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SOPA debate triggers Rupert Murdoch's "piracy leader" accusation of Google

SOPA debate triggers Rupert Murdoch's "piracy leader" accusation of Google
Rupert Murdoch, file AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

(CNET) - News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, a Twitter user for only the past several weeks, used the service to fire a barrage of accusations Saturday night against President Obama and Google.

He accused the White House of being in the employ of "Silicon Valley paymasters." Murdoch claimed Google was profiting from advertisements sold against pirated materials. He also called the search company a "piracy leader." (Read more about Murdoch's Twitter tirade here), reports CNET's Greg Sandoval.

In an email sent to CNET on Sunday afternoon, Google responded to Murdoch's statements.

"This is just nonsense," wrote a Google spokeswoman. "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 Twitter blast against the president and Google was triggered when the White House raised concerns about antipiracy legislation being debated in Congress. The Stop Online Piracy Act (House of Representatives) and Protect IP Act (Senate) are backed by numerous media companies, including News Corp.

Supporters say the legislation is needed to protect them from overseas sites that trade in pirated materials but aren't bound by U.S. copyright law.

A growing list of opponents, including much of the tech sector, argues the bills would threaten free speech, due process, and innovation without offering any protection against piracy.

Google said it thinks there are better methods to fighting piracy than those sought by copyright owners: "We believe, like many other tech companies," Google wrote in its statement, "that the best way to stop [pirates] is through targeted legislation that would require ad networks and payment processors--like ours--to cut off sites dedicated to piracy or counterfeiting."

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