JACKSON, Miss. — Does Google help criminals by allowing its search engine to lead to pirated music or by having its autocomplete function suggest illegal activities?

Mississippi’s attorney general suspects the company does and he wants to investigate further, yet the Internet giant says companies aren’t liable for what people say and do online.

The Mountain View, California-based company says Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is infringing on its free speech rights. The company wants U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate to issue an injunction saying it doesn’t have to answer a subpoena from Hood, and wants the judge to bar the attorney general from filing civil or criminal charges.

Lawyer Peter Neiman told Wingate during a three-hour hearing Friday that Hood, indirectly though his investigation, is trying to give states the power to filter the Internet.

“They’re trying to cloak themselves in ‘Let’s make the Internet safer,'” Neiman said.

The Democratic attorney general, though, says Google profits off illegal activity through its own conduct.

The showdown between Google and Hood escalated last fall when Hood sent a 79-page subpoena to Google. That document demands the company produce information on whether Google is helping criminals by allowing its search engine to lead to pirated music, having its autocomplete function suggest illegal activities and sharing YouTube ad revenue with the makers of videos promoting illegal drug sales.

The judge said he will rule Feb. 24.

Google contends that Congress made it immune from Hood’s investigation when it passed the Communications Decency Act in 1996. That law says Internet service providers aren’t responsible for content provided by others. Neiman said everything Hood has cited is third-party content.

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