Google under fire for supporting pirate sites


— 2:57 PM on February 12, 2007

A host of media companies, including News Corp, Viacom, Sony, NBC Universal, Time Warner, and Walt Disney has accused Google of knowingly supporting sites that facilitate the distribution of pirated movies, according to an article by the Wall Street Journal (subscription required). The two sites—EasyDownloadCenter.com and TheDownloadPlace.com—allegedly generated $809,000 in revenue from Google AdSense ads between 2003 and 2005. As part of a civil lawsuit filed by movie studios against the sites' owners last year, the owners testified that Google representatives offered them credit and helped them select keywords like "bootleg movie download" for ads on Google's search engine.

Google isn't being sued over these claims, but the company announced on Friday that it had agreed to implement measures to avoid promoting piracy. Google told movie studios that it will remove certain ads the studios object to, make a list of approved advertisers, and not sell keywords that direct users to pirated material. Google also plans to monitor keywords internally and train its ad sales staff to not sell ads to pirate sites. (Thanks to Ars Technica for the tip.)

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