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 Some users argued he was outdated in his thinking and were quick to point out that Google has done a lot to help the media.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. judge10

    This legistlation that Rupert is backing is one of the greatest threats to modern freedom today. I'm happy that the White House has more common sense than this relic. Rupert should go back to hacking phones and S T F U.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. SixDegrees

    SOPA is heavily sponsored by MPPA and RIAA. That's all I need to know – these two organizations are evil, money grubbing antagonists to all that is good and decent in the world. Anything they support should be opposed by anyone concerned with freedom and balance. The bill should be killed immediately. With fire.

    January 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. izandro

    Why isn't Murdock in jail?

    January 16, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      because he is incredibly wealthy

      January 16, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bub

    Isn't phone hacking a more serious problem, Rupert?

    January 16, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JMM

    Now that Murdoch is not busy tapping people phones and hacking their email accounts he has realized that the internet rules all and that TV is simply a medium that will be gobbled up within the next 10 years. It would be great if Obama revoked his Visa so he could no longer come states side to spew his BS. He is also bitter that he spent over 300 million on myspace and sold it off for a mere 35 million. Sounds like he and Trump should get together for some business collaborations.

    January 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. david Rutledge

    Rupert Frankenstein is back. Great.

    January 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Arkboy3

    I can't WAIT to see footage of Murdoch being dragged off to jail! I would PAY good money to see that!

    January 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. letGodsortthemout

    but Mr. Murdoch is of the 'Job Creator" class. DON'T UPSET HIM OR HE WON'T CREATE JOBS!!!

    January 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MJ

    I didnt know that Rupert Murdock was a leader in Privacy rights....didn't his newpaper hack cell phone violating numerous privacy laws?

    January 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. facefur

    The issue is not whether stopping piracy is important, it's whether reworking the entire Internet address referencing system to fight it is the answer. It strikes me, a fairly Internet saavy person, that it's like amputation your foot to cure a hangnail. The MPAA and RIAA have been bringing civil lawsuits for years, and recovering significant money. Piracy is their issue, not the entire country's, so let them fight their own war. Leave the rest of us out of it.

    January 16, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rajiv Shaw

    Considering his media empire hacked into a series of outrages, he is a strange opponent of SOPA. Or is it okay for him to do it, and not for others?

    January 16, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DMD

    Murdoch is psychotic and should be hospitalized ASAP.

    January 16, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Goose66

    My experience with this is that those that decry such legislation and shout freedom of speech at the top of their lungs are the same that have gigabytes of downloaded music that the use and share freely. You're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

    January 16, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • lgny

      The issue is not copyright protection so much as this law all but permits the death sentence for infringers. The punitive measures here are all out of proportion to the crime and will do much more harm to network integrity than it will protect copyright owners.

      January 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ron

    Murdoch is just an unethical crook. He's worried about piracy when his businesses hack into dead teen's email accounts? Get real. This man should be in jail, not tweeting.

    January 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kev

    As a media paymaster for Republican candidates, it is hilarious to hear Murdoch complain about Obama having "Silicon Valley paymasters." If Murdoch was a slave-owning plantation owner during the days of slavery I bet he would have complained about all the free labor the other plantation owners take advantage of.

    January 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      he would have complained that his slaves don't pay him for the opportunity to work his land

      January 16, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
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