Google Accused of Helping Internet Pirates: WSJ

Google was criticized by a group of major media companies for deliberately providing Internet traffic to Web sites accused of offering illegal film downloads, according to several people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Google announced to the studios Friday that it would implement new procedures to prevent recurrences and several media executives said it has led them to question Google's internal controls, the Journal reported.

The association with potentially illegal operations is an embarrassment for Google at a time when the internet group is negotiating with large film and TV studios over copyright issues associated with its recently acquired video portal YouTube, the paper said.

Internet piracy, the unauthorized online transfer of movies, music and other copyrighted content, is a key issue for content producers and could be a major threat to their future profitability.

The group of media companies making the claim include U.S. heavyweights such as News Corp. , Viacom , Sony , General Electric's NBC Universal , Time Warner and Walt Disney .

The complaint is based on sworn statements made late last year as part of a civil lawsuit brought by Hollywood studios against two men accused of operating Web sites that allegedly helped users illegally access copyrighted material, the Journal reported.

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