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 Some users argued he was outdated in his thinking and were quick to point out that Google has done a lot to help the media.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. Tiger82

    Attention all Google employees: Please check your phones. Your privacy may have been compromised by a certain media tyrant/dinosaur.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. defffasd

    I don't like him very much, but Murdoch does have a point here. I just searched "London Symphony Orchestra" on Youtube and found at least 200+ videos, very clearly ripped from a DVD. These were all covered with Google ads, and the kicker is that if you go to report copyright infringment Google threatens a lawsuit against YOU if you are not the explicit copyright holder. Huh?? Yeah, they are such huge a scam it makes napster look like nothing.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • defffasd

      Put it this way, if you were to put 200+ orchestra performances on your website, then cover it with ads, and claim "users did it, I'm not responsible" What do you think would happen to you?? You would be in court for the rest of your life.

      January 16, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lou

      I am not a Google fan, but more than Rupert Murdock. This is the Blackest pot calling the Kettle black. After all, he was directly responsible for hacking private voice message systems, including those of murder victems and their famililies, and using the contents to make millions for his news empire. How can anyone be more sleazy than that? The King of Sleaze – Murdock – doesn't get a voice or a vote in my book.

      January 16, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      @ defffasd – Except that in Google's case the people uploading the videos actually did do it... They should be held responsible for copyright violations, not the website. If I were to stick a link to a copyrighted video in this post right now then CNN should not be held responsible, unless they encouraged me to do it or refused to remove it despite the copyright holder expressing that it was not authorized and should be removed.

      Under SOPA any website which allows users to post content freely could be shut down. Do you like commenting online? Well no website would be able to allow you to do it without personally monitoring that it contains no copyrighted content. SOPA is absurd, and your stance on it is nothing more than ignorance and stupidity.

      January 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • ciscoheat

      So are you saying that if I put a link up to a copyrighted material on say...this forum that cnn should be help responsible?

      January 16, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • NeilIL

      Technology has allowed for the video and sound to distribute across the globe cheaper and easier.

      Stop google and someone will just take their place.

      It's like transportation, if bills were written because to stop automobiles because people didn't like what they did to the horse breeding and carriage building businesses we'd all be trotting around in 2 horsepower

      January 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Why would you hold the website accountable? You hold the person who uploaded the video accountable.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • defffasd

      The problem is, those people in the symphony spent their lives perfecting their talent. If you just give it away for free, they will have to get day jobs, and you can kiss true professional art goodbye.

      Youtube needs to have an easy "Report Copyright Violation" button instead of the scary lawyer crap they have now. That would fix it in my opinion.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • defffasd


      Absolutely I'm saying that. In fact CNN won't allow you to post links at all.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • ciscoheat

      you don't think that you tube makes those efforts as well? try uploading a song or video? they are very good at detecting the material and blocking it. That is why you see a lot of images that are backwards, as people figured out how to get around the automatic detections. I'm all for helping the symphony, but not at the risk of endangering websites. Put it this way, if someone committed a crime in a hotel room, would you go after the owner of the hotel? would go after the guest that committed the crime. Unless the hotel knew about it, they shouldn't be help liable...just the same as with google.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • defffasd


      Not the case. That analogy doesn't fit what is really happening. It goes more like this:

      A drug lord has set up a meth lab in a hotel. The hotel staff know it, and sell access to the hotel itself (Google ads). They are in collusion, Google is not innocent here.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • ciscoheat

      and before you say too much about that's not enough...look at this, I can put a link in here if I really try. I can get around the system by saying to go to a website like foxnews dot com. So how far does a website have to go? Now you see what google and you tube are up against.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • ciscoheat

      what proof do you have that they know? once again, just try uploading a song and see what happens. It will detect it and give the copyright owner the ability to block it.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tdb

    CNN is trying everything it can to destroy Fox and everything that has a tie with Fox, simply because Fox takes away most of CNN's viewers during the past decade.

    The article represents the latest effort.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ciscoheat

      you know, it is a news story. That's why CBS and cnet are both reporting on it as well. I know you probably think that only getting the "right" half of the story is the "fair and balanced" way of getting your news, but for the rest of us, we like not being censored.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      Actually, CNN (Time warner) supports SOPA also because they are a media company. Do your research, they are a news organization and report the news.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CG

    Just bashing anyone who has misgivings about this legislation as pro-piracy conspirators is completely unfair. You have to be extremely careful when you start down the road of giving the government the power to block websites and arbitrarily remove search results, because even if you start out with the best intentions, this sort of thing can eventually lead to disastrous unintended consequences.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mogul

    Hey listen to Rupert Murdoch. He is rich and fundamentally smarter then 99% of Americans. So let him do the right thing. The 99% won't know what to do with their money or vote. Let him take care of it and then when he is done, he will take care of us by creating jobs. He is a job creator and unlike Obama (an alleged european socialist). This is trickle down economics at its best. Let the rich do the right thing.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • dms

      Ha! Murdoch, not an American, and not a job creator for America. He only does what makes him money, and Americans he could care less about. I guess you like foreign interests sending money to your representative, so your rep can do what they want. Perfect example of a foreigner trying to rig our elections. He just loves the reality shows allowing him to pay practically nothing to actors.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. government cheese

    A lot of people don't remember Obama's attempt to control search engines right after his inauguration. Obama wanted to control what engines bring up in order on the page. Most people won't go to page 7 to find a source. They tend to view only page 1 most of the time. With this power, one can control information just like a newspaper by selective editing, opinion-as-fact reporting, and false claims.

    Obama stay off my computer!!

    January 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      When did this happen?

      January 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • ciscoheat

      you are right, I don't remember this. Please state your it hasn't happened, and thus far, Obama is the only one in Washington trying to stay off your computer!

      January 16, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      You seem to have this backward. If Obama's administration wanted to control the results order, it was to prevent money from controlling what was considered most important or most popular. Without knowing that the user would not assume money had any control. I'm mostly surprised at how difficult it is for Murdoch to make a better argument.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • government cheese

      Dennis- You seen to think business is the only one with money. Politics of the engine search played a huge role in the 2008 election.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      The implication that the government controls it is absurd. If one party can do it the other should to. Make a valid point.

      January 16, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Larry L

    Rupert Murdoch can clain credit as the man who did the most to remove honor from journalism. His Fox News is only one example but it shows his total disregard for honesty and responsibility in reporting the news. He has captured the attention of that vast, mindless group of angry white people who look for what they "want" the news to say. The message is all spin, mostly hateful, and directly targeted at pleasing the rifght-wing. Any journalist who works for Rupert Murdoch has sold their integrity for a paycheck.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • dallas

      thank you

      January 16, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dallas

    LOL, now it's now CNN's fault: FOX brainwashed viewers wake up

    January 16, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mack

    Hey Rupert, if the writers and movie crews are hurting so much, maybe you should pay them more instead of giving more to the lead actors who get $20 to $30 million per movie! Maybe big actors wouldn't expect to be paid that much if your buddies didn't feed their greedy hands so willingly. Now the big actors expect at least $20 million per movie and it keeps growing while the small time people who help make the movie barely get a raise. Time to look in the mirror instead of blaming others.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rupert the Bold


    It takes a pirate to recognize a pirate, and here there be pirates!


    January 16, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. NeilIL

    Murdoch has twitter? More likely he opened a small staff to operate one for him.

    January 16, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. douglas

    Go back to your own country you tyrant!..we have enough to deal with without some old fool who hacks into peoples private lives.and then has the nerve to make a statement like this.
    who are you to talk! just shut up go get your dentures adjusted !

    January 16, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Research In Mutton

    And where exactly is the "I Hate Rupert Murdoch" rebuttal article?

    January 16, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. 1000 Fathoms

    Get your money for nothing and your chicks for free, that's the way you do it...maybe get a blister on your little finger maybe get a blister on your thumb. Turn FOX off forever!

    January 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • ciscoheat

      under sopa, you would have probably just shut down cnn!! haha

      January 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. RW

    I like Google. Learch(Murdoch), please get off of Twtter and go back to the Adams Family...Bugging peoples phones, going through their trash! Your more like the Grim Reaper,.....No wonder My Space died.......

    January 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
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