Leaked emails from the hack against Sony show that major movie companies are working together with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) on a project aimed to stop a company known as “Goliath.”
It’s pretty clear they’re referring to Google.
The Verge first reported on an email from one of the MPAA’s top lawyers, Steven Fabrizio, laying out Hollywood’s strategy against Goliath.
From Hollywood’s perspective, Goliath is enabling piracy online. Hollywood’s goal appears to be blocking access to pirated movies.
“We start from the premise that site blocking is a means to an end,” said Fabrizio.
But what stands out from the leaked emails is that major studios, who normally compete against each other, are banding together with the MPAA to defeat an enemy they can’t even bring themselves to name.
It’s like when Harry Potter characters call Voldemort “he who must not be named.”
It sounds like the MPAA wants to develop a technical solution to the problem of piracy but doesn’t know what that would be yet: “Very little systematic work has been completed to understand the technical issues related to site blocking in the US and/or alternative measures IPSs [sic] might adopt.”
Hollywood is also afraid of bad PR coming from anything they do against Google: “In the post-SOPA world, we need to consider the extent to which a strategy presents a risk of a public relations backlash,” said Fabrizio.
Google has tweaked its search engine results to make finding pirated movies harder, though there’s no sign the company would ever work directly with the MPAA on something like this.
That may not be enough for Hollywood, though.
Last April a major studio exec criticised President Obama for not doing more on piracy and said he’s “scared of Google.”