The Department of Justice and Homeland Security ICE division are at it again, and have this time seized more than 300 domains in advance of the Super Bowl. The overwhelming majority of the domains shut down today were selling counterfeit NFL merchandise, but 16 were linking to copyrighted content or video streams. The proprietor of several of those sites had been arrested in Michigan.
Let's face it, MegaUpload was just as much of a popular pirate hangout as The Pirate Bay (TPB), which isn't to say there weren't some upstanding netizens using the service for legitimate purposes, but we all know what really on went over there. Does that mean non-infringing users should suffer for the wrongs of the bunch who ruined MegaUpload for the few? Maybe (better research into where you store your files could have prevented potentially losing them when the feds beat down the virtual door), maybe not (they weren't doing anything illegal, after all), but regardless. there's at least one organization that has their back: the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
The debate over the seizure of MegaUpload may intensify this week as the site's hosting companies, Carpathia Hosting Inc. and Cogent Communications Group Inc., get ready to purge its data, according to an AP report. Federal prosecutors said in a letter that the data purge could take place as soon as Thursday. With MegaUpload's money frozen by the government, customers who were using the service for legitimate purposes could be screwed.
The U.S. government's takedown of MegaUpload and subsequent arrests sent a strong and clear message that even without SOPA/PIPA written into law, it still wields an awfully big hammer. Perhaps federal authorities felt they needed a victory following the collapse of SOPA/PIPA, and MegaUpload is their head on a spike. If that's the case, it worked. FileSonic.com, a file sharing site with offices in the U.K. and Hong Kong, has pulled the plug on sharing files.
No one likes having their failures rubbed in their faces, and it looks like the U.S. government and the Hollywood lobbyist groups aren't any different. With the SOPA/PIPA blackouts barely over with, the government -- in collaboration with New Zealand -- shut down MegaUpload.com and arrested four of its employees on charges of copyright infringement and conspiracy to commit racketeering. Bad timing, eh? Anonymous sure thought so -- after the crackdown, the hacktivist went on a major DDoS binge that shutdown a whole host of major government and industry websites. Apparently, Anon doesn't like things rubbed in their face, either.
CD Projekt Red has called off its witch hunt for…. pirates, and in an open letter to the community is asking for forgiveness. Just in-case you missed the back story, CD Projekt Red is the development studio behind The Witcher 2, and about one month ago, set off on a campaign to hunt down everyone they suspected of pirating the game. Making pirates cough up cash for stolen software sounds reasonable enough; the real controversy was in the tactics they used to collect. Threatening letters asking for money in exchange for legal immunity might have sounded like a great idea to a bunch of cash strapped PC exclusive developers, however in the real world we often give this strategy a different name, extortion.
Grooveshark is currently being sued by everyone under the sun for its controversial non-licensed music streaming service. As the legal pressures continued to mount in 2011, Grooveshark’s app was pulled from the iOS App Store, and the Android Market. Rather than go back and forth with Google and Apple, Grooveshark has opted to bypass the app stores with an HTML5 web app.
File sharing: it’s not just a way to get free stuff anymore. In Sweden, it’s now an officially recognized religion. Philosophy student Isak Gerson has tried and failed several times to get his Missionary Church of Kopimism recognized as a religion, authorities have relented. Kopimism holds as its central principal, that copying data is a sacred act.
Ever since the interesting, yet disturbing site YouHaveDownloaded went live, the Internet has reveled in hunting down the IP addresses of copyright cops who have been illegally downloading content via torrents. One group found to have some internal pirates is the RIAA, which records show has 6 IP addresses downloading infringing content. Now the RIAA has responded with a defense similar to some alleged file-sharers: it wasn’t us.
Have you seen “Scared Straight?” Federal prison sucks. It’s supposed to suck; you don’t want to make life easy for mobsters and murderers like Al Capone, The Son of Sam, “Machine Gun” Kelly, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer and The Green River Killer when you send them to the clink to keep them from further harming the public. One unlucky pirate is going to find out firsthand just how crappy prison is, after a judge ordered 49 year old Gilberto Sanchez to a year in the federal slam for uploading X-Men: Wolverine to MegaUpload before the film's release.