Thursday, September 27, 2007

Group urges Google probe

An ethics group is urging Congress to scrutinize Google's copyright controls after finding hundreds of apparently pirated movies available on the Internet search leader's Web site.

In letters sent to several lawmakers Wednesday, the National Legal and Policy Center excoriated Mountain View-based Google for allowing its video-hosting service to become an online theater for showing and promoting illegally copied movies.

The non-profit group, which says it has no financial ties to the movie industry, is best known for helping to expose a 2003 corruption scandal involving the Air Force and Boeing that landed two executives in jail.

The grievances made to Congress focused exclusively on content found on Google's Web site rather than the company's more popular YouTube subsidiary that is being sued by Viacom for alleged copyright infringement.

The harsh critique echoes similar complaints that have asserted Google is more interested in boosting its audience - and potential profit - than protecting the intellectual property of Hollywood studios, record labels, authors and publishers.

Google says it adheres to federal law by removing unauthorized content whenever asked by copyright owners.

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