Murdoch: Obama siding with his 'Silicon Valley paymasters' in piracy debate

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch took to Twitter over the weekend to criticize President Obama and Google for their stance on anti-piracy legislation. 

"So Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery," Murdoch tweeted on Saturday. 

"Piracy leader is Google who streams movies free, sells [advertisements] around them. No wonder pouring millions into lobbying," he wrote a few minutes later.

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In a blog post response to a petition on Saturday morning, the White House expressed concerns with the House's Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate's Protect IP Act.

"Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small," the president's advisers wrote.

The administration emphasized that it supports giving law enforcement new tools to crack down on copyright infringement.

The anti-piracy bills are designed to go after foreign websites that offer illegal copies of music, movies and TV shows with impunity. The legislation would empower the Justice Department and copyright holders to demand that search engines delete links to sites “dedicated” to copyright infringement. Ad networks and payment processors would be prohibited from doing business with the sites.

Google and other Web companies say the measures would require sites to police user-generated content. They argue the bills would stifle innovation and censor free speech.  

But Murdoch tweeted that piracy "hurts writers, actors, [and] all concerned." He said Google is a "great company," and that their supposed toleration of copyright infringement is his only complaint, but "an important one."

As evidence to support his claims, he said he searched for the new "Mission Impossible" film on Google. "Wow, several sites offering free links," he tweeted. "I rest my case." 

A Google spokeswoman denied that the company supports copyright infringement.

"Google respects copyright — and we’ve worked hard to help rights holders deal with piracy," the spokeswoman said. "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. Like many other tech companies, we believe that there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking U.S. companies to censor the Internet."

After some other tweets about the Golden Globes, Murdoch turned his criticism back to the president on Sunday.

"Seems like universal anger with [Obama] from all sorts of normal supporters. Maybe backing pirates a rare miscalculation by friend Axelrod," Murdoch tweeted, referring to the president's senior campaign adviser, David Axelrod. 

He then tweeted that the entertainment industry is responsible for thousands of high-paying American jobs. 

Murdoch is the CEO of News Corp., which owns Fox, The Wall Street Journal and other media companies.

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