Rupert Murdoch takes to Twitter to blast Obama on piracy
News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch took to the social networking site Twitter on Saturday to blast the Obama administration for its stance against two anti-piracy bills Hollywood is backing.
"So Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery," Murdoch tweeted. He also said it is Google that "streams movies free, sells advts [advertisements] around them. No wonder pouring millions into lobbying."
Murdoch's anger was in response to a statement from Obama administration officials that indicated that the White House would not back key elements of two bills making their way through Capitol Hill -- the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) -- that critics and media activists argue would hurt freedom of speech on the Internet and favors corporate America over innovation.
"While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet,'' read a statement by Victoria Espinel, intellectual property enforcement coordinator; Aneesh Chopra, U.S. chief technology officer; and Howard Schmidt, cybersecurity coordinator for the national security staff.
The administration's stance is a blow to traditional media companies such as News Corp., Time Warner Inc. and Viacom Inc., which have been lobbying hard for the bills, fearing that piracy is undermining their businesses.
"Film making risky as hell. This has to lead to less, hurting writers, actors, all concerned," Murdoch tweeted.
Conversely, Silicon Valley has been using its vast resources to combat the proposed legislation and grass-roots groups have taken to the Web to fight the bills.
-- Joe Flint
Photo: Rupert Murdoch. Credit: Bryan Charlton/Associated Press