Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Parasites united

It's amusing to see Rupert Murdoch complaining about Google in the news recently. Apparently he tweeted a couple of remarks along the lines that Google are pirates because they index sites that stream films and music for free and also that they are somehow trying to mitigate this by pouring millions into lobbying politicians. You can read the tweets here and here.

Its amusing because either Murdoch is incredibly ignorant or incredibly conceited or both? Is it really possible that someone of his standing and influence doesn't realise the internet and Google are not synonymous? Of course most normal people know that Google simply indexes other peoples sites, and understand that it would be complete nonsense to expect them to also be responsible for every dubious activity on the public internet or even vet such activities. Much in the same way, Murdoch's companies are not responsible for the activities of people who advertise in his newspapers, it would be trivial to find a small ad somewhere that promoted something dubious (or even a few big ones!).

If you believe (as I do) that Murdoch knows full well what Google does, and is attacking it because it's a threat to an establishment of which he owns a significant stake then it would seem obvious that this is simply the age old battle between old technology (media) and new technology (software), the disrupter and the disrupted, of course in reality there is a place for both, but transitions of power like this are always painful for the former. Following recent revelations regarding phone tapping by his companies as well as a well established history of benefiting financially from the efforts and misfortunes of others it seems incredible that Murdoch would be so conceited as to accuse another of profiting from parasitism, whatever happened to honour among vampires?

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