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Google Calls Murdoch Piracy Accusations ‘Nonsense’

January 16, 2012

Google has responded to critical comments made by Rupert Murdoch on his Twitter account, strongly denying the News Corp. Chairman and CEO’s accusations that they were a “piracy leader.”

Those comments were made Saturday after Murdoch took to the social network to voice his frustration with the Obama administration´s announcement that they opposed parts of recently proposed legislation designed to fight Internet piracy.

“Murdoch exploded last night after news that the Obama White House was coming out against two online anti-piracy bills near and dear to the hearts and financial interests of major media companies like News Corp,” New York magazine´s Andre Tartar wrote on Sunday.

On his personal Twitter account, Murdoch wrote, “So Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery.”

He later added that Google was the “piracy leader,” accusing them of streaming movies for free, before backing off somewhat and calling them a “great company.”

Murdoch would go on to tweet that running a search for Mission Impossible at the popular search engine led to results including “several sites offering free links.”

A Google spokeswoman responded via email, telling CNET’s Greg Sandoval that Murdoch’s accusations were “nonsense,” and the Menlo Park, California-based company fights pirates and counterfeiters “every day.”

“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,” the spokeswoman told Sandoval.

The chain of events began when the White House first responded to an “anti-SOPA petition,” according to BBC News reports. The Obama administration said that the issue of online piracy required a “serious legislative response,” but added that such a response most not “inhibit innovation.”

“We will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet,” the British news organization added in a Monday article.

The legislation in question, according to Sandoval, is actually two separate bills – one in the House of Representatives, and one in the Senate.

The best known is the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which is the House bill. The Senate proposal is known as the Protect IP Act, Sandoval says, adding that both bills are heavily backed by a large group of entertainment and media companies as well as a host of other copyright stakeholders.”

In an article written for RedOrbit.com, contributor Jedidiah Becker says that both Congressional houses are expected to begin work hammering out a final version of the two bills when they return from recess on January 24.

“Yet as the date draws closer, a growing panoply of concerns and protests over the content of the bills has continued to plague its bipartisan Congressional supporters – concerns that touch on issues as diverse as free speech, the economics of technological development, and the future of the internet,” Becker said.

“The stated intent of the legislation – the brainchild of Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and Senate Democratic Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy – is to protect intellectual property and curb the rampant digital piracy for which the Internet has become the principle medium,” he added. “Yet for an increasingly large segment of civil society, they have come to appear as something of a devil´s pact between D.C. politicians and the foundering traditional entertainment industry.”

In late December, website domain name provider GoDaddy.com, once a supporter of SOPA, withdrew their support for the bill after a massive consumer backlash and threats of a boycott. More than 30,000 domains reportedly cut their ties with the registrar over their support of the bill.

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Source: RedOrbit Staff & Wire Reports