Google to Rupert: We aren’t pirates

September 25, 2014, 6:35 PM UTC
Allen & Co. Media And Technology Conference
Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp., arrives to a morning session at the Sun Valley Lodge during the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Technology companies from Silicon Valley are expected to take center stage at this year's Allen & Co.'s Sun Valley conference as tech and media converge. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photo by Bloomberg—Getty Images

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Google get into a spat with another tech company — Apple, for example. Just last week, Apple’s (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook called out Google’s business model.

But instead Google is publicly sparring with a decidedly old-media foe: News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch.

Last week, News Corp’s (FOXA) Chief Executive Robert Thompson wrote a letter to the European Commission in which he accused Google (GOOG) of “piracy.”

“The shining vision of Google’s founders has been replaced by a cynical management, which offers advertisers impressively precise data about users and content usage, but has been a platform for piracy and the spread of malicious networks, all while driving more traffic and online advertising dollars to Google,” the letter reads.

Pretty harsh.

Google responded, though, by posting an open letter not to Thompson, but to his boss: Australian media mogul Murdoch.

The letter says that Google has actually fought online piracy, in addition to other cybercrimes.

“Google is also an industry leader in combating child sexual abuse imagery online,” it reads. “We use hashing technology to remove illegal imagery from all our products and from the search index. We have safe modes for both Search and YouTube that filter out inappropriate content. And we are committed to protecting our users’ security.”

Google’s response, posted to the company’s own blog, goes through each of News Corp’s arguments in turn, offering counterarguments. It gets a bit cheeky at the end, linking to a rather crude cover of The Sun, a British tabloid owned by News Corp, in response to the allegation that that Google’s “undermining [of] the basic business model of professional content creators will lead to a less informed, more vexatious level of dialogue in our society.”

We’re anxiously waiting for Rupert’s reply.