16th Jan, 2012
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, a man known for his high ethical standing, has accused Google of being a "piracy leader" soon after joining Twitter. The News Corporation honcho's tirade has been sparked by the recent SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). The outburst comes after recent developments that have put US lawmakers and those supporting the bill on the backfoot following public outcry.
For those who tuned in late, SOPA is an invasive US anti-piracy act bringing web content providers in the legal line of fire. It is feared that the law could potentially break the internet as we know it by restricting free speech and opening internet entities to legal intimidation. Murdoch's vocal support for the bill is clearly because News Corporation also owns the film studio 20th Century Fox. This is especially true as the SOPA legislation aims provide law enforcement with overarching powers to prosecute anyone vaguely suspected of supporting piracy.
The search giant isn't the only one in Murdoch's crosshairs. The media baron also accused US President Barack Obama of being in cahoots with his "Silicon Valley paymasters". This attack came soon after the White House expressed concerns over the anti-piracy laws. While Obama hasn't reacted to the accusation, Google has already dismissed Murdoch's Twitter remarks.
This is just nonsense", said a Google spokesperson in an email to CNET.com. The email clarified: "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".
Although Murdoch did an about-turn and called Google a "great company" through his subsequent tweets, it's clear that media houses are in favour of stripping the internet of its freedoms to uphold their interests. With the prospect of enforcing the SOPA act petering out, it seems ranting on the internet is all that SOPA supporters can do now.