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Google subpoenas studios

June 3, 2015

By Colin Mann

Google has asked a Washington judge to force law firm Jenner & Block and the Motion Picture Association of America to comply with subpoenas for documents that Google alleges will prove their involvement in anti-Google lobbying efforts.

Google filed papers June 1st in the US District Court for the District of Columbia arguing that objections to the subpoenas raised by Jenner & Block, the MPAA and consumer advocacy group Digital Citizens Alliance were “meritless”.

The subpoenas relate to a lawsuit filed by Google in the federal district court in Mississippi at the end of 2014 against the state’s attorney general, Jim Hood. According to Google, Hood has pursued investigations and threatened the company with legal action in violation of its constitutional rights. At issue is third-party content online that Hood and others find objectionable, such as videos posted on Google-owned YouTube.

Google is seeking information on any communications between Hood and lobbyists at Jenner & Block, the MPAA and the Digital Citizens Alliance.

“To date, the subpoenaed parties have produced nothing,” wrote Google’s lawyers Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, who claimed the parties had “withheld all responsive documents, objecting that they are irrelevant or protected by some unidentified and unsubstantiated privilege”.

According to Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the documents are likely to show that the attorney general’s investigation was intended not to uncover supposed violations of Mississippi law, but instead to coerce Google into silencing speech that the subpoenaed parties do not like (such as search results, user-generated content and advertising), in violation of Google’s constitutional rights.

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