Mark Cuban's Magnolia Pictures Subpoenas Google over Pirated Videos

Magnolia Pictures, an independent film studio owned by entrepreneur Mark Cuban, has subpoenaed Google to reveal the identities of users who uploaded Magnolia's copyrighted videos to both Google Video and YouTube, Google Watch has learned.

The subpoena request was filed signed by Magnolia's counsel on Feb. 6, and Google was commanded to respond by executed on Feb. 20. The subpoena was filed in Texas federal district court on March 6th.

At least one of the videos includes a 20-minute portion of the documentary "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room." The other two videos referred to in the subpoena are no longer available. It is not clear whether the videos were removed by YouTube/Google.

Google representatives were not immediately available for comment. Google has stated previously that it responds to all takedown requests and has asserted that it operates within the safe harbor protections of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). The subpoena does not request the videos be removed.

This is not the first time Magnolia Pictures has taken legal action against Google. Magnolia Pictures filed a subpoena request in October 2006 asking Google to remove the Enron documentary.

At that time I spoke with Jason Janego, Magnolia's head of legal affairs, about subpoenaing Google over the illicit video. "We get notices all the time of our films being online," he said. "It ranges from people who are fans of the film sending us an e-mail to our publicity marketing people."

He said Magnolia doesn't aggressively pursue copyright violators online, but when it's notified of a violation, it issues a takedown request.

"It's difficult to monitor this activity. Extremely difficult," he said.

Magnolia's subpoena is at least the second legal action taken against Google this year concerning copyrighted videos. Twentieth Century Fox filed a subpoena in January against YouTube, requesting the site remove full episode clips of "24" and "The Simpsons."