SOPA Protests: Google Hits Back at Rupert Murdoch

The SOPA wars continue. Google has hit back at Rupert Murdoch, after the media magnate and News Corp CEO called the search colossus a “piracy leader” that “streams movies free.” In a tweet dated 15 January, Murdoch wrote:

“Piracy leader is Google who streams movies free, sells adverts around them. No wonder pouring millions into lobbying.”

Earlier today, a Google spokesperson retorted, telling the BBC:

“Google respects copyright – and we’ve worked hard to help rights holders deal with piracy. Last year we took down five million infringing web pages from our search results and invested more than $60 million (£40m) in the fight against bad ads.”

Murdoch has been in combative mood over SOPA, a proposed law that would give content owners and the U.S. government the power to have websites shut down for the slightest link to any other site that shares copyrighted content. The 80-year-old CEO has been ranting against all who oppose SOPA – including the White House, which appeared to side with SOPA protestors in a statement released on Sunday. The White House statement ended with the line:

“We will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet.”

News Corporation has openly supported SOPA from the get-go, so it was no surprise when Murdoch accused the Obama administration of bowing to “Silicon Valley paymasters”.

Google has been an open critic of SOPA, as it believes copyright infringement can be tackled in less ham-fisted ways. Like many SOPA opponents, the company argues the proposed act is too broad, and will result in a clampdown on many of the freedoms and innovations we take for granted on the Internet.