Washington – Google (NASD: GOOG) faced questions about how its search engine can be used to locate pirated and counterfeit content online, during a hearing on Wednesday before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet Subcommittee, according to published reports. When asked by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) why its "autocomplete" search feature suggested so many infringing links, Google general counsel Kent Walker testified that those suggestions are "a reflection of how many users are trying to seek infringing content," according to PaidContent’s coverage.
"It would seem to be feasible that those common search terms that are used to find pirated works on the internet — the results could be filtered out," added Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), according to PaidContent’s coverage.
Walker went on to say that Google built a content filtering system for YouTube, but it would be impossible to remove unauthorized content without owners’ help — endorsing the "takedown notice" process laid out in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Walker added that Google does not want to be tasked with being the "judge, jury and executioner" when it comes to piracy, according to CNET’s coverage, but would cut off its advertising service for sites the government deemed to be engaged in piracy.
At the hearing, John Morton of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also faced pointed questions from Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), about the process by which the agency has recently seized over 100 domains alleged to be offering counterfeit or copyrighted goods.
Meanwhile, the movie industry on Wednesday called on Congress to enact legislation to empower more action against such "rogue" sites.
"We believe that rogue sites legislation, combined with the Administration’s work with intermediaries and enforcement by the IPR Center, will go a long way towards shutting down the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted works and close a gap in the intellectual property law," said Michael O’Leary, executive vice president for government affairs at the Motion Picture Association of America.