Hollywood studios are not always happy with Google. They’ve frequently accused the search company of facilitating piracy, or at least not doing enough to stop it. But an internal Sony Pictures email reveals that the studio and Google were back-channeling over the issue, and that Google’s public stance on piracy may have differed from its private one. And for some reason, Homeland Security was involved in the discussions.
The email, which surfaced as part of the massive hack against Sony, was sent by a member of Sony Pictures’ legal team to CEO Michael Lynton. It was sent on March 19, 2012, and said that assistant secretary of Homeland Security John Morton was going to call and invite Lynton to join “a small group . . . to find a compromise to the Google issues.”
The email went on:
“Google apparently is willing to do more than its public (and not so public) positions; Google suggested you as the most balanced and reasonable person on the studio side and specifically requested your participation. No other studio would be involved.”
You are his first phone call invitation to this small group. He plans on also inviting the Chairman , President and CEO of Eli Lilly , John C. Lechleiter, who is very involved in fighting counterfeit pharmaceuticals; additionally , he wants to invite Ernie Allen who is the President and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. I have attached the resumes of each of these 2 gentlemen. Lastly, he is thinking of including someone from Rosetta Stone; I still have not confirmed who that would be. From what I understand, John does not want the group any larger.
Vinton C. Cerf, Google’s VP and chief Internet evangelist, would represent the search engine giant.
The email doesn’t say explicitly what the meeting’s agenda would be, or why content piracy is on the Department of Homeland Security’s radar. But, it stressed, “he has asked that we keep this very confidential.”
Did the meeting take place? Nobody has said yet. But Google did recently remove several torrenting apps from Google Play. It also released its second report about its anti-piracy efforts, which included a better system for downranking websites that illegally host copyright material.
[h/t: The Verge]