All the fire and brimstone rhetoric following the MegaUpload shutdown makes it seem like there was no legitimate use for the site. Despite that image, thousands of users were using MegaUpload to store and share their own files, which have now been lost. In response, Pirate Parties in several countries are putting together a list of affected users in preparation for a lawsuit against the FBI.
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.
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.
The saga of MegaUpload’s promotional music video just keeps getting weirder. Universal Music Group (UMG) had the video pulled last week, claiming that MegaUpload didn’t have the rights necessary to publish it. The file host begs to differ, and had the video reinstated. The disagreement has been heating up and made its way to the courts. UMG’s newest legal filing with the courts makes some confusing claims, including that it can remove content from YouTube even if it doesn’t own the copyright.
File host Mega Upload is taking no prisoners in its war of words with Universal Music Group. The site produced a music video of sorts with various well-known musicians affirming their support for the service. Universal wasted no time in filing a DMCA takedown saying that MegaUpload didn’t have the necessary rights to post the video. After a little back and forth, MegaUpload is taking things to court.
RIAA and MPAA are pulling out all the stops to suck the life out of file sharing sites like Megaupload and Rapidshare. Initially, they pinned their hopes on the contentious Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), a bill that seeks to prevent credit card companies and payment processors from rendering their services to sites actively associated with infringing activities.
But with COICA effectively lying dead in the water ever since it was blocked by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the powerful trade organizations have turned their focus to goading payment processors, ISPs and, ad networks into abandoning sites that aid piracy.
In a statement sent to ZeroPaid, Megaupload stressed that it’s actually “a legitimate business operating within the boundaries of the law” that has never been sued for copyright infringement. The company also downplayed the financial value of its relationship with MasterCard, even suggesting that should the credit card company cease payment processing for the popular file sharing site, “they will have a problem not us.”
Megaupload made it very clear that it isn’t too pleased with MasterCard’s activist zeal: “Are payment processors trying to become the legislature of the new decade? Will it be them, rather than elected governments, who decide what’s right and what’s wrong? Will ballots be replaced by wallets, will people cast their votes by choosing a conservative or a liberal credit card? First WikiLeaks, then cyberlockers – what’s next, and where will it end? Will you no longer be able to settle your ISP bill by MasterCard, as your carrier of choice may profit from copyright infringement?”