Google Makes Nice with Hollywood

Google to Hollywood: Don’t shut us out! We’ll play nice! That’s the subtext to its announcement today that it will crack down on piracy on the web. Hollywood has been cool to Google TV because it allegedly enables consumers to download illegal content from anywhere — multiplying the problems of studios and networks trying to catch scoff-laws.

Google’s general counsel announced four steps on its policy blog to rein in piracy: action on “reliable” takedown requests within 24 hours; the search engine’s “autocomplete” function won’t include terms commonly used in piracy; increasing scrutiny of the company’s AdSense service by illegitimate purveyors of content; and attempts to make “legitimate” content more readily accessible in search results.

The MPAA sounded a cautiously optimistic note, saying that it’s encouraged by Google’s “recognition of the responsibility of all participants in the online worldto help combat online content theft.

Of course, the devil’s in the details. Exactly what constitutes a “reliable” takedown request, or whether Google even has the manpower to respond to it, isn’t explained. And “increasing scrutiny” of AdSense use could mean an increase from “never” to “rarely.”

Whether this is enough to loosen the networks’ ban of Hulu on Google TV or free up more movie downloads for YouTube remains to be seen.

About Michael Stroud

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