Rupert Murdoch Lobbies Congress To Restrict Internet
12/ 7/11 08:26 PM ET Updated: 12/ 8/11 08:32 AM ET
WASHINGTON -- News Corp. honcho Rupert Murdoch threw his weight behind Congress' attempt to restrict the Internet, personally lobbying leaders on Capitol Hill Wednesday for two measures that purport to combat piracy.
Murdoch's media empire is among some 350 large corporations that have come out in favor of the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House, as well as the Protect IP Act in the Senate.
Both measures would require Internet operators to police activity online, and would mandate Internet giants like Google and AOL (the parent company of The Huffington Post and an opponent of the bills) and credit card companies to take down sites that have content deemed to be in violation of copyright rules.
The battle has pitted huge content generators like Disney and the motion picture industry against their online competitors, with each side reportedly spending some $90 million on lobbying efforts.
Supporters say the measures will help curb theft and preserve the integrity of the Internet. Opponents charge that the measures amount to censorship that will stifle innovation and impose higher costs on consumers.
News Corp. owns 20th Century Fox films and many television franchises such as "The Simpsons." The firm has long lobbied on the issue, donating to members on both sides of the aisle.
The personal intervention of Murdoch shows how high the stakes are. Sources confirmed to HuffPost that the media magnate was pushing for the two bills, and that he met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Murdoch's presence comes as high-profile opponents, such as Google's Eric Schmidt, have been ramping up their public efforts to kill the bills.
Additional reporting by Zach Carter