ACT applauds the $500 million forfeiture levied by the Justice Department against Google for profiting from pirated pharmaceuticals. ACT President Jonathan Zuck issued the following statement in support of DOJ’s action today.
ACT strongly supports actions taken by the Justice Department today to punish Google for consistently violating the Controlled Substances Act to profit from advertisements of counterfeit drug sales. It says a lot about a company’s unwillingness to act in the public interest when it takes a half-billion-dollar fine to stop it from facilitating illicit drug sales to children and seniors.
Google found itself in the middle of a multimillion dollar financial fraud investigation when a captured fugitive assisted an undercover operation revealing the search giant’s role in the “unlawful sale of drugs through Google’s AdWords program.” The Justice Department found that Google was aware of the problem for years and its involvement was not merely that of an innocent bystander — its representatives consistently provided assistance to drug counterfeiters helping to improve their ad campaigns.
Google has long pretended to be unaware of the mass piracy it facilitates and profits from through its dominant position in the online search and search advertising business. Its pattern of encouraging piracy and counterfeiting has resulted in sizable lost revenue in the entertainment industry and in online educational products like Rosetta Stone. Small business entrepreneurs find it particularly difficult to protect their products and combat piracy when Google allows counterfeiters to advertise stolen versions.
It’s about time that Google was taken to task for facilitating this criminal behavior. American businesses will fare much better if the Justice Department continues to crack down on widespread piracy as it did in today’s Google settlement.