Yesterday, Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corporation owns Fox Studios, got himself pelted with angry tweets after he posted on Twitter that Google is a “piracy leader… who streams movies free, sells advts around them.” “Just nonsense,” Google told CNet’s Greg Sandoval, adding that
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 … We fight pirates and counterfeiters every day.
Murdoch’s comments, as Jeff Jarvis wrote on the Guardian, are a sign that the media magnate “is against the fundamental architecture of the web and the net” because he “cannot see past old models of owning content and selling it.”
The stream of online opposition to SOPA and PIPA is itself a sign of the power of the Internet to spread information and mobilize people to action. Wikipedia’s decision to join the blackout was the result of nearly 800 Wikipedia members debating since December. The technology site BoingBoing will also be joining the blackout. WordPress, the popular blogging platform, has indicated its opposition to SOPA and PIPA and users can add a widget to their blog that will display a banner in support of the protest.
Google and Twitter have not yet indicated if they will participate in the blackout. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has dismissed Wikimedia’s plan to join the blackout as “silly,” commenting that “closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish.” But SOPA’s and PIPA’s provisions extend not only to US websites, but to foreign ones; the laws would give the DOJ the power to shut down oversea sites, if they are found to offer pirated material.
Everyone agrees that online piracy is a serious problem. SOPA and PIPA do protect copyright owners, but in a way that could do serious danger to the freedom of expression that we have come to know and value on the Internet. There is a need for legislation to address online piracy, but not in the form of SOPA and PIPA. Said Wales in another Tweet,
We have no indication that SOPA is fully off the table…PIPA is still alive and kicking. We need to send Washington a BIG message.
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