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MPAA catches Google HQ sharing torrents of copyrighted content

Posted at 08 February 2011 08:00 CEST by wconeybeer

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.

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There are 6 comments

Seán
Senior Administrator & Reviewer
Posted on: 08 Feb 11 14:26
    One possibility is one or more employees running BitTorrent on their laptops without realising it. For example, let's take the example of an accountant who is not familiar with file sharing, but lets its children use the laptop who in turn run BitTorrent. As most BitTorrent utilities automatically run at windows start-up by default, then each time the accountant hooks up the laptop at work, the BitTorrent software will automatically launch and run in the background.

    So assuming these employees are not doing this deliberately, then either this BitTorrent usage is caused by using personal laptops or business laptops with unauthorised software installed and the company firewall is not configured properly to block BitTorrent traffic.
    rla
    Banned
    Posted on: 08 Feb 11 17:50
      Interesting that the MPAA members somehow let screeners get out and then the MPAA harps and moans that someone is sharing a screener. Well folks those screeners only come from one source and that is the studios themselves. Perhaps the MPAA should establish some controls over their own screener discs and then maybe Corporate America won't be expected to clean up the mess created by the crappy security in the industry itself..
      Blu-rayFreak
      MyCE Resident
      Posted on: 08 Feb 11 18:10
        If they want to eradicate screener piracy, they have to stop sending out discs and just stream them online. Seems like that's the better way to control screener content IMO.
        rla
        Banned
        Posted on: 08 Feb 11 18:52
          Exactly! Even theater owners could benefit from viewing screeners online via VPNs with and encrypted ID scheme. Could significantly reduce the cost of producing the physical screener disc and packaging too.
          StormJumper
          Retired Moderator
          Posted on: 08 Feb 11 19:08
            Quote:
            Originally Posted by Seán
            One possibility is one or more employees running BitTorrent on their laptops without realising it. For example, let's take the example of an accountant who is not familiar with file sharing, but lets its children use the laptop who in turn run BitTorrent. As most BitTorrent utilities automatically run at windows start-up by default, then each time the accountant hooks up the laptop at work, the BitTorrent software will automatically launch and run in the background.

            So assuming these employees are not doing this deliberately, then either this BitTorrent usage is caused by using personal laptops or business laptops with unauthorised software installed and the company firewall is not configured properly to block BitTorrent traffic.
            That is interesting thinking course members of Google in high places did think they could get away with gathering personal data, but thats another topic
            tmc8080
            MyCE Resident
            Posted on: 14 Feb 11 01:16
              Quote:
              Originally Posted by Seán
              One possibility is one or more employees running BitTorrent on their laptops without realising it. For example, let's take the example of an accountant who is not familiar with file sharing, but lets its children use the laptop who in turn run BitTorrent. As most BitTorrent utilities automatically run at windows start-up by default, then each time the accountant hooks up the laptop at work, the BitTorrent software will automatically launch and run in the background.

              So assuming these employees are not doing this deliberately, then either this BitTorrent usage is caused by using personal laptops or business laptops with unauthorised software installed and the company firewall is not configured properly to block BitTorrent traffic.
              Hmmm.. you think there are people who work at google who are NOT technology literate? WHAT?!? Oh geez.... give me a break... This is why the censoring ended up stopping.. you start criticizing what's happening internally.. you get less cooperation externally. Or, rather.. feed laxitive chocolates, you get watery fecal returns...

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