But search giant is not a defendant in the case and denies defendants' allegations.
Elinor MillsFormer Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Google has been accused of helping Web site operators who are being sued for enabling online movie piracy, court documents show.
Google is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which was filed by a group of major movie studios against two owners of sites like EasyDownloadCenter.com and TheDownloadPlace.com. The sites allegedly sold software to help people search for movies on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks and download them to their hard drive.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in 2005, alleges that the defendants created the false impression that their sites were legal and promoted them as sponsored links that were displayed when people searched for certain recently released films on Google's search site. In response to the lawsuit, the defendants deny the allegations and say Google suggested using the movie names as keywords to be purchased.
Defendant Brandon Drury did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the lawsuit and defendant Luke Sample could not be reached for comment. The defendants, both from Missouri, voluntarily stopped operating their sites, the lawsuit said.
The Wall Street Journalfirst reported the lawsuit on Monday. It cited unnamed sources saying the defendants also alleged that Google AdWords salespeople suggested they buy keywords including "pirated" and "bootleg movie download," and that a Google employee corroborated their sworn statements in a deposition that has been sealed by the court.
The Journal article also said that Google held a conference call with the plaintiffs in the lawsuit on Friday. On the call, Google said it would remove certain objectionable ads, create a list of approved advertisers, not sell keywords used by sites to advertise pirated content, introduce guidelines on monitoring keywords, and train its ad sales force to recognize and avoid selling such ads, the article said.