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Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Google's Astroturf Amicus

Haley Fuchs and Brendan Bordelon at Politico:
As Google awaits a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could dramatically upend portions of its business model, a group of prominent online content creators and a nonprofit for authors have rushed to its defense.

In January, a number of prominent internet influencers and the nonprofit Authors Alliance filed an amicus brief defending the tech giant in Gonzalez v. Google. The case, which is slated for oral arguments on Tuesday, could weaken — or even upend — the company’s treasured liability protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. And those same protections, the creators wrote, are vital to them too.

Left unmentioned in the brief was that the parties behind it had direct financial ties to Google. The group that funded the brief, a nonprofit advocate for startups called Engine, is funded in part by Google. And at least one of the content creators who signed on to the amicus brief has said that employees from YouTube, a Google subsidiary, invited them to sign onto the brief. In addition, the firm representing the creators and Authors Alliance — Keker, Van Nest & Peters — represents Google in other litigation.