By Andre Tartar
Rupert 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.
“Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy,” Murdoch declared.
The White House’s top technology officers sort of agree with Rupert, saying that “online piracy is a real problem that harms the American economy, threatens jobs for significant numbers of middle class workers and hurts some of our nation’s most creative and innovative companies and entrepreneurs.”
But many opponents of SOPA and PIPA claim that the bills would limit the freedom of expression. Google and Twitter have even reminded lawmakers that the bills take the same approach used by the China and Iran to censor their citizens’ Internet access. The White House agrees:
Proposed laws must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System (DNS), a foundation of Internet security. […] We must avoid legislation that drives users to dangerous, unreliable DNS servers and puts next-generation security policies, such as the deployment of DNSSEC, at risk.
Already, the House bill’s two co-sponsors have agreed to withdraw the DNS-blocking provision from SOPA, while several of the Senate bill’s sponsors have asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to delay a floor vote scheduled in less than two weeks, citing the barrage of calls and e-mails they’ve been getting from “a large number of constituents and other stakeholders with vocal concerns about possible unintended consequences of the proposed legislation.”
But not all supporters of the bills are taking these setbacks lying down. After the White House came out against the legislation, Murdoch took to Twitter (his favorite new toy, it seems) yesterday with a series of exasperated messages.
5:54 p.m. ET: Piracy leader is Google who streams movies free, sells advts around them. No wonder pouring millions into lobbying.
5:57 p.m. ET: Film making risky as hell. This has to lead to less, hurting writers, actors, all concerned.
10:25 p.m. ET: Just been to google search for mission impossible. Wow, several sites offering free links. I rest my case.
Then again, Twitter may not have been the most sensible outlet for such sentiments, considering on which side of this fight the site and likely many of its users find themselves. Among the public responses Murdoch received were several with choice phrases like “walking embodiment of the old world” and “three words: make better films” and “searching google turned up no such links for me … ”