I Am Rupert Murdoch's Total Lack Of Shame: Now Demanding Intermediary Liability Protections For News Corp.

from the hypocrisy dept

Let's talk a bit about Rupert Murdoch. To his slight credit, in the early 2000s, he seemed to realize that the internet would be big for media. He also realized that he might be missing out. He went on an internet buying spree. It got to the point where Newsweek was praising Murdoch's "smart bets" on the internet. The cornerstone of Murdoch's digital empire was MySpace; a site that was once so dominant, the media insisted that no one could ever surpass it -- not even a dumpy little startup like Facebook.

We all know how that all turned out. Within a few years, people realized that nearly every one of Murdoch's internet ventures was a total and complete flop (often embarrassingly so).

Since then, it has seemed that Murdoch has been at war with the internet. The man who spent years using his various media properties to insist that we needed "less" government, and more "free market" wasted no opportunity to demand that the government step in and regulate, breakup, or tax the internet companies which out innovated Murdoch's News Corp. He's even been occasionally successful in getting governments to burden his competitors with ridiculous regulations.

Over the last few years, Murdoch and News Corp. have been one of the leading voices attacking Section 230. Murdoch seems consistently angry at anything deemed good for the internet. News Corp. has been lobbying against Section 230. Fox News' most popular host, Tucker Carlson, regularly (if consistently ignorantly) rails against Section 230. Trump's attacks on Section 230 in 2020 were completely consistent with Murdoch's views.

That's why we found it grimly ironic last week when an Australian court ruled that media companies could now be held liable for 3rd party comments on social media. This was an upside down version of Section 230 Down Under, that reached way beyond social media sites being liable. Instead, it made the news organizations that posted links on social media liable for the comments that came under them.

I joked that perhaps Murdoch would finally realize why Section 230 was important, and it did not take long for News Corp. to demand that the law be changed to protect... organizations like News Corp. from some 3rd party liability:

The ruling was "significant for anyone who maintains a public social media page by finding they can be liable for comments posted by others on that page even when they are unaware of those comments," News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller said in a statement.

"This highlights the need for urgent legislative reform and I call on Australia's attorneys general to address this anomaly and bring Australian law into line with comparable western democracies," Miller added.

You don't say? You mean, it might be helpful if there were some sort of law? One that made it clear that intermediaries and media organizations should not be held liable for comments from random commenters? Someone should tell Tucker Carlson...

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Filed Under: australia, intermediary liability, michael miller, rupert murdoch
Companies: news corp.


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  1. icon
    jilocasin (profile), 14 Sep 2021 @ 10:08am

    For me but not for thee

    Given Murdoch's history, don't be surprised if he calls for intermediary liability protect only for news organizations. A definition that miraculously only includes his properties and not those of any of those evil evil internet companies (he wishes he could be like).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 10:22am

    like so many others of the same attitude, if it stops him making money, destroy it, regardless of any good whatever it is he has his sights on. if, however, it is doing the opposite, then give all the help possible, particularly if that means scaring the shit out of the owners/developers and forcing them to sell the whatever to him for a much less than market estimate. however, he is doing whatever is needed to make sure he gets and maintains the market leadership and that no one can touch him, much like the USA entertainment industries and most importantly, they dont have a penny going to anyone except them even though they keep hundreds of millions in payments from those who should have been paid for work carried out but somehow are never gotten round to. surprised? why? they've been doing it long enough to enough people!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    hocky player, 14 Sep 2021 @ 10:24am

    ad hoc innoc time

    Trying to get in past your pre-screening...


    Up to some dozens of attempts: not worth counting any more! If I didn't break through once in a while, reasonable people wouldn't know of this sneaky CENSORING -- while LYING that he doesn't even "moderate" (Mz claims that it's "the community" which "hides" comments)!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 10:25am

    You're happy to shield corporations by gov't power...

    With unprecedented grant of immunity. That's fascism.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 10:25am

    HOW did print publishing get along without this immunity?

    Answer: they were in fact publishers okaying text NOT merely hosting it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 14 Sep 2021 @ 10:25am

    Re: ad hoc innoc time

    Go away, Blue Balls.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 10:25am

    Second aspect: MERE HOSTS do NOT deserve POWER to CONTROL...

    ... what others wish to publish.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 10:26am

    Web-sites are MERE HOSTS, are NOT "property"...

    ... so all your assertions based on publishers and applying the law of property are simply WRONG.

    [You won't/don't recognize "intellectual property" as valid, but assert that web-site hosting is legally same as physical property!]

    You push an explicitly anti-American scheme to enable a few corporations to control ALL speech on the internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 10:27am

    Re: ad hoc innoc time

    ... of an apparently plain HTML input box (which is actually now clearly okayed per comment by an Admin), even though you're immune for what I write. Your current practice of stifling all dissent betrays your prior blather about "free speech": actually, like everyone else, you mean only that which you approve.

    Even when get in, it's CENSORED. Oh, you have a LIE of "the community" which merely "hides", not censors, but it's disadvantaging viewpoint, regardless of what lying you sez.

    YOU don't even have the guts to RULE openly, just cheat out of sight.

    Mz's pieces are ALWAYS locked-down fully of late. His corporatist notions are so extremist and fragile that can't stand ANY dissent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Koby (profile), 14 Sep 2021 @ 10:31am

    Maybe They Should Change

    The United States didn't need such a law. Cubby v Compuserve was from 1991, predating section 230 by several years. Australia must have some very backward legal precedents if they find someone liable for comments of which they were unaware.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 14 Sep 2021 @ 10:38am

    Re: Maybe They Should Change

    The United States didn't need such a law. Cubby v Compuserve was from 1991, predating section 230 by several years.

    There's also the case of Stratton Oakmont v. Prodigy, which had the opposite ruling. Rather than let both rulings remain and lead to legal uncertainty, §230 was created to resolve it once and for all.

    Why are you so bad at this, Koby?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 10:39am

    Re: Web-sites are MERE HOSTS, are NOT "property"...

    Hey thanks for acting like a spambot.

    I flagged you comment: and guess what? I am not Masnick.

    If you actually want to disagree with Mike and NOT have you comments rappidly hidden, maybe carefully craft a single message that does not make you look like a raving madman?

    I mean even koby has comments that are not flagged while still disagreeing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Thad (profile), 14 Sep 2021 @ 10:41am

    Rupert Murdoch? But he seemed like such a beacon of personal integrity!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 14 Sep 2021 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: ad hoc innoc time

    [Hallucinates facts not in evidence]

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 Sep 2021 @ 10:58am

    what in the mental health–related fuck is wrong with you

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 11:09am

    Re: Maybe They Should Change

    How many court cases can you afford to win, when every one is taken to trial? If someone with money wishes a company or individual destroyed, they just take them court when they see a chance, and make the experience as expensive as possible using delays and procedural tricks. Their intent is not to win, but rather to bankrupt their opponent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re: Web-sites are MERE HOSTS, are NOT "property"..

    I mean even koby has comments that are not flagged while still disagreeing.

    Sometimes, anyway. Sometimes, the Trolling is simply too great. But that's a different story.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Koby (profile), 14 Sep 2021 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re: Maybe They Should Change

    There's also the case of Stratton Oakmont v. Prodigy, which had the opposite ruling.

    The Rupert Murdoch situation seems more analogous to Cubby, since they apparently weren't even aware of what was being said in the comments. Stratton Oakmont was different because they were actively monitoring and aware of the comments. So they knew.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 11:25am

    I like how you doubled down on the down under references, me old cobber.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    ECA (profile), 14 Sep 2021 @ 12:04pm

    Wait for it.

    Lets see.
    "it made the news organizations that posted links on social media liable for the comments that came under them. "

    So for all the news and internet sites, and papers Murdoch controls.
    'it made the news organizations that posted links on social media liable for the comments that came under them.'

    After all his complaining about 230. He gets his way. But if he publishes something on 1 site and then passes this link and info to others of his sites and papers? It has been known along time that his agencies for news distribution tend to USE HIS OPINIONS.
    Who will be liable?
    Or will everything posted on his sites be considered opinion? Not truth or fact or anything Logical beyond himself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    kallethen, 14 Sep 2021 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Re: Web-sites are MERE HOSTS, are NOT "property"...

    At the very least, Koby doesn't spam. I may not agree with him often, but I'll at least respect him for being a responsible commenter. And honestly, sometimes he does have opinions I can agree with.

    Perhaps if this other guy acted more like Koby, he'd not be targeted by the spam filter...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Baron von Robber, 14 Sep 2021 @ 12:26pm

    Re: ad hoc innoc time

    Idiot complains about his inability to idiot his idiocy ends up posting anyways about being an idiot. Idiot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 14 Sep 2021 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Should Change

    Stratton Oakmont was different because they were actively monitoring and aware of the comments. So they knew.

    Really? Back up those claims, Koby.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Web-sites are MERE HOSTS, are NOT "property&quo

    Exactly: I frequently disagree with Koby. But I can say I have ever seen him spam.

    And I have occasionally seen him give well thought out posts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 1:16pm

    austrailian courts seem to like placing various legal options or choices over the public good ,resulting in an environment that puts free speech in danger, also they brought in laws that the police can ask for data from any service or website without even asking for a court order .
    murdoch does not like section 230 in that in protects facebook and google and big tech companys that compete with his newspapers and media companys.
    australian websites will probably limit comment sections or maybe shut them down rather than risk expensive lawsuits .
    theres a reason why section 230 was passed it was to allow websites to host forums and comments without getting wiped out by random lawsuits .

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 2:47pm

    Re: HOW did the mintal health crisis turn into a crisis

    Not so good buddy. Try to remember to catch all your thought like butterflys in a jar before hitting submit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 2:53pm

    Re: he's not gonna call you back

    Damn son. You'd think at some point you'd get over a case that set a precedent, so bad they made a new law to overturn it, after 30 years. I think from now on,we should call all digital spinsters Koby in your "honour."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Re: ad hoc innoc time

    Do you keep repeating his name or one of your favored twisted forms of it? I'll bet that does it. i notice you went with another abbreviation this time.

    i got caught in moderation (still not even sure it was ever released) for quoting someone who used his name. if that's a mechanism, it's a fair filter, since nearly all the time, someone using the name or one of the totally hilarious corruptions of it is entirely just being a complete dick, with zero content whatsoever.

    so now we have more off-topic posts about how you can't get through, zero content on the subject. good job, you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Should Change

    Attempting to be aware does not make one omniscient.

    That's the whole point.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 3:07pm

    Re:

    it's the same reason that lots of other places don't need a 230, since they already have sensible procedures. for now, anyway.

    it seems like there is always a segment in Oz that wants to out-do the dystopian visions of UK presented by some writers and filmmakers. mind, this is just an opinion about flavor. everyone seems to want to climb to the top of the bizarre authoritarian pile via one route or another.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 14 Sep 2021 @ 3:36pm

    'You gave me what I asked for, not what I wanted!'

    "This highlights the need for urgent legislative reform and I call on Australia's attorneys general to address this anomaly and bring Australian law into line with comparable western democracies," Miller added.

    I've got great news for you then, there's this little thing called 'Section 230' over in the US that you can model your online liability laws on, maybe give that a look.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2021 @ 5:46pm

    Re:

    Why do you support a corporatist like Murdoch, blue?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2021 @ 3:07am

    Re: Maybe They Should Change

    The Australian law is roughly like the Prodigy ruling: if you are operating a moderated discussion board, and you leave something up after you can be reasonably assumed to have seen it (or if you specifically approve it), you've taken editorial responsibility for it.

    Also like Prodigy, if you are a dumb intermediary that only gets involved to the minimum extent required by law, then you're not assumed to have seen it and aren't liable.

    IMO, that's a much better policy position than S230.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2021 @ 3:12am

    Re: Wait for it.

    Mike has slightly misunderstood the way the ruling works: it targets the moderators of the comments, not the poster of the original link. In the particular instance in the case, NewsCorp posted the link on Facebook and so were the moderators. If they'd posted on /r/Australia, then the subreddit mods would have been potentially liable but NewsCorp would be in the clear.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2021 @ 3:15am

    Re:

    Much like in Prodigy, if they don't look at the comments they're in the clear, the liability arose because they had clearly taken down some comments but left others up and so were held to have tacitly approved them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. icon
    XcOM987 (profile), 15 Sep 2021 @ 4:35am

    Re: Second aspect: MERE HOSTS do NOT deserve POWER to CONTROL...

    Indeed mere hosts do not deserve power to control what others wish to publish, but they do deserve power to decide what others wish to publish/use/do with their platform.

    They can't however stop someone publishing on someone elses hosting platform, or host their own platform and post there.

    While your statement is factually correct, the meaning behind your phrasing is wrong in every sense of what you want it to mean thus making your statement wrong.

    Only you could make a statement which is actually correct somehow wrong still, congratulations, you are awarded zero points.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. icon
    nasch (profile), 15 Sep 2021 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: Maybe They Should Change

    if you are operating a moderated discussion board, and you leave something up after you can be reasonably assumed to have seen it (or if you specifically approve it), you've taken editorial responsibility for it.

    The result of such a policy is almost nobody can afford to have a moderated discussion board. So there may be a wealthy few companies that do, and everyone else will either shut off comments, or not moderate. So get ready for spam, trolling, and porn. That is the policy you want?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2021 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: ad hoc innoc time

    Go the fuck away, Baghdad Bob.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2021 @ 9:11am

    Re: For me but not for thee

    The old ass will be a lot more brazen. he's gonna call for these laws to only benefit News Corp, ie, all his companies, shell or legitimate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2021 @ 9:11am

    Re:

    Harassment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2021 @ 9:16am

    Re: Re: Re: ad hoc innoc time

    I'm not really sure if that's how that filter works, though.

    Though I am very sure I should not share it because I don't want to help this particular harasser. I'm just gonna say that if there's a word filter, Koby and restless seem to know what not to say.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2021 @ 9:19am

    As much as I know that Rupert Murdoch's whingeing will be accommodated since he practically controls Australia's media, I sadly hold out hope that this would lead to him getting, if not sued, then ARRESTED.

    The very bare minimum he deserves is to rot in jail.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. icon
    nasch (profile), 15 Sep 2021 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Re: ad hoc innoc time

    I don't think the spam filter is keyed on the name Mike Masnick. We'll see if this comment gets caught, because it is otherwise similar to other comments I post.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2021 @ 1:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Should Change

    It's better than allowing businesses to take sides. I'd prefer no spam, trolling, or porn without biased moderation, but no moderation at all is better than biased moderation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 16 Sep 2021 @ 1:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Should Change

    That idea was so stupid and damaging that it got Congress to get off its ass and to fix it with 230.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 16 Sep 2021 @ 2:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Should Change

    Ah yes, how dare people who run platforms have biases, truly what fiends they are to be so completely unlike any other person or business out there who strive to be completely neutral... That aside what specifically do you think the biases of the businesses running online platforms are that you're objecting to and which specific type of content are they removing because of that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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