Google vs. Content – Why Rupert Is Right!


I never ever dreamed I would see myself agreeing with the right-wing press baron Rupert Murdoch. However his recent tweet that Google is a “piracy leader” hits the nail on the head. As previously reported in TMV, Google continues to make money from linking to illegal torrent sites and then allowing advertisers using both text and display ads to display advertisements on these sites that steal content owners content.


The fact Google continues to serve up search results linking to sites that make money from advertising and subscription fees, yet never pay the rights holder is quite frankly morally reprehensible. This alone helps to drive the pirate industry. Reinforcing this further is the fact Google actually profits from serving advertisements to these sites, which is a further slap in the face from the arrogant global search giant.

Wikipedia and Google protest’s against the SOPA legislation in the United States is seriously misguided. ISP’s and search engines provide the gateway to the world-wide-web. In the physical world as a society the United States, England along with many other countries police the Somali seas to prevent piracy on the high seas against civilian trade ships. What is so different about protecting the content industries from equally disgusting behaviour in the form of illegal P2P and torrent sites?

Just like in the physical world where piracy on the high seas is policed and society condones that policing, what is so wrong about policing the Internet? ISP’s charge customers to access the online superhighway. So why should they not be partly responsible for the good behaviour of these same customers? At present they have cart blanche to turn a blind eye – which is exactly what they do.

Quality content costs lots of money to produce. This is where I depart from my agreement with Rupert Murdoch, because the large majority of his company’s publications cannot be equated with quality journalism no matter how much money was spent on producing such drivel. As Rupert believes the Internet needs to be regulated TMV also believe that Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper, TV and Movie Empire should be regulated to make sure he never has more than a 25% ownership across all media types. This point is key for the plurality of media in most western countries.

The irony of ISP’s and Google lobbying against SOPA and similar legislation in the UK and France is that over the long-term they are essentially shooting themselves in the foot. ISP’s and search engines depend upon ever-increasing output of content across all digital formats. By refusing to play an active role in policing online piracy they directly hurt the businesses investing in producing the content that their own networks rely on for customers.

In the case of ISP’s, they need companies producing content as without a continuous cycle of new content being produced ISP’s have no business model. They are reliant on selling ever-increasing bandwidth to customers so they can consume more and more content. But what happens if content producers can no longer afford to produce new content? Demand will drop for increased bandwidth – its simple economics folks!

Going further search engines like Google also rely on a continuous cycle of new content being produced. Without new content, there would be less for their engine to index and sell adwords and display advertising against.

It’s about time these large multi-billion dollar ISP’s and search engines started taking some responsibility for the fact each are profiting from the illegal activity of their customers. TMV suggests that they have a moral duty to society to work with the authorities to stamp out their customers illegal activity.

On a final note, ISP’s already police child pornography for society’s good, so why not other content against piracy? I’m not in any way equating the horrors of child pornography to basic content piracy. However, if policing one illegal activity can be achieved it can also be done for other illegal activity over the same gateways to the Internet.

Both Internet gateways and search engines have a symbiotic relationship with content creators and it is time that they respected content creators instead of staying active participants in the raping and pillaging of individuals and companies that create content.


Jakomi Mathews – Founder & Editor, The Music Void

Discussion3 Comments

  1. Jakomi: The problem with your thesis is this: Socially, Google and Rupert are both cut from the same cloth. They both are intently focused on giving people what they want. Their business models separate them. Google’s is a model that generates money from the ability to link consumers to content infinitely replicated and indexed by Google while being owned by created by others. Rupert’s model is based on the concept of limited supply of content that he owns and governs the access to. Copyright law, it must be remembered, was not brought into being in order to help songwriters make money. It was brought into being so that the King of England could control the publication of inflammatory material that was suddenly able to be distributed as a result of Gothenburg’s invention. It was all about politics, and it still is.

    But ultimately history shows that the way that the majority of people vote with their feet is what determines the creation of legislation. You have to remember too that your views (along with mine) have been shaped by the eminence grise that filters the stories that make it into the mainstream.

    QED – neither you nor I are able to be objective commentators.

  2. Physical media companies, like murdoch’s are blaming their problems on google when in reality what we are witnessing is a fundamental shift in how information is distributed, just like the printing press did, the internet has, and in fact still is changing the world in a very real way. Bottom line is google is a private entity and i would be appalled if they actually thought they had the right to police the internet, its the job of government, who must find a way to target pirates specifically and forget this notion of trying to control the internet.

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