Goliath strikes back & the FBI confirms North Korea was behind the Sony leak

  • Last Friday, The Verge published leaked documents revealing a secret legal campaign to discredit Google, coordinated by the MPAA on behalf of the major Hollywood studios. The documents show a continued focus on the power to blocking sites from the web — a central issue in the 2011 SOPA debates — and a concerted effort to enlist state attorney generals in that fight.

  • This morning, Google filed a lawsuit in Mississippi district court against State Attorney General Jim Hood, alleging Hood had singled the company out for a "burdensome, retaliatory" subpoena. (Hood has faced scrutiny for his role in the MPAA efforts.) Alongside the lawsuit, Google has launched evidentiary actions against the MPAA and its retained counsel at Jenner & Block, asking them to retain documents for a possible future action. Alongside the legal campaign, Google has launched a public advocacy campaign against the MPAA's newly revealed site-blocking measures, asking users "kill off #ZombieSOPA" with a petition to the MPAA. Google has fought the legal actions before, but this is the first time the company has gone on the offense, and suggests a new dynamic in the ongoing struggle between Google and the MPAA. Google is striking back against the Goliath project, and it's doing so in court.

  • According to Google's lawsuit, Hood's subpoena asked for far more data than necessary, so much that simply complying with the order became a penalty. The subpoena asked for 141 specific documents, 62 interviews, and a broad request for any information relating to "dangerous content" hosted on Google's network. If Google fails to include anything that fits that description, it could open the door for further lawsuits, creating a potentially staggering burden of evidence.

  • Google's counteroffensive isn't limited to Attorney General Hood. The company has also issued a document preservation notice to both the MPAA and the law firm Jenner & Block, asking them to retain documents related to the Goliath campaign and hinting at further legal action in the future.

  • Google's official statement

    • The government of North Korea instigated the massive cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment and threats against movie theaters over The Interview, the now-cancelled satire about an imagined assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the FBI said this morning. “As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other U.S. Government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions,” the Bureau said Friday. “North Korea’s actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a U.S. business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves,” the FBI added.

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