Murdoch launches Twitter tirade against Obama, Google over online piracy
Rupert Murdoch, seen at Sunday's Golden Globe Awards, went to bat for his companies on Twitter in the battle against Internet piracy.
January 16th, 2012
11:23 AM ET

Murdoch launches Twitter tirade against Obama, Google over online piracy

Rupert Murdoch didn't waste any time using his newfound popularity on Twitter to make waves and take shots at some other major names.

His targets? President Barack Obama and Google.

The media mogul took aim at the president and the leading Internet search engine after the White House announced over the weekend that it would not support legislation mandating changes to Internet infrastructure to fight online copyright and trademark infringement. The White House statement came in response to two petitions circulating on the Internet as well as widespread comments across the Web about the dangers of the legislation.

A major online backlash has developed regarding the Stop Online Piracy Act, with everyone from lawmakers to Web freedom advocates to some of technology's biggest players calling it a greedy and dangerous overreach that could have a chilling effect on free speech and innovation. Google, Yahoo and Facebook are among the Web heavyweights who have joined the chorus against SOPA, which backers hope to have ready for a vote by the end of the year.

The combination of Google and Obama attacking the bill clearly didn't make Murdoch happy. He began unleashing his frustration on Twitter by attacking Obama's relationship with so-called "Silicon Valley paymasters."

Naturally, Murdoch has a dog in the SOPA fight too - his massive media empire. No doubt he doesn't care for all the websites where users can watch and download episodes of his company's TV shows and movies without ever subscribing or paying.

And clearly he isn't happy that all of this is out there. It means a loss of money for him and his advertisers. And for that, Murdoch squarely blames Google.

For his remarks, Murdoch took a bit of a beating on Twitter, where most people are advocates of an open Web without government control. Some users argued he was outdated in his thinking and were quick to point out that Google has done a lot to help the media.  Some said it was foolish to criticize a search engine for having links available in its search. Users swung back at Murdoch that you can't complain about what a search engine's results turn up.

So Murdoch changed his tactic a bit, trying to humanize the issue.

For many users on Twitter, that didn't go over well either. Now, thousands of people tweeted, all of a sudden Murdoch was coming to the aid of the little guy?

So Rupert, still in his tweeting infancy, wanted to make clear he didn't have only bad things to say about Google.

That was, apparently, until he went back to the search engine and took a look at what was out there for the new "Mission Impossible" film. He saw the results as evidence that his anger toward Google was warranted.

He then admitted that while he may not understand completely all details and nuances of the fight and Google's role, he did know enough to know he didn't like what he saw.

So what did the search engine giant think of the media mogul's Twitter allegations? A representative told CNET it was "nonsense." 

"Last year we took down 5 million infringing Web pages from our search results and invested more than $60 million in the fight against bad ads. ... We fight pirates and counterfeiters every day," the spokeswoman told CNET.

Murdoch never quite clarified whether he'd like the search engine to do more to take those links down, or if he perhaps wished companies like his could play more of a role in asking for something to be taken down if it infringed upon their copyright.

But his fight continued, culminating at perhaps the  perfect time: the day of the Golden Globes. As fans tweeted their thoughts on who was going to win and shared their excitement to see the best of the best in the industry, Murdoch turned back to those very people to show that piracy was a real danger to Hollywood.

He ended with a shot at Obama, asking why he would align himself with the "pirates" who help push illegal content online. (Murdoch later clarified that in this tweet he had an autocorrect issue on his iPad and had clearly meant to reference POTUS, the president of the United States, instead of the name of an Australian company.

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Filed under: Movies • Music • Rupert Murdoch • Showbiz • TV
soundoff (403 Responses)
  1. Andrew

    Silicon Valley paymasters? Murdoch is aware that his industry has spent far, FAR more money lobbying congress than the silicon valley types did, right? Tech companies have surprisingly low lobbying budgets, that's why SOPA was able to be drafted in the first place. Google, reddit, wikipedia, etc, they're appealing to internet users to call congressmen to attack this legislation, they're relying on people. Murdoch is relying on his money and media outlets.

    January 16, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mike Hunt

    Piracy is the best way to get free stuff. You people like coupons, well imagine each torrent file is a coupon saying "free download"

    It's freaking great! I don't pay for anything electronically anymore, I just pirate it and use it until i get sick of it. I'll even sell the stuff on the streets of Phoenix and sell to police officers and everything! They love buying the cams.

    January 16, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ghedi

      Hey, moderators... care to check this guy's name again? Maybe say it out loud?

      January 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. geraldine

    Hello i just want 2 say.every 1 no how start all of this.every 1 need 2 look way back.that will tell u how it was not the man setting in the chair now.u not it god no it.every one want 2 point fingers at him.every 1 need 2 grow up.it is want is been this way 4 about as long as i can tell.oboma will be there 4 more years.god put him there any way u better beleve it.and what is 4 him no 1 can take it away i trust in god that he be there watch and see.i prayering 4 that .

    January 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. lol whatever

    the real reason the government wants a war on the internet is cos of the Independent press blowing the whistle on all their corruption online

    our government is textbook fascism ran by corporations instead of the people

    January 17, 2012 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
    • PM Ohio

      You do know that the "Government", in this case, the President is against the legislation correct? It's the lobbyists like the forgiener Rupert Murdoch (who apparently doesn't know what he's tweeting about anyway) who although isn't even an American, are making money off of US citizens and influencing policy at the same time. This billionaire is only for one thing and that is making mor emoney and furthering his right wing agenda. I hat ethe Koch brothers stance on many things, but at least they are Americans and we can at least disagree as Americans. I don't see why there is not more of an uproar over a forgiener who's company abused it's power in Great Britan making US policy and influencing our politics.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tim

    This Rupert is responsible to have kill thousands Iraq along with George Bush...MURDER MURDER

    January 17, 2012 at 6:40 am | Report abuse |
  6. eroe777

    Can someone take away little Rupert's Twitter account and not give it back to him until he grows up?

    January 17, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • markishere

      It would be the ultimate irony

      January 17, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. mr. snrub

    shouldn't "the market" take care of this? isn't that the argument posed time and time again against gov't regulation and an argument CONSTANTLY made on his own networks?? why now would we need to the gov't to step in???

    January 17, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. Scott

    We do need to stop online piracy, that much is certain. Anyone who argues that it is "free speach" is a fool.

    SOPA is flawed, that much is certain, but something needs to be done...eventually.

    January 17, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. JOB218

    No one really cares what Murdoch has to say anyway! Why would you listen to someone that hacks peoples phones for a news story, let alone anyone that works for a tabloid newspaper like FOX! Get real Murdoch, no one cares!

    January 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. PM Ohio

    At the same time, these people want a smaller, less intrusive Government...unless it means they can't make billions off it, or start a war to protect their billions...then the Government comes in kind of handy.

    January 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Logic

    If Rupert Murdoch supports this bill, then you know it must be bad news for the common man. The guy only knows one thing: power.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nicci

    The market needs to adapt. Our country tries so hard to force the market to maintain jobs that we can't keep up with the world economy anymore. Instead of pouring government funding into forcing jobs to stay, the government should give incentives to those who innovate and repurpose the industries. Instead of subsidizing jobs, use that money to educate those people for a related industry. The auto industry is a prime example of this. Michigan is floundering because instead of recognizing that the American auto industry is failing and won't be able to support the local economy much longer and moving to IT or other service industries, we're clinging to what is easiest. It's economic suicide to fund failing industries. The same is true for these migrations to digital media.

    It's a matter of economics. Unfortunately, most of us either slept through that class or weren't paying attention.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. murdoch_repukes_hypocrites

    murdoch and repukes want small government and no regulations... ????
    yeah right, that is until it hits their pocketbooks. then regulations like this proposed one are just fine.
    Let them eat their own words– play back all the times they cry about regulations and big government right back to their insipid faces and force them to listen to it over and over.
    the problem with repukes is, that they are just plain big fat greedy hypocrites

    January 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Greg

    Murdoch still doesn't get it. It's not the search engine that's the culprit...it's the person that pirated the material and that that posted the material....Google, Yahoo etc just found a link...what a moron...it's not rocket science...

    January 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. woodrow

    Foreigners stealing U.S. content and intellectual property. Government tries to solve problem. Suddenly everyone is Robin Hood. Hoorah for thieves. What's wrong with this picture. Everyone loses.

    January 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joshua c

      The fight isn't for piracy or protecting thieves...it's about liberty and maintaining the fabric of a (somewhat) still free society. I'm sure you agree that you shouldn't be liable for your kid uploading a video of them singing, or go to jail for uploading a karaoke party... Let alone the fact that you are advocating giving the government the power to 'cut the line' if people ever rebel as they have across the globe. This is my country, not my government's!!

      January 17, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
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