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Murdoch slams White House over SOPA in Twitter row

Accuses Google of buying political favor

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Rupert Murdoch has posted a series of rants on Twitter, accusing the White House of bowing to lobbying pressure over its lack of support for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

“So Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery,” he posted on his recently-started Twitter account. “Piracy leader is Google who streams movies free, sells advts around them. No wonder pouring millions into lobbying.”

Murdoch, who is currently under investigation in the UK over phone hacking by his newspapers, is a longtime critic of what he sees as Google's role in enabling piracy. However, for a man made infamous by the extent to which politicians would go to woo him for the support of his media empire, this complaining about corporate influence in politics may strike some as a bit rich.

Rupert's riled over someone else having a say

The octogenarian mogul seems to have been inspired to rant after the White House issued a response to an online petition over the forthcoming SOPA legislation, the PROTECT IP Act and the Online Protection and Digital ENforcement Act (OPEN). The statement said that the White House couldn’t support the current legislation as it would interfere with the use of the DNS architecture which underlies most current internet use.

“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,” the statement reads.

The White House position was released shortly after one of SOPA’s sponsors, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, announced the scale of the legislation will be scaled back and provisions for DNS blocking would be removed from the legislation.

“After consultation with industry groups across the country, I feel we should remove Domain Name System blocking from the Stop Online Piracy Act so that the Committee can further examine the issues surrounding this provision. We will continue to look for ways to ensure that foreign websites cannot sell and distribute illegal content to U.S. consumers,” he said in a statement.

The weekend’s changes seem to indicate that the tide is turning against this latest round of technology legislation. After a deafening silence on behalf of the media over the legislation, a chorus of political and academic concerns has been raised and protests will move online next week. Reddit has announced it will go dark on Wednesday in protest, and Wikipedia might follow suit. ®

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