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Hollywood urges Congress to bring Google to testify

Hollywood urges Congress to bring Google to testify
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A growing number of Hollywood professionals are urging Congress to bring Google executives in to testify in a move similar to when Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergMerkel named Harvard commencement speaker The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — Congress to act soon to avoid shutdown Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg denies selling 'anyone's data' | UK Parliament releases more Facebook docs | Canada reportedly arrests Huawei CFO | Fallout from Marriott hack | Cuba rolls out internet service for mobile users MORE was compelled to testify after his company’s data scandal.

Last month, the groups CreativeFuture and the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA) sent letters to the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee urging them to bring the internet search giant to Capitol Hill. The original letters had 90 signatures on them, and the groups resent the letters Sunday after that number grew to 154.

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The industry believes that platform companies like Google and Facebook don’t take enough responsibility over what happens on their services, enabling widespread illicit activity, including online piracy.

Ruth Vitale, the CEO of CreativeFuture, says that Congress should step in to make the platforms legally liable for illegal content found on their sites.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars are being lost to piracy because the platforms aren't being held responsible,” Vitale told The Hill.

Websites have broad legal immunity from content posted by third-party users, and some tech critics say that framework gives internet giants little incentive to make sure their sites are free of illicit trade and abusive content.

Earlier this year, President TrumpDonald John TrumpCorsi sues Mueller for alleged leaks and illegal surveillance Comey: Trump 'certainly close' to being unindicted co-conspirator Trump pushes back on reports that Ayers was first pick for chief of staff MORE signed a controversial bill rolling back some of that immunity by making it easier to target internet platforms for allowing online sex trafficking on their sites.

Entertainment industry advocates are hoping Congress goes a step further by making sites liable for pirated content.

“As long as these companies are allowed to continue to operate in a policy framework that prioritizes their growth and wealth over accountability, American creativity will be harmed along with many other important societal interests,” the two groups wrote in their letter.

After Zuckerberg’s marathon congressional hearings following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, there has been some momentum among lawmakers to bring other tech CEOs before Congress, but so far Silicon Valley has shown little enthusiasm.

A spokeswoman for Google did not immediately respond when asked for comment on the letter.