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Murdoch tweets his anger at Google in piracy row

MEDIA mogul Rupert Murdoch yesterday used Twitter to attack Google after the search giant joined Wikipedia in protesting against anti-piracy legislation in the US.

The chairman and chief executive of News Corporation rubbished claims that the proposed laws will damage the internet by drawing parallels with Google's targeted censorship of certain types of pornography and racist content.

"Nonsense argument about danger to internet. How about Google, others blocking porn, hate speech, etc? Internet hurt?" he tweeted.

Yesterday, he added: "Don't care about people not buying movies, programs or newspapers, just stealing them."

Mr Murdoch, who joined Twitter at the start of this year, blocked Google from featuring content from News International newspapers when they went behind paywalls, and has previously called Google a "parasite".

His Twitter outburst came as the search giant blacked out its logo on the US version of its site, in protest at two proposed bills: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

Wikipedia went further, with a blackout of its English-language sites. Users attempting to access the site were met with a black screen and the statement "Imagine a world without free knowledge."

The website, which shut down at 5am British time, will go dark for 24 hours, the foundation behind the community-based online encyclopaedia said, in an unprecedented move that brings added muscle to a growing base of critics of the legislation.

Wikipedia is considered one of the internet's most popular websites, with millions of visitors daily.

"If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States," the Wikimedia foundation said.

David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer, said: "We think there's a good way forward that doesn't cause collateral damage to the web."

A spokesman added that Google respects copyright and "worked hard" to combat piracy by taking down 5m infringing web pages last year.

Separately, European regulators have said they will decide around the end of March whether to launch a formal complaint against Google for abuse of its dominant market position.

The EU opened an anti-trust investigation into Google last November, following complaints from 10 companies including Microsoft.

Meanwhile, celebrity magazine editors gave a cautious welcome today to a proposal for an official register of famous people who wish to remain private.

'Heat' magazine's Lucie Cave told the Leveson Inquiry into press standards that it would be a "very useful tool" if celebrities kept a body like the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) updated on their circumstances. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent