Rupert Murdoch, the aging, embattled, conservative media tycoon has been no stranger to controversy lately, and not the least of it has centered around his new Twitter account. The Fox and Wall Street Journal head has been surprisingly vocal since he joined the microblogging service just a few weeks ago — but none of his outbursts ring as clearly and loudly as recent tweets on the SOPA debate. Much of his vitriol seems aimed at Google, which Murdoch calls a "piracy leader."
The News Corporation CEO tweeted, "So Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery," and "piracy leader is Google who streams movies free, sells advts [sic] around them. No wonder pouring millions into lobbying," on January 14th, then followed up with justification stating that "film making is risky as hell" and targeting "hurting writers [and] actors." He also points out that when searching for the latest Mission Impossible film on Google, he was able to find a number of sites offering "free links" to the film.
So Obama has thrown in his lot withSilicon Valley paymasters who threaten allsoftware creators with piracy, plain thievery. -— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) January 14, 2012
Just been to google search for mission impossible. Wow, several sites offering free links.I rest my case.— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) January 15, 2012
Of course, Twitter isn't much of a forum to make a clear, cogent argument for or against a topic as far-reaching and broad as piracy, but there does seem to be a fundamental misunderstanding of what Google is surfacing based on Murdoch's string of messages. For starters, the concept that providing access to information somehow adds up to collusion is wildly simplistic. As Forbes points out in its piece on the tweets, this isn't the first time Murdoch has misrepresented what Google's search results produce, conflating links back to content as the content itself.
The blame isn't all centered on Google, however. The CEO followed up his piracy rant with a tweet on rising ticket prices (which he claims his company has no control over) and the "offensive" prices for popcorn and soda. Go get 'em, Rupert.
Agree about cinema prices which out of our control - but even more offensive are prices for popcorn and sodas.— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) January 15, 2012