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Google gets an early win in fight against Mississippi Attorney General's subpoena

Google gets an early win in fight against Mississippi Attorney General's subpoena

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Google just chalked up an early win against Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, an MPAA-friendly prosecutor who was implicated in a number of Goliath documents. A federal court in Jackson, Mississippi, has granted a preliminary injunction against Hood's efforts to fight content piracy on Google's network, restricting any subpoena or further investigative action from Hood while the case is still in progress. It's still early in the case, but the injunction represents a significant win for Google and a real setback for both Hood and his supporters at the MPAA.

"We're pleased with the court's ruling."

In 2013, Hood sent Google a massive, 79-page subpoena for data related to content piracy in Search, but Google contested the subpoena, claiming it overstepped the attorney general's authority and violated a number of US privacy laws. Hood had called a "time out" to the legal actions in the aftermath of the Goliath disclosures, but the court case has continued in the months since. Ultimately, Hood was seeking a similar legal authority over Google's network as SOPA looked to establish, although Hood was pursuing it through judicial rather than legislative channels.

The exact text of the injunction is still under seal, but it represents a significant win for Google, barring any aspect of Hood's subpoena from going forward while the case is still in progress. It's also a sign that Google has made a strong case overall. The judge was willing to grant the injunction because, as he put it, "Google has the better side of the legal arguments." The final ruling won't come in until later this year, but this injunction gives Google a clear upper hand as the case proceeds.

After months of legal limbo, Google was quick to celebrate the injunction as an early win. "We're pleased with the court's ruling," Google general counsel Kent Walker wrote in a response, "which recognizes that the MPAA’s long-running campaign to censor the web — which started with SOPA — is contrary to federal law."