ews Corp. media mogul Rupert Murdoch used his new Twitter account over the weekend to slam President Obama for "throwing his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters" who oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill that would force internet companies to block access to sites that offer content in violation of U.S. copyright laws. The broadside came after Obama advisers said the bill could stifle freedom of expression and hurt legitimate businesses. Murdoch says the president is just caving to the demands of "piracy leader" Google, which he accuses of profiting from sending people to sites where they can watch streaming, pirated movies for free. Google said Murdoch's allegations were "just nonsense." Is Google really the bad guy here?
Murdoch's complaints are way off base: Almost nothing in Murdoch's "bizarre" rant is true, says Mike Masnick at Techdirt. Google, through its video site YouTube, is a pioneer in making sure content creators get their due. And "Hollywood spends ridiculously more money lobbying than the likes of Google," so if anyone's pulling strings, it's Rupert himself. (Remember, he owns movie studio 20th Century Fox.) Murdoch apparently thinks government censorship is OK — so long as it puts a few more dollars in his already overflowing pockets.
"Rupert Murdoch lashes out bizarrely against the White House for asking Congress not to break the internet"
Actually, Rupert has a legitimate beef: "I never ever dreamed" I would say this, says Jacomi Mathews at The Music Void, but Rupert Murdoch is right. Google links to "illegal torrent sites" that "steal content," and makes money on the traffic it sends them by charging for ads placed on the sites. Cashing in without paying "the rights holder is quite frankly morally reprehensible."
"Google vs. content — why Rupert is right!"
Regardless, this should be a wake-up call: Providing pirate links is hardly "a central part of a search engine's function," says Charlie Osborne at ZDNet. It certainly isn't going to generate enough money for Silicon Valley CEOs to notice. But "Murdoch's ranting" is just part of a broader campaign by content providers to convince everyone involved in the fight over anti-piracy legislation "that whether or not you host pirate material, if you have any connection whatsoever to it, you are culpable."
"What does Google's piracy 'nonsense' and an extradited student have in common?"
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