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Megaupload.com Shut Down, Founder Charged With Piracy

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:23PM (#38753130)

    Anybody surprised by this story must be new here. File Lockers like MP3.com have been shut down regularly for ages now. You can't have an online database of content that isn't secured right...

  • by alphatel (1450715) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:24PM (#38753142)
    Most will confuse this with a SOPA action, which will make it that much easier to hype.
  • right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:24PM (#38753146) Homepage Journal

    "holders including record labels and movie studios more than $500 million in lost revenue."
    my ass.

  • Dick Morris (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:25PM (#38753156)

    It almost comes off as intentional that this occurred the day after the SOPA protests. It looks like the battles over copyright infringement are finally coming to a head. This will all get resolved one way or another.

    Dick Morris is a former Clinton advisor and a regular Fox News commentator, but he actually wrote what I think is a rational, well-worded message about everything that's been happening:

    ---

    Dear Friend,

    The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is just the kind of bill that could cripple Internet freedom in the name of a good cause. Everybody agrees that we need to battle online piracy of movies, books, TV shows and such. If piracy spreads, nobody will create anything because their work will be pirated as soon as it is finished.

    But...this legislation, with its draconian enforcement powers, uses an atomic bomb to solve a problem best left to educated action by responsible individuals and normal litigation. The collateral damage from this bill could destroy Internet freedom.

    The bill would let the Justice Department and copyright holders to get court orders against websites they accuse of enabling or encouraging copyright infringement. It could stop search engines from linking to such sites and require service providers to block access to them.

    It should be called the Camel's Nose In the Tent Act (CNITA). It would criminalize the Internet and make search engines the enforcers of copyright laws. It opens the tent to federal regulation and judicial activism that could drive search engines and internet service providers into bankruptcy through excessive court judgments and liability.

    There is a remedy: Public education. None of us wants to kill off artistic creation. Each of us realizes that by abusing the system to get the goodies for free, we risk eliminating the goodies. We don't litter because we don't want to ruin our environment. We don't run red lights because we don't want traffic chaos. We wear seatbelts because we want to live. Law enforcement plays a role, but the greater influence is an educated public.

    Copyright infringers can't make it if we don't buy it. Consumers need to realize that we will kill the golden goose if we steal his eggs! The way to regulate the internet is to use it sensibly and wisely and not to let Congress and the Justice Department in the door.

    Thanks,

    Dick Morris

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:27PM (#38753182)

    SOPA might as well be called iDMCA because it basically takes the DMCA Takedown system to an international level. (I.E. If a TLD won't take down a piracy site, ban the whole TLD from the US Internet.) Maybe what we should trade for that is a punitive damages clause added for incorrect DMCA letters.

  • by dkathrens77 (1090745) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:27PM (#38753190)
    The timing of this move is surely intended to send a message to anyone who opposes SOPA/PIPA. And that light to the free world, the USA has made it clear "we don't need no steenkin laws"
  • by JaZz0r (612364) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:27PM (#38753192)
    The People expressed their opinion about SOPA/PIPA. The Government responds with a resounding, "We don't give a shit."
  • by iONiUM (530420) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:27PM (#38753200) Homepage Journal

    Looks strangely familiar [upup-downdown.com].

    In seriousness, why isn't this all over the news? Why just SOPA?

  • Fuck RIAA/MPAA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by esocid (946821) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:28PM (#38753206) Journal
    The $500 million figure is based on speculation by the MAFIAA. Looks like we didn't even have to wait for SOPA/PIPA. It's already here.

    I also don't understand how they got the Netherlands to raid their servers...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:28PM (#38753208)

    ...when corrupt laws don't get passed, or even do get passed.
    Not as if they care, they will deal with the backlash later.
    This will get worse if SOPA or anything like it passes.

    I can't wait for the media industry to collapse. Maybe then content creators will realize they don't need the shit labels.

    See you on Tor everybody. It is the only safe place now, but only if everyone gets in on it.
    Hope the media companies love helping terrorism get even more secure, because that is all this will do as they push more and more people to encrypted networks.
    Oh, wait, that won't be a problem, FBI will just get those backdoors and have control of millions of nodes for free.
    Time to blackhole America. Bye.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:28PM (#38753216)

    All that with the money he made from piracy.

    Or by running a useful business. Come on, they have an advertisement with a bunch of artists about how useful their site is for their work. Some people using Google to find unauthorized files doesn't mean Schmidt's money is "made from piracy".

  • Something fishy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shentino (1139071) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:28PM (#38753220)

    Interesting that megaupload got nailed so soon after they tried to fight back against UMG's frivolous youtube takedown.

    I smell a rat and suspect someone's trying to avoid giving megaupload an edge in their lawsuit.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:29PM (#38753228)
    There should not be "sites" to shut down; the Internet was designed to be P2P and should be P2P. Unfortunately, we failed to develop P2P networking to the same extent that we developed the web, so now we are vulnerable to this sort of thing.
  • Re:right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:29PM (#38753230)

    I was actually surprised by that figure. It actually seems low given the people who came up with it.

    Considering the past history of ludicrously high damage claims and the huge amount of infringing content they probably actually have, I figured they'd be making up new words to describe the number they came up with...

  • by DickBreath (207180) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:31PM (#38753270) Homepage
    If they can shut down Megaupload without SOPA, then why do they need SOPA again?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:31PM (#38753274)

    Actually, this is a good argument for why we don't need SOPA/PIPA.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:33PM (#38753290)
    How dare people drink their tap water! After all, how are bottled water companies expected to turn a profit when people can just turn a knob on their faucet and get water on their own?
  • by Skarecrow77 (1714214) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:33PM (#38753298)

    and people think Ron Paul is the crazy one for wanting America's fingers out of other country's pies.

    This sort of thing is going to spark widespread international hatred for the United States. No, not the general dislike that many countries have for us now, but honest-to-god hatred. Look what good things came out of that situation in the mideast.

  • by sirlark (1676276) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:33PM (#38753300)
    Tell that to my ISP, who won't let me run a 'server' as part of my terms and conditions...
  • by icebraining (1313345) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:33PM (#38753306) Homepage

    Such software exists: it's called Bittorrent.

  • So.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bishop923 (109840) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:33PM (#38753312)

    If they can do this, why do they need SOPA again?

  • by poity (465672) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:34PM (#38753314)

    Before anyone gets voted up to the stratosphere or down to oblivion here, we should remind ourselves that there is no way to tell how legitimately or illegitimately he made his money until a breakdown of his income is published.

  • by Bovius (1243040) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:34PM (#38753316)

    With SOPA, they can take your site down if you link to (or, presumably, mention) megaupload.com. Think about that one for a minute.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:34PM (#38753318)

    I'm just glad it doesn't work the other way around. I could put swastikas all over my website on some server in Germany, confident that the FBI would laugh at Germany if they tried to have an American citizen arrested and deported.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:35PM (#38753336)
    Exactly. I have used services like that to move large files between offices. There are plenty of legitimate uses for sites like these. These bastards should be forced to go after the uploaders. But they are too damn lazy, and know damn well there is no payday at the end, and not from common sense, but from EXPERIENCE.
  • by Gavin Scott (15916) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:35PM (#38753350)

    $500M? That's like, what, one .mp3 file these days?

    G.

  • by Oakey (311319) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:38PM (#38753378)

    "All that with the money he made from piracy."

    When will the FBI shutting down all those US based Usenet providers offering high speeds and 1000 day retention on binaries? No one is honestly paying $10-$40 a month for text articles, are they?

  • by parlancex (1322105) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:38PM (#38753386)
    The goal of SOPA is to make everyone guilty. Not everyone will be prosecuted, but once everyone is guilty selective prosecution can be used at the discretion of those who wish to silence any unwanted criticism, opposing viewpoints, etc.
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:40PM (#38753408) Homepage Journal

    Actually, this is a good argument for why we don't need SOPA/PIPA.

    My thinking exactly.

    Present laws should be shown to fail before new laws, which are effectively wrecking balls to swat mosquitos, are enacted.

    Timing is certainly insteresting. Is this meant to underscore that point? Could be...

  • by demonbug (309515) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:41PM (#38753424) Journal

    The People expressed their opinion about SOPA/PIPA. The Government responds with a resounding, "We don't give a shit."

    This has nothing to do with SOPA, beyond showing that the government doesn't need it in order to take down (alleged) pirates in other countries. If anything this is the government throwing a bone to the (pissed off) media industry, saying look - we can get these guys without crippling the internet.

  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:42PM (#38753438)

    With SOPA, they can take your site down if you link to (or, presumably, mention) megaupload.com. Think about that one for a minute.

    Exactly, or even worse, SOPA lets them take your site down if one of your user-generated comments mentions of links to megaupload.com. Remember when it was popular to post the bluray key (if I'm remembering this correctly) on slashdot to spite Sony? Those posts are still accessible. There's no reason Sony couldn't or wouldn't use SOPA to shut down Slashdot. And hey, Google caches those posts, too!

  • by VAElynx (2001046) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:42PM (#38753440)
    A man that made his money off "piracy" is any day more likeable than those who make equivalent sums by exploiting workers. Nobody seems to complain in those cases, though.
  • Re:right. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Oakey (311319) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:42PM (#38753448)

    Well this is the same industry that can't even make a profit from massive Blockbusters like Star Wars and Forrest Gump. I mean, every film released is just a huge unprofitable loss after unprofitable loss which is why people like David Prowse and Winston Groom have yet to see their share of the profits. It honestly makes you wonder why Hollywood bothers making films when a film that costs £55million to make and takes in $657million in sales still makes a $64million loss.

    I think Hollywood has bigger things to worry about than piracy, like maximising profits as any legitimate business would.

  • by shentino (1139071) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:42PM (#38753462)

    Sadly, if bottled water companies had enough lobbying power this would probably be a viable reality.

    Time and time again big business has proven that it will do whatever it can get away with to make money, and ethical and sometimes even legal impediments prove to be no real obstacle.

  • by Bishop923 (109840) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:42PM (#38753464)

    MPAA Parenting Tip:

    If your dog makes a mess on the floor, remember to punish your children for feeding him.

  • by mister_playboy (1474163) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:46PM (#38753534)

    It's also been "industry" standard to know that Megaupload is very nice for piracy uploaders.

    Megaupload is very nice for downloaders. Unlike most other sites, you were not able to make money by uploading to MU. It was the generous downloading limts that made the site popular.

    MU had unrivalled file retention for a free service. Even when uploading as a free user, files were retained for years, even without any downloads. It's fully possible to find working MU links posted in 2005. The only thing they removed files for was a DMCA takedown. If there was a limit or the files you could upload to a free account, I never hit it. Other sites did not offer anything similar unless you paid for preimum membership.

    Kim make have been a crook, but MU itself was the bastion of free filesharing in the P2P mould from a user standpoint, whereas nearly every other site except Mediafire is based on commerical (payouts to uploaders) filesharing.

    A sad day. Back to the torrents!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:46PM (#38753536)

    Not sure if this comment was meant tongue in cheek - perhaps not - it has been modded as Insightful! The bottled water people don't own the water moving through your tap (faucet). How can they legitimately claim to have rights over it. They can't.

    At its base level downloading a movie from Megaupload that was produced by a studio that has not given the rights for it to be put there is stealing. Stealing is a crime. You can tart it up and scream "freedom of the internet", information must be free, oh aren't we so oppressed! Whenever I hear that I hear instead "I'm too tight to purchase it".

    Megaupload have no system in place to stop people uploading material they don't own. Simple as that. They would still be in business today if they did.

  • by shentino (1139071) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:46PM (#38753544)

    "We don't give a shit" would be them passing it anyway.

    This is far closer to "how DARE you stand up to us!"

    This is not apathy, this is retaliation for contempt of our corporate overlords.

  • by poity (465672) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:47PM (#38753556)

    I'm not calling for his income to be published. I'm saying in the absence of their site statistics and their income breakdown, neither FightFreedomOfSpeach nor the AC who responded to his post can prove their assertions. One claims his money is made illegitimately, the other claims the opposite. What I'm seeing is moderator reaction favoring the AC and punishing FightFreedomOfSpeach in an instance where all we have is speculation. I'm for a neutral stance until facts emerge, and because of that I'm against this one sided moderation. Why are you so defensive?

  • Re:Dick Morris (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:48PM (#38753592)

    If piracy spreads, nobody will create anything because their work will be pirated as soon as it is finished.

    OK, so how about we all agree we will only "pirate" it 20 years after it's released? Might as well make that the legal limit, too instead of "add 2 decades, every 1.9 decades, rinse, repeat".

  • by bonch (38532) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:50PM (#38753614)

    Not a valid comparison, as bottled water companies can't claim ownership over tap water coming out of your faucet, and in fact, you pay the water company for that service.

  • Next, YouTube (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Animats (122034) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:51PM (#38753626) Homepage

    Youtube may be next. Once they started putting ads on pirated content, they became an active participant.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:53PM (#38753672)
    We pay for Internet service, and the RIAA/MPAA do not claim ownership over your bandwidth. We do not punish people for drinking their tap water, even though bottled water companies exist specifically to sell drinking water. Every fluid ounce of tap water that you drink is a fluid ounce you did not pay a bottled water company to drink.

    The only difference is that right now, nobody has a concept of "drinkingrights" but we do have a concept of "copyrights."
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:55PM (#38753690)

    There is no god, and Ron Paul would not tolerate piracy any more than any other crime.

    What we're talking about is a new way of life for the human race, where IP is actually open and accessible for all, at very little cost, if not free of any cost.

    Rapid duplication of digital content, easily shared, for free, for the benefit of humanity... this is the future, and no law will stop it, and if it ever does, we have stopped the evolutionary process of our species.

    Our way of lives have to change. Capitalism has no place in the future. Do you think aliens will respect our dollar? :P Our species knows where it has to go... Its a wonder why we fight against progress for selfish needs.

  • by niado (1650369) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:57PM (#38753732)

    Illegally copying/viewing/enjoying copyrighted content is not stealing, by any widely accepted definition of "stealing". Violating copyright is illegal in many jurisdictions, and it could very well be considered wrong (depending on your personal morals) but it is not theft.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:59PM (#38753778)

    Apples and oranges. The bottled water companies didn't invent water. The media companies did make the media you're pirating. If you don't want to buy their product, there are plenty of alternatives. You can buy indie music, some of which is freely distributed. You can watch free OTA television. You can read a book from the library. And so on.

    Taking something without paying just because you can is selfish and wrong.

  • by tekrat (242117) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:00PM (#38753806) Homepage Journal

    And what about the legitmate content that Megaupload was holding? No mention of that by the media... Nope, shut down, no trial, no jury, just executioner.

    Isn't that nice?

    That's like taking down Flickr because some of the photos are copyrighted... Of course, those photos are worth a billion dollars (wink,wink), so it's perfectly OK then to inconvenience the other 34 million people who had legitimate stuff on the site.

    If any of you were hosting legitimate material on Megaupload, and you've now lost access, I suggest immediately filing class action against the government.

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:03PM (#38753858)

    So a useful service was destroyed, several peoples lives have been shackled, and you software is still available on the net freely somewhere. What was good about this again?

  • Re:Dick Morris (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fned (43219) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:05PM (#38753892) Journal

    Everybody agrees that we need to battle online piracy of movies, books, TV shows and such. If piracy spreads, nobody will create anything because their work will be pirated as soon as it is finished.

    That's rational and well-worded? I disagree. It's boldly irrational, arrogant, and false.

    Movies, books, TV shows, and music all are still operating on a business model that depends wholly on copies being worth something. But copies of data inside computers AREN'T worth something. They are worth nothing, they have no intrinsic value at all.

    Access to the work has value. The creation of the work has value. But copies no longer have value. So bascially we have whole industries that are trying to pay for valuable things by selling their customers something valueless. Econ 101: this is a stupid idea.

    Don't get me wrong, it didn't used to be a stupid idea. It used to be a GREAT idea. But then computers got smart enough and connected enough to make copies of common media worthless, and as if by magic it became a stupid idea, almost overnight. It will remain a stupid idea until the computers aren't smart enough and aren't connected enough.

    Shit like SOPA is not some sort of accident on the road to trying to prop up this broken business model; it's an inevitable side effect of trying to create a chimeric beast called "intellectual property". It's what happens when you try to force the limitations of physical copies onto a virtual object, inevitably fail to do so in a technical way, and are left with no recourse but draconian measures to prevent people from doing the obvious. It's what happens when you try to apply copright-as-written to computers: it breaks the computers.

    Copyright needs to change. Business models need to change. If they don't, running arbitrary code will become a crime, and countries with digital freedom will leave the rest of us scrabbling in the dust.

  • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:07PM (#38753928) Homepage
    It'll all be in the spin.

    Murdoch* et al. will point at it as, "See! This kind of thing is killing American business!"

    The other side will say, "Doh. You used what legal muscle you already had, which is already abusive."

    * If you didn't see him squirm on Twitter yesterday, you're missing out.
  • by Sancho (17056) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:08PM (#38753964) Homepage

    I think the "failure" is that the shutdown and arrest couldn't be done without due process. SOPA/PIPA eliminates a great deal of due process for the initial shutdown.

    Just consider how long megaupload's been around. If one could just mail a letter to their DNS provider to get it shut down, you can bet it would have happened long ago.

  • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by future assassin (639396) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:09PM (#38753980) Homepage

    >Would you be content if your labors were simply taken with no recompense or permission from you?

    If it was making my software the de-facto software and piracy gave me a market penetration I'd write it off as advertising. Just like Photoshop and Windows.

  • by JustSomeProgrammer (1881750) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:11PM (#38754006)
    How is a man who makes money off of "piracy" not also someone who exploits workers since he doesn't give money to anyone who worked to make that content?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:13PM (#38754054)

    No, we think Ron Paul is crazy for believing in intelligent design, for voting to defund Planned Parenthood, for supporting a Constitutional Amendment defining a fetus as a human being, and many other things; none of which involve fingers or pies.

  • by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:18PM (#38754134) Homepage

    Before anyone gets voted up to the stratosphere or down to oblivion here, we should remind ourselves that there is no way to tell how legitimately or illegitimately he made his money until a breakdown of his income is published.

    Illegally as defined by whom exactly? Printing an image of Mohamed is illegal in Iran. Should we extradite all US offenders to Iran? Most people outside of the US don't see sharing files as illegal in the same way. As a US citizen, I'm appalled and disgusted. How many people were killed by Megaupload? How many made to starve? This is a sickening abuse of power in the name of corporate profits.

  • by misexistentialist (1537887) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:18PM (#38754148)

    Taking something without paying just because you can is selfish and wrong.

    Once again: copying isn't "taking".

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:27PM (#38754254)

    It is a very good argument why people outside the US should still care about SOPA/PIPA.

  • Re:Dick Morris (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:28PM (#38754272)

    > If piracy spreads, nobody will create anything because their work will be pirated as soon as it is finished.

    Good lord I am so sick of this kind of statement. I have spent the last 15 years putting original and substantial works of art, prose, music, film and code on the internet intentionally for it to be stolen, kept, traded, shared and enjoyed. I have a day job programming so I don't care about the money. I am happy to make stuff for the people, have an audience, and get feedback on my work and see it used in contexts I could not dream of.

    And I am not alone.

  • by gnick (1211984) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:28PM (#38754288) Homepage

    Hardly a fair comparison - Stealing water from the bottling company deprives the company of water that they paid for. This is more like a canned air company that pulls air (in this case literally) out of the air and cans it. And then suing you for breathing what they could have otherwise canned and sold to you resulting in a "lost sale."

    The only real difference (albeit a big one) is that music/movies/games have to be created before being distributed. It's illegal copying or piracy, not theft as the company is deprived of nothing other than a potential or more likely imaginary lost sale.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:39PM (#38754486)

    It's a better argument for why we don't need the USA.

  • by genjix (959457) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @07:03PM (#38754922)

    Do not stand for this flagrant abuse of our farcical democracy!

    Megaupload has been forcibly closed by the FBI. In a sickening undermining of the people’s will, they are making an example out of an historic, legitimate, useful and well-known website. This is a prophetic glimmer of the coming war against pure free speech- the internet.

    This happened once before. Here in the UK, the IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) is a censoring system for the internet. In 1996, the Metropolitan Police started requesting the banning of illegal content by ISPs in the UK. With veiled sly threats they asked that ISPs engage in ‘self-enforcement’ rather than forcing them to enforce the law on them.

    Most of the ISPs complied except Demon internet. Demon was a British ISP that contributed to the Open Source community, ran several IRC servers and were pioneers of their time. They objected on the grounds of it being “unacceptable censorship”. A few days later, a tabloid expose appeared in the Observer newspaper alleging that the director of Demon was supplying paedophiles with photographs of children being sexually abused.

    Then the police let it be known that during that summer, they were planning a crack-down on an unspecified ISP as a test-case (translation: making an example of them). Between the threats and pressure, the IWF was formed- a supposedly voluntary organisation but in fact a fake-charity and a quango. The IWF is a disgraceful secretive group with an awful corrupt history and no public oversight.

    Now we see the same tactic has been used against Megaupload. They are using the threat of violence to coerce companies, how the British police did to create their own laws. The SOPA legislation did not go their way, so they have resulted to immoral tactics of repression.

    From ACTA which is decided behind closed European chambers, the DEA which was pushed through undemocratically at alarming speed before elections, evil La Hadopi and now SOPA/PIPA in the US, there is nowhere to run. The nepotists are determined to push through these legislation. At all costs. This is not about piracy- it never was and will not do a thing. It is about control.

    We have built a tool. For all their false talk of democracy we have for the first time in history reached this epochal moment. Self determination. If they truly believed in democracy, we could have a direct-democracy tomorrow. The tools exist. Instead we see this flagrant deception. It has become acceptable for politicians to cater to the greatest common denominator. We let them off the hook on the truth like Cameron pretending to be pro-NHS or Obama pretending to be Christian because it is for voters. Since when did it become acceptable to lie! Now today we see this limp-wristed hand wringing by the US president about how he will veto SOPA. Oh shut up.

    Was it Gordan Brown who said that voting levels were dangerously low in the below-30s because youngsters today are apolitical. He wanted mandatory attendance for voters. No, we are not apolitical, we are sick of your lies and deceit. This generation is probably more political than any generation in history. In the 80s, only 5% of people in the US were members of organisations. In the 90s, 70% of Americans belonged to some kind of organisation. People are mobilising and prescient of issues.

    Libel law is atrociously bad in the UK. Payouts are 10 times greater than in main-land Europe and you get a situation where billionaires use law firms like Carter-Ruck to keep news publishers (which are poor) in court and bleed them dry. Time magazine did an undercover piece of reporting and was sued for libel. They won the case but it ended up costing them $1 million. That’s effectively a fine of $1 million for undercover journalism.

    Of course when the law is broken, what do we do? Make more laws! That is why California has brought in anti-SLAPP legislation.

    Patent law is so stupid and I won’t even go there.

    Copyright is fascist. I find it revolting that

  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @07:29PM (#38755358)
    If no one can prove either way, isn't he innocent until proven guilty?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @07:45PM (#38755582)

    Previous similar sites (Napster, Kazaa) have been handled through civil cases. Why a criminal case for this one? Megaupload was a very different site than Napster/Kazaa/mp3.com, and it is not at all clear under current law that megaupload is illegal.

    Megaupload is a file locker service that has many legal uses purposes. Should a landlord be liable when a tenant infringes copyrights? Then why should a file locker provider be liable when a user uses the service to infringe copyright?

    If this is the law of the land, then the founders of the next youtube will be locked up and thrown in jail before their site can ever take off. Of course, that may be what the RIAA/MPAA are shooting for.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @07:51PM (#38755666)

    I think the timing had less to do with SOPA, and more to do with last month's brou-haha over Megaupload's yanked video on youtube.

    After the judge slapped down Universal Music(?) and said they can't censor ads just because they don't like them, the lawyers probably called the politicians and threatened not to fund their upcoming 2012 campaigns. The politicians called Justice Department and demanded action.

    Thus action happened. And megaupload was shutdown. And now Universal is celebrating with glee because they' lost the initial battle, but won the war.

  • by Cederic (9623) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @08:32PM (#38756144) Journal

    I'm pretty sure that this wasn't simply a case of the United States throwing it's weight around.

    I'm pretty sure it was.

    (Slashdot: It's 13 seconds since you hit reply. Yes, that's because I'm not typing out an entire fucking essay and even after a bottle of vodka I can type five fucking words in under a minute. Come on Slashdot editors, fix this shit.)

  • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @08:51PM (#38756368)

    I strongly agree, that, if especially, megauploads owners have been arrested due to material that users of the site had uploaded, this is a very ominous sign, really. If this is so, it will mean that it will be basically impossible to run a user generated content service such as youtube in the USA. it is impossible for site owners to police their sites, to arrest people for what others out of their control have done really brings us to a new letter of fascist insanity and is deeplyu worrying and concerning, it is clearly an outright attack on free speech in the US and will make operating any kind of site that allows for free speech, legitimate content, virtually impossible, as it would take only one illegal post which site owners have no way of being able to prevent, to give the feds a pretext to carry out their gestapo type sweep.

    We should all be very concerned and worried about this ominous and dark development.

    It seems like they are already trying to enforce SOPA before it has even been passed.

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @10:18PM (#38757114)

    Speaking of one of those "people" I can say that it isn't so much a matter of not "caring" about SOPA/PIPA, it's more a matter of having not a whole lot we can do about it. Seriously, what is the advice given to US citizens who care? "Contact your congresscritter". Unfortunately, those of us in the Rest Of The World don't get to have one of those. We *could* bitch to our own government about how we disapprove of some not-yet-passed legislation that's being debated by a foreign government, but I'll let you take a guess how much effect that's going to have.

    Actually, there's nothing preventing you from sending emails, written letters or phoning our Congresspeople. It's apparent to me (as an American) that Congress still has this U.S.-centric attitude towards the Internet, and I believe that needs to change, quickly. Hearing from a fifty or sixty million thoroughly incensed foreigners might very well be a good first step. Yeah, okay, we started the Internet ball rolling almost forty years ago, but this baby has gone global now. Time for Congress to accept that fact, and stop threatening to corrupt a piece of Internet infrastructure (e.g., the DNS root servers) that the economies of many other nations are now dependent.

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @10:26PM (#38757172)

    It's a better argument for why we don't need the USA.

    Comments like that serve no purpose. Citizens of this country are up in arms about what our government (at the behest of certain large foreign corporations, I might add: Sony and several European media outfits can take most of the heat for SOPA, after all, they paid for it.) wants to do with these stupid laws. If you want us to continue to fight to respect you and the freedoms you currently enjoy on the Internet (whatever your own government permits you in that regard, if anything) you should show a little respect in return.

    And you got a +5 Insightful for that. Remarkable.

  • by BrianH (13460) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @10:57PM (#38757420)

    The position of the U.S. government is that these are foreign nationals operating a criminal enterprise within the United States. From a legal standpoint, it's no different than issuing warrants for foreign drug kingpins who ship drugs to the United States. They're not prosecuting foreigners for their actions overseas, but they are charging foreigners for the actions they are initiating within the borders of the United States itself.

    Osama bin Laden never set foot in the U.S. either. We still had arrest warrants out for him, even before 9/11, for acts of terrorism he initiated on U.S. soil (the '93 WTC attack) and on foreign U.S. locations (embassies, Khobar, etc). While we're talking about two vastly different types of crime, the legal principle behind the charges is the same. If you direct criminal actions within the United States from a foreign location, you become subject to U.S. law because you are committing activities within the country.

    By placing a datacenter within the borders of the United States, MegaUpload's management placed itself within the jurisdiction of U.S. law for any actions occurring within that datacenter. This isn't a purely U.S. thing either...pretty much every country on the planet recognizes this same legal principle. When you choose to operate a business within a nation, you are also making a choice to subject yourself to that nations laws.

    There's only one way around this that I know of, and that's to insulate via foreign subsidiaries. Many multinational corps use subsidiaries to avoid this exact problem. In Megaupload's case, I don't see how they could have fit that into their business model.

    If there's one lesson to take away from all of this, it's simply that you should check a nations laws before opening up a business there. If something is legal in your home country, and illegal in the country next door, it's probably a BAD IDEA to start opening offices in the neighboring country. MegaUpload was stupid to open a datacenter in the United States, the MPAA/RIAA's home turf.

  • by BrianH (13460) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @11:08PM (#38757494)

    It occurred to me that demonstrating the NEED for SOPA might be the point of this entire exercise. Megaupload unquestionably aided piracy, but it was also a legitimate business that had millions of legitimate users. The owner and operators of the site may be able to convince a judge or jury that the primary purpose of the site was NOT piracy, but was simply incidental to the operation of that type of service. If they can convince the judges in their home countries of that, they won't be extradited. If they can convince U.S. juries of that, they won't be convicted. In order to prosecute these guys, the U.S. will have to prove that piracy was the primary reason for the sites existence, and that could be tough to do. They still have a pretty decent shot at walking away from this.

    And if they get off, you can bet the halls of Congress will echo with, "See, we DO NEED SOPA! Our laws are obviously inadequate if we can't even shut down a pirate site like Megaupload!"

    That may the plan, after all.

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @11:39PM (#38757690) Journal
    And in the meantime they won't be competing with the record labels, connecting direct to artists and paying 90% like they proposed. [torrentfreak.com] Which is what this seems to be about.
  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <(mojo) (at) (world3.net)> on Friday January 20, 2012 @12:37AM (#38757958) Homepage

    As a US citizen you are responsible for your country's actions. You need to fix your democracy. The US is a haven for these scum because you let them buy your politicians.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Friday January 20, 2012 @12:59AM (#38758072)

    I, too, would like to know - but I can understand why he wouldn't want to reveal that (in any of his posts to date).

    I don't think he would be branded an 'enemy of the people', however.

    It's just that any follow-up discussion is far more likely to be used to attack him in these comments than it is to sympathize or offer genuine assistance.

    Let's say he did mention the product's name and its name was NetCommand (if a product with that name exists it's coincidental.. he has mention his product has to do with IP (the networking variant) and server vs desktop stuff, and the name works).

    The very first thing people will do is figure out what NetCommand is, and suggest that it's not worth the money he's asking anyway. Whether that's $1 or $100.
    Next come alternatives that are free (as in beer and/or speech).
    Next come links to other sites where the cracked copy is and telling him "See how much good your DMCA request has done in curtailing its piracy? Doing it is just a waste of your time and money".
    Then come the friendly suggestions on how he should just offer incentives to those who do buy it. Features not available to the pirates (at least until a few days later when the new pirated copy is released). Access to a support forum (which he probably can't staff and personally I know I get more support from random forums than official forums any time of day - so that's pointless anyway). Make his money instead with contract work and charge big for that (but maybe there's very little interest in that). Make his money by selling merchandise (because who doesn't want the NetCommand mug, right?). Suggest that he needs to find something else to do if he wants money because clearly his trade is dead and he needs to just accept it.

    That of course alongside out-of-the-behind figures on how much money he has already made and that he shouldn't whine and moan about supposedly 'lost' sales - he's rich already. And the pirates wouldn't have purchased anyway.

    etc. etc.

    Unfortunately, the flip side is that he doesn't mention the name of the product and so he gets modded down (because hey, where's the proof?) and the AC who wants to know the name (whether genuinely curious or just looking to incite exactly the kind of 'debate' I sketched above) gets modded up.

    All in all, however, he stands far more to lose in revealing the name than in not revealing it. So his karma may get dented - big deal, better than people parading around after pummeling his product into the ground.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2012 @02:50AM (#38758482)

    Why a criminal case?

    he pissed off the media mafia. And was going to work to directly connect artists with their customers. cutting the media mafia out of their cut.

    that's a big deal. can't be allowed to happen. so the media dons got their buttbuddies in the department of justice and law enforcement to go after him directly.

    Problem solved.

  • by hitmark (640295) on Friday January 20, 2012 @03:08AM (#38758522) Journal

    Hiding money, eh? Reminds me that a certain actor has not been payed for a couple of movies because the studio is using accounting tricks to hide their profits. Sometimes i wonder if not organized crime is the more honest of the bunch.

  • by Xest (935314) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:36AM (#38759038)

    "I strongly agree, that, if especially, megauploads owners have been arrested due to material that users of the site had uploaded, this is a very ominous sign"

    It's worse than this, this is a bunch of non-US citizens, situated outside America, running a business from Hong Kong, having their international domain names hijacked.

    Worse, MegaUpload is even used by some businesses, I know a handful of companies first hand, but I suspect there are thousands, who use it as a method to distribute large, legitimate files.

    This goes beyond any US action that has ever happened before as the US in this case has effectively just shut down a legitimate foreign business that it simply does not like, and has had arrested everyone who works at that business.

    This can now only be resolved by the following two things:
    - Countries must start ignoring US requests for arrest of their citizens where the crime has happened outside the US and/or is not illegal in the country of arrest

    - The US must lose all control of the internet, it must now be internationally controlled by something like the ITU where majority consensus is needed globally for this kind of thing to be possible such that no single country or small group of countries can impose their will on the rest of the internet

    America is now effectively just unilaterally deciding which businesses are allowed to do business on the internet, and the worst part, foreign sovereign nations are allowing it to happen.

  • by Old Wolf (56093) on Friday January 20, 2012 @06:42AM (#38759330)

    As a New Zealander I'd really like to know why our taxpayer money is being spent on enforcing U.S. laws

  • by misexistentialist (1537887) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:42AM (#38760952)
    An indictment that makes up a sensational name for the defendant is a joke. Proving that the operators made money and knew that there were illegal uses of the service is like proving gun manufacturers make money and know that guns are used in stickups.
  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:56PM (#38767306) Homepage Journal

    Do you think it's somehow anti-democratic to have a police force?

    It shouldn't be, but it is. Break in to a tavern and steal a few cartons of cigarettes and some booze, and it's almost certain that they'll track you down somehow. But break into my house and you're almost certain to get away scott free. How is that democratic?

    When I was young, somewhere between 25 and 30, my home was broken into and my killer stereo I brought back from Asia when I was in the USAF was stolen, along with all my records. I found out later from a cop I knew that they caught the guy, but let him go when he Judased on a dope dealer, and they even let him keep my stuff!! That''s democracy? If you're not a businessman, the police will NOT help you. And I say that as someone who has been a crime victim many times in my six decades; not once has the perp ever paid, and not once have I ever gotten any stolen goods back.

    Having a police force shouldn't be anti-democratic, but it is. It's not that mob rule is good, it's that classism is bad. When they start writing respectable laws, I'll respect the law (I used to in my naive youth).

    This is what you ask for; you are fortunate that other, more grown-up people still think that this sort of lynch mob is a bad idea, and will fight it on your behalf.

    I think someone said that to George Washington and Ben Franklin, too.

    Alas that is not going to cause the under 30s to re-engage with voting.

    You can vote for a Republican who is for the marijuana laws, PIPA, DMCA, long copyrights, and Gitmo, or you can vote for a Democrat who is for the marijuana laws, PIPA, DMCA, long copyrights, and Gitmo, or you can vote for someone the media refuses to discuss, making it impossible for them to win. And you think we have a democracy? Our two party system is twice as good as the communist one party system! Or... actually, we only have the Republicrats. Or is it the Demublicans? Not much difference between either one. Both are corrupt to the core.

    Ah, youth... if there's one thing I miss about being young, it's being naive.

"Never give in. Never give in. Never. Never. Never." -- Winston Churchill

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