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Google a ‘Platform for Piracy’? News Corp Gets an Earful in ‘Dear Rupert’ Letter

Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corp and Google have repeatedly engaged in a war of words in recent years, and the Internet search giant opened the latest chapter in the showdown on Thursday.

In a blog post entitled “Dear Rupert,” one of its representatives responded to News Corp criticism detailed in a letter to European Union officials last week that was sent by CEO Robert Thomson.

“Last week, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp sent an open letter to the European Commission complaining about Google. We wanted to share our perspective so you can judge the arguments on their merits,” wrote Rachel Whetstone, senior vp, global communications.

She started off this way: “News Corp: The Internet should be a canvas for freedom of expression and for high quality content of enduring value.

Google: We agree about free expression and the importance of high quality content. Access to information in any given country, particularly news content, used to be controlled by a relatively small number of media organizations. Today, people have far greater choice. That has had a profound impact on newspapers, who face much stiffer competition for people’s attention and for advertising euros.”


The blog post argued that “Google has worked hard to help publishers succeed online, both in terms of generating new audiences and also increasing their digital revenues,” adding that the firm’s search products drive more than 10 billion clicks a month to 60,000 publishers’ web sites.

Whetstone also reacted to News Corp’s suggestion that Google was a “platform for piracy and the spread of malicious networks.” Her response: “Google has done more than almost any other company to help tackle online piracy.”

She said that in search, in 2013 the web giant removed 222 million pages from Google Search due to copyright infringement. Plus. “we’ve invested tens of millions of dollars in innovative technology, called ContentID, to tackle piracy on YouTube.”

News Corp had also argued that Google’s market power makes it difficult for people to access information independently and stifles competition.

“With the Internet, people enjoy greater choice than ever before — and because the competition is just one click away online, barriers to switching are very, very low,” the Google blog post argued. “Google is of course very popular in Europe, but we are not the gatekeeper to the web, as some claim.”

Addressing criticism that YouTube results show up at the top of Google search pages even when YouTube is not the original source of the content. Whetstone wrote: “A simple Google search for “videos of Robert Thomson News Corp” shows content from the BBC, the Wall Street Journal and Nasdaq ranked above anything from YouTube. We only show YouTube results when they’re relevant to a search query.”

This article was first published by The Hollywood Reporter.