Google has been under fire from antipiracy groups quite a bit lately, and responded recently by censoring some piracy-related terms, many of them containing “torrent”, from their autocomplete service. Unfortunately, the company’s piracy issues don’t just lie within the functionality of its search engine.
Over the past few months, the search giant has received numerous automated Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) warning letters from Motion Picture Association of America-affiliated movie studios requesting that they cease illegally sharing copyrighted content from their systems. While much of the illegal activity takes place on IP addresses belonging to Google’s public Wi-Fi systems, some are actually directed at Google’s corporate headquarters in Mountain View, CA.
Could Google employees actually be pirating movies on company property?
A new report by TorrentFreak alleges that could be the case. Reporters from the site recently investigated over 100 DMCA warning letters directed at Google, posted at digital rights website ChillingEffects.org. They found that some of the notices do appear to contain IP addresses of Google employees.
One such letter, sent from Paramount Pictures, indicates that someone at Google Headquarters was caught sharing a DVD screener of The Fighter from a company IP address on February 4th. Another, sent from Columbia Pictures, indicates that someone there had also shared a copy of The Green Hornet on February 2nd.
If the warning letters are to be believed, Google could be in danger of losing their internet access. As TorrentFreak points out, however, these letters rarely result in any type of legal action for the recipients. We don’t expect Google to suffer too many repercussions over the incidents.
Legal action or no, I’m willing to bet that once company executives get wind of these incidents, a strong reminder will go out to employees reminding them not to engage in illegal internet activity across company networks. And there goes the brownie points the company earned with the MPAA for censoring the word “torrent” in their instant search results.