Once again, it seems search titan Google is being asked to look into itself a little more closely. When Google bought YouTube in October, 2006, several big Hollywood players -- most notably Viacom -- asked Google to take a little more care in the presentation of copyrighted material. Now, says the Hollywood Reporter, an open letter to lawmakers released Wednesday sees the independent watchdog group, the National Legal and Policy Center alleging that Google's servers and services are still a too-convenient haven for pirates.

The math is pretty compelling -- an NLPC review of Google conducted between Sept. 10th and 18th found over 300 apparently pirated films that had been viewed some 22 million times. Multiply 22 million by an average ticket price of $10, and you're talking some serious money. Extrapolate those 10 days into a full year, and you're looking at a sum of 8 billion dollars -- that exceeds Google's annual revenue of 7.5 billion and is four times their 2 billion dollar profit.

It'd be easy to see this as yet another veiled swipe at the internet's cavalier attitude towards intellectual property by big studios -- except for the fact that the NLPC is a wholly independent group with no apparent ties to the film industry. For it's part, Google claims that any and all copyrighted material found on their sites and services illegally is removed as soon as a copyright holder makes their displeasure known. However, the NLPC's Ken Boehm says that's not good enough: "We are hoping to shame Google into doing something. What they are doing is inexcusable corporate behavior. When big companies do something unethical, it sends a message to everyone else that it's OK." Google also claims to be working on better content filtering that they hope to unveil as soon as possible.
categories Movies, Cinematical