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 Some users argued he was outdated in his thinking and were quick to point out that Google has done a lot to help the media.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

    Oh, this is rich. The guy who ordered phone hacking is complaining about Pirates.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Classic coming from the Phone hacking Queen who used information to sell his newspapers. Also ran MySpace in to the ground. Obviously doesn't understand the nuances of New Media. His Tweets about the argument are really poor considering his business holdings and wealth. I guess it doesn't have to include intellect to be wealthy. The Aussie Donald Trump.

      January 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ART

    Rupert Murdoch is a greedy money hungry old fool,with no regard for anyones privacy,and should be ashamed of himself.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Thomas

    A FACE ONLY HIS MOTHER COULD LOVE.

    Rupert Murdoch, Basterd of Journalism , similar to Romney and Bain corp.
    TWO OF A KIND

    January 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tom

    Murdoch is okay with spying, just not piracy.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MattC

    Wow! Two weeks into the year and we already have a front runner for "Twit of the Year"! Congrats, Grandpa Munster!

    January 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Leaf on the Wind

    The burden of protection against piracy should be on the entertainment industry, not on the government, and therefore the taxpayers. Studios and recording companies should spend more money on the talent needed to make their products hack-proof (if there is such a thing), and charge a reasonable download price that most of us would be happy to pay for whatever entertains us, instead of lobbying congress to protect their goods. What a bunch of crybabies, Murdoch included.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. slasher

    RM is the anit-Christ

    January 16, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. norman

    he's a pedophile, just ask anyone in toronto canada he comes in disguise to engage with our boys twice every summer.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • norman

      (Which is why he tends to keep a low profile, his face out of the papers as much as possible)

      January 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. richard

    Ol' Man Rupert should shut up and go home. The instigator and supporter of hacking and snooping and control of sleazy tabloids is a pox on all of us. Time for the old man to crawl into a cave and not come out.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. GJGVT

    Keep it up Rupert... you'll do more to get Obama re-elected than he could do himself...

    January 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Josh
    January 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Valleybash

    It's important to remember that Rupert Murdoch is a greedy robber baron who's made a fortune by literally controlling and manipulating the mainstream media, to the detriment of anyone who stands between him and his profits. His position on SOPA is nothing more than an attempt to adapt that same strategy to the internet.

    Media companies have routinely abused the provisions of the DMCA to wrongfully remove content that they didn't own from sites like YouTube without any legal repercussions for their actions. SOPA would not only make this type of abuse easier. SOPA would make it unavoidable.

    There are already plenty of established laws that protect copyright holders from infringement and provide consequences for individuals who violate those laws. But SOPA isn't about protecting intellectual property. It's about giving corporations the legal authority to dictate what can and cannot be published on the internet. It is about controlling what you are allowed to say and to see.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sean Russell

    He doesn't like people having free speech when it contradicts his corporate propaganda.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. irony & hypocrisy

    what a d-bag! how is this geriatric crime boss going to accuse anyone else of breaking the law? what a hypocrite. until he is actually held accountable for laundry list of crimes that he and his criminal empire commit on a daily basis as a simple matter of doing business, he needs to shut up & keep his opinion to himself.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Steve Rosenberg

    Murdoch's only interest in regulating the Internet is to keep people like us from having the resources to research his crimes.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
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