Google disclosed this week that it had reserved $500 million to resolve a U.S Justice Department investigation into its ads from companies selling unlicensed pharmaceuticals. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have altered their policies in order to filter out ads that hawk prescription meds many from Canadian companies but where the drugs are manufactured in China and India. Many of the drugs are counterfeit and a public health threat. Running these ads runs afoul of U.S. law and international laws. It is illegal to import unlicensed drugs into the U.S. but it is not illegal for Canadian firms to sell them. Despite this the 1996 Communications Decency Act protects internet service companies from being held responsible for any content provided by users or advertisers. There is an exception for federal criminal case. For example a nuber of search engines paid $31.5 million to resolve a justice department investigation into online gambling firms. This is a growth industry for the DOJ given that guns, sex and porn are also illegal but are some of the largest advertisers.