A group of major media companies have accused the Internet giant of helping a pair of video-piracy Web sites acquire more traffic, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.
Google promised Friday to take measures to prevent a recurrence of an incident in which one of its ad sales reps assigned key words that would help drive more traffic to a couple of illicit Web sites, according to a page-one story in today’s Wall Street Journal. The sites charged users $29.95 to download software that would enable them to search out and download bootleg copies of new features films.
The story, written by Matthew Karnitschnig and Julia Angwin, says the incident is highly embarressing to Google, which has been engaged in delicate negotiations with big media companies over the unauthorized use of copyrighted programming by YouTube, which Google acquired last year.
Details of the accusations surfaced in a lawsuit against the illicit websites. Google is not directly involved in that lawsuit.
The media companies involved include News Corp., Viacom, Sony Corp., NBC Universal, Time Warner and Walt Disney. Friday, Google agreed to implement measures to thwart the piracy. These include removing ads the media companies objected to, creating a list of approved advertisers and refraining from selling keywords used to rogue sites to lure users to pirated materials.
Most Google ads are sold through its automated system, but in this instance the operators of the movie-downloading software sites were generating so much traffic that Google assigned a sales rep to them.