Capitol Building and GoogleThe Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony recently in Washington from representatives of Verizon, the Authors Guild of America, GoDaddy.com, Rosetta Stone Ltd., and Visa on illegal websites, the effects of piracy and the firms’ roles in anti-piracy efforts. The big players notably missing from this list were Google and Yahoo. CNET reports that Google did not appear alongside these other companies, though Sen. Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.) had invited them. Politico reports that Yahoo did not send a representative to the hearing, either.

Leahy sought in 2010 to pass a bill dubbed the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act,” which would have provided for a speedier legal process in shutting down U.S. Sites accused of violating copyright laws or trafficking counterfeit goods in violation of the Lanham Act. The bill also aimed to establish more regulation on advertising revenue of foreign sites. But Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) blocked the measure, criticizing it for its over-broad approach and its potential to damage American innovation, jobs and the security of the internet.

In December, 2010, Google announced policy changes it said it would put in place to make “Copyright work better Online,”  including its: acting on reliable copyright take-down requests within 24 hours; preventing terms closely associated with piracy from appearing in its Autocomplete search feature; improving the AdSense anti-piracy review; and experimenting to make authorized preview content more readily accessible in search results.

Google’s anti-piracy efforts also include its Video Identification technology introduced three years ago. That technology broke ground in automatically identifying infringing video. YouTube employs this technology in its Content Management System, which Google provides to allow media companies to control, promote and monetize their content on the site.

Despite Google’s policies and efforts, CNET reports that ads “served by Google’s AdSense can be found on numerous sites accused of trafficking in pirated films, music, software and games, say copyright owners.” Scott Turow, president of the Authors Guild, told the committee that Google should utilize filtering to prevent sites engaged in copyright violations from participating in AdSense.

Also according to CNET, Sen. Tom Coburn – the Oklahoma Republican who asked Leahy to hold the hearing last week — is considering subpoenaing representatives from Google to testify if they do not respond to his letter.