MPAA accuses Google's Schmidt of hyperbole

'The Motion Picture Association of America accused Google's chairman of engaging in hyperbole for claiming the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would criminalize the structure of the Internet during a speech in Washington on Monday.

“Today, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt again engaged in sky is falling rhetoric in attacking important legislation that targets criminals who profit from online piracy and counterfeiting," said MPAA senior executive vice president for global policy and external affairs Michael O’Leary.

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“Schmidt’s comment that the legislation ‘criminalizes the intermediaries’ is a new weapon in their arsenal of hyperbole. There is broad recognition that all companies in the Internet ecosystem have a serious responsibility to target criminal activity. This type of rhetoric only serves as a distraction and I hope it is not a delaying tactic," he added.

Google has lead the tech industry's opposition against SOPA, which would allow the government and copyright holders to demand search engines and other Web firms delete links to foreign websites dedicated to copyright infringement.

SOPA's supporters have accused Google of trying to avoid doing it's part to protect U.S. intellectual property. Schmidt said he sympathizes with their goals but argued a more effective approach would limit action to payment processors and online ad networks that provide the revenue for such rogue sites.

“Schmidt’s pleading with the audience to please stop stealing could be bolstered by Google taking concrete steps to deal with the growing problem of rogue websites," O'Leary said. 

Opponents of SOPA in Congress lead by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and House Oversight chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) have unveiled a competing proposal, dubbed the OPEN Act, that would comply with Google's "follow the money" approach and shift the venue for online piracy complaints to the International Trade Commission.

But the MPAA has dismissed that proposal as soft on online piracy.

“Failing to act is not an option. We should be focused on solutions to the growing problem of criminals who reap profits at the expense of the American economy while preying on consumers through rogue websites,” O'Leary said.