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 Some users argued he was outdated in his thinking and were quick to point out that Google has done a lot to help the media.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. brianmchugh

    You can't prevent people, in a free society, from doing what they please. The war on drugs failed, attempts to stop online piracy will fail. Give it a year after SOPA passes, people will have found ways around it. People will ALWAYS find ways to download whatever they damn well please on the internet.
    You can't prevent people, in a free society, from doing what they please. The only way then, is the dismantling of the free society.

    January 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. simris2k

    I am so sick of this man, I could puke! I agree with Brian McHugh, evil people will find a way around rules and laws set forth, so why punish the innocent as well? This is a knee-jerk reaction of the video groups who, despite making millions already, want a few more millions to be happy. Sorry, don't subscribe to your wealth ideas, you'll just have to learn to live on your means like everyone else. If you want a successful SOPA, target only foreign countries websites with a DNS, it doesn't have to be so inclusive. And when have you ever heard of the government using power on a minimal basis – NEVER! They will only continue to take until you're dead.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barry

      It's the same argument for gun control, the war on drugs, and many other rules of law or ideas. People who commit crimes don't care if there are laws against what they are doing. Taking away the rights of the law abiding citizens doesn't stop criminals from breaking the law; it just gives criminals even more laws to break. The media (including CNN's mother network TIME Warner) needs to learn to adapt to the changing industry. The only thing that will effectively fix the problem of piracy (along with all the other problems we have) is a moral change in society. When we as a people start taking responsibility for ourselves and each other (that is poor, middle class, and rich alike) then there won't be this perceived need for all these crazy laws that are all about micromanaging everyone.

      January 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jk8588

    Murdoch is aboard his yacht "Rosehearty" in the carribean. Hopefully. No one will kill him for his Goebbels like crimes against humanity while he is in such a vulnerable position.That would tragically frighten his peers inthe 1%

    January 17, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jk8588

    It seems possible that some poor deluded soul might believe the nonsense that the world is run by corporate interests and not governments. Such a lunatic might conclude that oligarchs should be targeted for elimination insteadof using our beautiful system of free and fair elections.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Pistoph

    Hey Murdoch!

    Let's play a game of STFU. You go first.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:05 am | Report abuse |
  6. Pistoph

    I guess Mr Murdoch proves that wealth does not equal class.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. Kathie Hansen

    Murdoch would like nothing better than to have some control over what people can read and write...his interference has caused people to disregard newspapers and t.v. news shows, and made them turn to the internet for more truthful reporting.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. ParadeFaith

    On general principles if Rupert Murdoch supports something you know it must be anti-democratic and inherently corrupt.

    January 18, 2012 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. Chris

    This is not really about Rupert as much as it is about the Bills as written. You, the general public reading this, would not want the product that you create to be stolen without any consequences and you should all remember that. The fact that the man is very wealthy really doesn't matter to the situation....and if it does to you then your arguments hold no merit...by the way you made him wealthy because you like what he and his companys do. Instead of arguing about this what really needs to happen is dialog toward action. If the Techies say that the people who have written these Bills dont understand then maybe they should explain it...and rather than standing in the way, use the smarts they have to help fix the problem.......

    January 18, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      Everyone who is quick to despite Murdoch, read this post and actually think about it for a bit. One of the only balanced comments to this, the rest of you kind of come across as morons honestly. If people who create content, be it movies, music or news articles, do not get paid...they stop. Simple as that.

      January 18, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Imposter

      Listen here Rupert Murdoch posting as Chris and Justin. The "Techies" are not "standing in the way". They ARE telling Congress exactly what is wrong with the bill. SOPA and PIPA do nothing but give the government authoritarian rule over the internet. This will eventually lead to censorship. If I wanted to be censored, I'd move to China or the Middle East.

      January 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Techie Here

      Techies can fix a lot of problems. Greed isn't one of them. Under the guise of piracy, he is just hiding the fact that his current business model does not pay in the internet era. Not too different from Universal v/s Sony, really where Hollywood argued, unsuccessfully, against Technology, raising tons of copyright concerns – only to realize a few years later that technology really was a boon for revenue to begin with.
      Build the right product/service, get the right business model – consumers will come, real, paying consumers.

      January 19, 2012 at 3:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. john

    So is hacking phones covered by this bill Rupert?

    January 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BIll

    Murdoch is a bitter old tyrant.. If it was up to this crotchety old man, we'd be all watching one channel, reading one newspaper, and listening to one radio station.. He should go live in China

    January 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jess Sayin

    I hope this most dangerous man in the world continues to make news and use Twitter and have his tantrums in public. Maybe the American voter will finally realize who is behind many of our country's problems. He (and his Saudi Arabian friends) is Fox News. He is working hard to deprive middle class Americans our liberties. He has divided our country for profit. So, Rupe, keep blaming Obama for wanting to keep the Internet uncensored. You are worth 10,000 Obama volunteers in votes gained!

    January 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. chris

    clearly this legislation is aimed at preventing people from being able to catch corrupt politicians who lie. The rich, corporate powerhouses in this country would like nothing more than to shut down social media since it tends to even the playing field.

    January 18, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. chris

    What they want is to go back to the "good old days" when politicians could lie without someone being able to google it and catch them.

    January 18, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I just love how this comes from the man that hacked other people's voicemails and made inocent people victims just for starters. WE don't care Rupert! You are now IRRELEVANT and not to be trusted with ANYTHING! We don't care about your opinion. We know what kind of person you are. Go back to the UK and mind your own business before you hurt some other inocent citizen of the world. Thank You!

      January 19, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. vaporizer

    You really make it seem so easy along with your presentation however I in finding this topic to be really something which I think I'd by no means understand. It sort of feels too complex and very extensive for me. I am looking ahead in your next post, I will attempt to get the hold of it!

    April 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
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