U.S. Web users.

Google's next round of papers is due Jan. 22, and a hearing is scheduled for Feb. 13.

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