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CEA, groups call for injunction against Mississippi probe of Google

The Consumer Electronics Association, together with the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and Engine, filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, asking the court to affirm a lower court’s injunction against an investigation into Google that was being conducted by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood.

The case is particularly controversial as a number of parties have alleged that Hood is in league with the Motion Picture Association of America in pressing an investigation into whether the company allows pirates to sell drugs and stolen movies through advertising and YouTube.

“Congress deliberately chose to limit the liability of online services for the actions of third-party users,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. “Congress’ decision to create a legal environment that encourages innovation and investment has helped make the U.S. the home to most of the world’s leading Internet businesses.”

“Attorney General Hood disagrees with Congress’ choice, erroneously believing service providers should be required to monitor and filter the Internet for content he deems objectionable. If allowed to proceed, Hood would set a dangerous precedent allowing state attorneys general to handcuff the Internet and economy,” said Shapiro.

In addition to the CEA, the American Civil Liberties Union also filed an amicus brief, which argues that the investigation violates Google’s first amendment rights. Another brief by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Center for Democracy & Technology, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Public Knowledge and R Street Institute argues that Congress shields Internet service providers from liability based on third-party content, and that an injunction against the investigation is in the public interest.

Google Inc. filed a brief with the Fifth Circuit in July seeking to persuade the Fifth Circuit to affirm an injunction blocking Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood’s investigation saying the probe defies federal law and the Constitution.