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Music Piracy Your Rights Online Shut Down, Founder Charged With Piracy 1005

zacharye writes "Federal prosecutors in Virginia have shut down notorious file-sharing site and charged the service's founder with violating piracy laws. The Associated Press broke the story on Thursday, reporting that the indictment accuses's owner with costing copyright holders including record labels and movie studios more than $500 million in lost revenue."
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  • But they used server located in the US.

    If you stand in Mexico and use a remote control car to rob a bank in the US, the US will come after you..and visa versa.

  • This is a bummer. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MrCrassic ( 994046 ) <<deprecated> <at> <>> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:32PM (#38753278) Journal
    On one hand, these kinds of sites have made it stupidly easy to host and download all sorts of different data, legal and illegal. It's funny how the powers that be think that shutting these guys down will curb piracy when (a) there are so many ways people can get illegal data and (b) new and more anonymous ones will pop up as the older ones fall.

    On the other hand, it's not a terribly huge loss on the material scheme of things. There are still plenty of other sites that people can use to host data, including wider-range services like Dropbox and Sugarsync. The other funny thing is that Megaupload et. al. did shut down links to any media that infringed on copyright policies, so it's scary to see how far these laws will go. I'm hoping that Dropbox and partners will not start telling people what can/can't be backed up.
  • by kiwimate ( 458274 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:33PM (#38753302) Journal

    The indictment was returned in the Eastern District of Virginia, which claimed jurisdiction in part because some of the alleged pirated materials were hosted on leased servers in Ashburn, Va.

    To play devil's advocate here: most Slashdot readers contend that music and movie industries should stop complaining and instead "adapt their business models", because their world has been irrevocably changed by technology. You could also say that that same technology has very much changed the way criminals do their dirty work, by allowing a person in one country to administer a server or hack a system on the other side of the world, and law enforcement officials need to adapt accordingly.

  • Good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ugen ( 93902 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:37PM (#38753364)

    Megaupload was one of a few (3-4) sites where a cracked copy of my software product was uploaded. They were extremely slow in responding to DMCA request and clearly had interest in continuously providing an obviously illegally obtained copy of the software (because they make money from download fees, essentially re-selling content without paying me). I don't care much for Hollywood, but I do care about software I spend 24/7/365 writing and supporting.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:37PM (#38753372)

    When is enough enough? How much more are WE going to take from "OUR" GOVERNMENT, and its agents, who are no more than sock puppets for the entertainment INDUSTRY?

    Here are the facts:
    1. Copyright is eternal
    2. There is no Public Domain except some old books
    3. No one is allowed to do anything with copyrighted works
    4. This applies world-wide (or else...)

    The Entertainment INDUSTRY can easily be put in its corner by bringing copyright terms (and all related rights) down to 20 years.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:42PM (#38753450)

    what's the name of your software?

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by raynet ( 51803 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:44PM (#38753494) Homepage

    How long it took for them to respond to your DMCA takedown letter and was the response time within what the DMCA specifies?

  • Safe Harbor (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Adrian Lopez ( 2615 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:46PM (#38753532) Homepage

    Is there some reason why the DMCA's safe harbor provisions don't apply to Megaupload, or has the Federal Government decided those provisions are too inconvenient and therefore do not apply? Will Dropbox become the US Government's next target?

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

    by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:47PM (#38753558) Homepage

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

    I don't find the support of figures who say things like this entirely welcome. It shows a great ignorance of history. Copyright is a fairly recent concept, popping up only 500 years ago and mainly limited to the West. So much of the Western canon -- the Greek and Latin classics, Dante, Chaucer, even Shakespeare, arose in a time when content creators were not compensated for each and every copy (and non-Western traditions contain further riches).

    And there was a lot of copying going on. In ancient Rome, it was common for audience members to transcribe poetry recitals, have many copies generated by amanuenses, and then sold in the marketplace with no money going back to the original author. As far as I know, the sole example of someone complaining about this was Martial in one of his epigrams [], and he only had a problem with people passing off his work as their own -- so plagiarism, not "copyright infringement". Content creation flourished without copyright, and even in recent times, when copyright was in full force, so many classic films and musical compositions were produced with a boatload of private patronage or state arts subsidies, so the ability to be paid royalties for each copy made didn't really factor into their creation.

    In order to quicken the rise of an inevitable new economy, it's better that people just say straight out that copyright is an untenable concept and not a moral universal. No more of this wishy-washy "Piracy should be fought, but this law goes too far."

  • by BlueRaja ( 1397333 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:49PM (#38753610)

    I thought there were laws protecting content distributers from being prosecuted, like why Google can't be held responsible if you email a confidential document, or if their webcrawler links to child porn; or why the phone company can't be held liable if you discuss a terrorist attack over the phone.

    Megaupload isn't required to filter the content they share unless a takedown request is made; in fact, they *can't*, since a lot of it was zip-file password-encrypted.

    What did megaupload actually do wrong here?

  • by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:55PM (#38753686)

    Megaupload is also a very good way to share large files that you have created with others, without setting up your own website. An entirely legitimate and legal use.

    What's the balance between the two? Was there a better way to reduce piracy? What unintended effects are present?

    I have downloaded many files from Megaupload and MediaFire - always files uploaded and released by the original authors, who don't want to pay to host files of multi-megabyte (often 10's of mbegabyte or more) size. I know it's an easy target, but I fail to see why this business model is necessarily 'piracy'.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:57PM (#38753738)

    That's already happened in Bolivia. The IMF insisted that they privatize their water supply and eventually it got to the point where no water in the country was legal to collect or drink unless it had been bought from the cartel that controlled it.

  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @05:57PM (#38753740) Homepage

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

    From the same industry that says every download is a lost sale?
    From the same industry that pirated and sold works they didn't have rights to? []

    > It's only good - criminals are taken to court and jail

    Alleged criminals....

    >so companies can again produce goods and software and they don't have to see the widespread piracy that is going on.

    Strange so are you saying movies, music and software would be that much more creative and better quality if there was no piracy? I mean all movies and music albums should reap in millions from every release. If they don't apparently its because the companies can't make good works because piracy is holding them back.

  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:05PM (#38753894)
    In parts of the US, it is illegal to own a water butt. States sell exclusive water catchment rights to various water companies.
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:17PM (#38754124) Homepage Journal

    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.

    Rupert says you should check your voicemail more often. Texts, too.

    Really, not an ounce of sympathy for a man who made his fortune ruining people.

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:31PM (#38754344)

    Plus, how long did megaupload take to respond to your DMCA requests on average?
    How long have other sites taken to respond?
  • by jd2112 ( 1535857 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:36PM (#38754430)

    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.

    I first saw this on fox news (link from google news, I wouldn't normally go there.) The article had so much pro-SOPA spin on it I got dizzy just reading it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:37PM (#38754434)

    I'm still too afraid to post this pseudonymously, but if they're extraditing these people I can't be much further down the list :-( I figure they already have their sights on me if they're hunting down MegaUpload's graphic designer.

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @06:50PM (#38754688) Homepage Journal

    Megaupload was not violating any copyright laws - they had a pretty solid dmca takedown procedure that was quite fast. Most of the 'pirated' stuff you would see that were uploaded were users, you wouldnt be able to see a few days later. They were good at taking down stuff.

    But they were also the biggest. this meant that for every dmca takedown, a few went unnoticed or slowly processed. aaaaaaand fast forward to this - they shut it down and charged for piracy.

    This should tell you EXACTLY what will happen when sopa passes - imagine the sheer violations of sopa law, when entire user generated content, including comments and links have to be reviewed. NO outfit on the internet will be able to do that. NO outfit. if google, microsoft, apple, rackspace, softlayer, verizon, at&t came together to do it, set up facilities covering half of texas for it and in addition and threw the echelon listening array (belongs to nato) and all its worldwide facilities at it, still they wouldnt be able to manage an effective removal of such 'infringing' stuff in acceptable time.

    even china is not able to do it with a huge budget spent on surveillance farms and - mark that - 240,000 employees employed for censoring - quite a lot of them embedded as 'users' in internet cafes and whatnot, to snitch on the users even.

    so it is certain that there is no way in hell any outfit on this planet will be able to NOT violate sopa. every outfit will live in a constant state of varying level if infringement as per sopa.

    what does that mean ? it is a sword of Damocles, hanging over the head of EVERY internet outfit and website out there. if you go out of line in ANY way against the interests of any established private party, - whoa - a sopa complaint. MUCH more effective than suing for endless durations.

    now you see why this sopa thing is useful for censorship, and why it was intended in the first place ?

    these people do not seek to profit over anything. they are making sufficient profits. they know they can make even more profits if they adapted to the internet.

    the problem of these people is CONTROL. internet is uncontrolled. it bothers them. they need the same kind of control they exercise over cable news channels, radios and whatnot. and all these shit are intended precisely for that duration.

    these people want to control you for their own minority's profit. it is no different than dictatorship or enslavement - just the facade in front is different. they are NO longer your compatriots, they are no longer your countrymen, they are no longer your country's citizens. they are your enemies. even if you dont see them as your enemy, they DO see you as their enemy and act accordingly.

    and you are playing in their home ground - as long as you keep all the game rules that allow them to control, ranging from copyright to patents, they will keep being in the advantage - for you will be playing in THEIR home.

  • by Synerg1y ( 2169962 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @07:10PM (#38755072)

    I'd love to hear how megaupload made money from piracy when uploading / downloading from the site has always been free. Only thing you'd have to pay for is if you wanted faster download speeds, irrelevant to the user generated content on the site. Megaupload couldn't exist under SOPA / PIPA laws irregardless for that reason.

    Also, I am very curious as to what they (the arrested) can / will argue. A lot of lesser arguments have been shut down by courts (ex. I didn't know it was on my server), but megaupload is a little different and unique of a RIAA/MPAA victim isn't it?

    If the above can get the US government to consider SOPA though, I don't like their chances considering lobbyists trying to buy a guilty verdict from the judge.

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Thursday January 19, 2012 @08:55PM (#38756404) Journal
    It should be pointed out that this was a business, with servers in the US - presumably with staff who had jobs. So if it turns out that this was not illegal, that's going to blow up in their face. Not everyone who is accused is actually convicted.
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Thursday January 19, 2012 @10:10PM (#38757064)

    Not everyone who is accused is actually convicted.

    True, but this is all about PR, about intimidation, about inducing fear, not about redress of any specific grievance. Everyone will remember that Megaupload got raided and their staff arrested. Nobody will remember that they got acquitted (if they do) and in any event, they're out of business for the time being.

  • by tarlong ( 446034 ) <> on Thursday January 19, 2012 @10:37PM (#38757282)

    See this is where i hit a wall. I'm from Puerto Rico, a wholly owned pawnshop of the United States of America, i mean ... a territory or colony as you will. Even after 100+ years of occupation, we still use Spanish as our main language and English as a badly spoken/written second language. I don't pirate as a rule but the media outlets seem to think that EVERYONE here speaks and understands English fluently and that our preferred second and third languages are French and Mandarin. Go figure. What happens when me and my wife wanna watch a movie or a show? To me there is no problem, i sometimes forget what language i am listening to. My wife? she could not do English even if her son's life depended on it. Zilch, zero, nada. So, I'm forced to go out to the internet and get them freaking movies or shows in Spanish, or at least have them with captions.

    You know what? I've been a customer of mega upload/video/whatever since last year and use show and movie lists sites (that direct you to uploaded stuff at megaupload/video) to see or download the movies or shows we wanna watch. She could very well learn English, yes, but that is not the point. If they have the translations done for other countries, why wont they make them available for our zone too? What, suddenly there are no Spanish only paying legal customers in the US? Come on, puertorricans living in the one of the fifty states hit the mark of around 4 million people, about half of which do not speak English as a first language and are not required to learn it due to the fact that we were born US citizens and dod not need to take an exam to make the citizenship.

    Freaking absurd. I am a criminal cuz the basically have forced me to. Yeah, i know, her not knowing English is not their fault but it is their fault that, having the freaking translations already (they translate for Spain and South America), that i need to pirate them to enjoy the show. I can also stop watching the shows, but that wont stop piracy.

    There are many who pirate just because, but many more do so because they need to or are left with unacceptable choices. I would love to pay, if i could have use for the product.

    One last thought, the USA used to be a nice place to be and live but is turning so fast into another neonazy state that I have renounced all my annexionist views and want now independence for our Island. The US federal government has run amok and is trampling everything the bill of rights and the declaration of independence have stood for these past centuries.

  • by Blahah ( 1444607 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @06:03AM (#38759166)

    If I could mod this up, I would. The indictment claims that the Mega sites (which they call the "Mega Conspiracy") is a group of sites designed to profit from the sharing of content. They they go on to say that each named "conspirator" has knowingly used the network for copyright infringement, and after being told about specific infringing files, failed to remove them. The case they are trying to establish is that the MU staff allowed infringement to continue because it profited them.

    Everyone should read the indictment summary before knee-jerking in defence of the site, it does actually look quite bad for them.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller