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Megaupload Drops Lawsuit Against Universal Music

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the on-second-thought dept.

Censorship 439

bs0d3 writes "Not so long ago, a legal video was taken down by repetitive DMCA requests to YouTube. In response, Megaupload filed a lawsuit against Universal Music. This past week, Megaupload was raided by U.S. authorities and forced offline, which is costing Megaupload millions of dollars in damage. Today; while employees are in U.S. custody, Megaupload has mysteriously dropped their lawsuit against Universal Music."

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Not Surprise for MegaUpload (5, Informative)

FreeCoder (2558096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785345)

With the ton of information about the multi-year investigation about MegaUpload and all the evidence gathered they practically have zero possibility of winning the case. They really got it handed down on them and are most likely looking for a long time in jail.

Not only did MegaUpload not delete the actual files when sent DMCA notices (but did when sent abuse letters about illegal content like child porn), they also paid the uploaders cash in exchange to send downloaders to their site. This was almost all the times used for spreading copyright infringing material and MegaUpload was notoriously known for being good site for such use. As the internal emails show they were also fully aware of this fact. It also seems like the feds are now in possession of the top affiliates on the site which most likely will lead to more arrests for criminal copyright infringement, as they made lots of money by doing it.

Also another fact: not only did MegaUpload staff know about this activity and try to get around DMCA notices and laws, they did copyright infringement themselves. For example they used to populate their MegaVideo site by downloading and adding videos from YouTube. This was also videos created by people like you, not only mega-corps. This and much more was revealed in the arrest and their internal emails.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (5, Insightful)

j35ter (895427) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785415)

But only if NZ actually extradites them. Please also note the DMCA is valid for the US only., the rest of the world (rightfully) wipe their asses with this piece of legal sh**.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (2, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785461)

Yes, but when you operate servers you have to comply with the laws in the countries you have servers. In this case Megaupload had equipment in the US and as a result falls under American law. They most certainly should be extradited as that's the only way in which it can be determined if they broke the law.

We don't do in absentia bullshit in the US like they do in some other parts of the world, so this is really the only way that it's going to be resolved. They could easily have avoided this by not having any servers in the US.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (5, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785561)

It would seem very unusual for a nation to permit extradition of a person for acts which are not in that country illegal - even if they're unquestionably illegal in the country requestion extradition. Since violating the DMCA is the foundation of all the other acts in the indictment (if there is no other crime, financial transactions cannot be money laundering; there cannot be some conspiracy to not break the law) and NZ doesn't have the DMCA it seems to me they're unlikely to grant extradition. But I could be wrong.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38785625)

>But I could be wrong.

So basically, you're just as ignorant of the actual legalities as any other slashbot yet you felt the need to grace us with a paragraph of your uninformed guesses. Thanks for sharing. We appreciate it, really.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (2)

metacell (523607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786057)

The grandparent is right in that extradition is normally not granted if the alleged act is not a crime in the country extradition is requested from.

I.e: If what they did is not illegal in New Zeeland, it's unlikely New Zeeland can extra dite them.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (5, Informative)

BlakJak-ZL1VMF (256320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785665)

Any Extradition from NZ will be under the terms of the Extradition Treaty and won't be for DMCA violations, but for other charges - such as the Money Laundering and so on which is indeed covered by the Treaty.

Some interesting reads:

Provision Warrants: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1999/0055/latest/DLM26216.html [legislation.govt.nz]
Extradition Offenses http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1999/0055/latest/DLM25681.html#DLM25681 [legislation.govt.nz]
How Extradition Request must be made http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1999/0055/latest/DLM26211.html?search=ts_act_extradition_resel&p=1#DLM26211 [legislation.govt.nz]
Minister may request warrant http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1999/0055/latest/DLM26215.html?search=ts_act_extradition_resel&p=1 [legislation.govt.nz]
The Extradition Treaty Itself http://newzealand.usembassy.gov/uploads/images/o16y8MOyHW2l-jJTxaMpeQ/ExtraditionUSNZ.pdf [usembassy.gov]

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (4, Insightful)

metacell (523607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786095)

But as the grandparent points out, the other charges are dependent on the alleged DMCA violations. If that's not a crime in New Zeeland, then the money they got from it are legal, and there's no money laundering.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785695)

Promoting copyright infringement is a crime in quite a few countries (hence one reason why MegaUpload was blocked in a few countries even before this happened). The DMCA is just a specific law that attempts to set rules for what is and isn't copyright infringement on the Internet.

Also, it depends on the exact circumstances. It doesn't necessarily have to be illegal in the extraditing country (although it usually is), but that would be determined on a case by case basis, I believe.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (5, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785917)

Promoting copyright infringement is a crime in quite a few countries (hence one reason why MegaUpload was blocked in a few countries even before this happened). The DMCA is just a specific law that attempts to set rules for US citizens for what is and isn't copyright infringement on the Internet.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (3, Insightful)

metacell (523607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786133)

Promoting copyright infringement is a crime in quite a few countries

If "promoting copyright infringement" was a crime, then all broadband providers would be shut down long ago. There needs to be a criminal intent, which is very hard to prove.

Also, it depends on the exact circumstances. It doesn't necessarily have to be illegal in the extraditing country (although it usually is), but that would be determined on a case by case basis, I believe.

It's not decided on a case-by-case basis; the extradition treaty outlines exactly which crimes may lead to extradition even if they're only criminal in the country requesting extradition.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38785867)

You may be touched in the head if you believe "Dotcom" is unlikely to be extradited.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (0)

FreeCoder (2558096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785595)

Exactly correct. It's funny that people always point out that The Pirate Bay and other torrent sites are hosted in Sweden and therefore it's Swedish law that applies to them, but now it's somehow different when they hosted in the US. On top of that they also worked with US companies, and as another point, usually these sites pay more for US visitors than for example visitors from China or Russia (as they make more revenue). This clearly shows intent target US persons.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (2)

SecurityTheatre (2427858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785715)

Just because you have a customer (even a preferred customer) in a given country, doesn't mean you must be subject to that country's laws.

That's silly.

You can absolutely be prevented from doing business in that country, but you cannot be arrested for violating that country's laws if you do not commit crimes there

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785747)

It's not silly at all, they've been arrested for activities connected with operations in the US. Any criminal activities that they've allegedly committed with those servers represent criminal activities in the US.

It would be a completely different matter if the servers were all outside the US as they wouldn't have any control over the location of the people downloading from those servers.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786023)

No, not having servers in the USA would probably not make any difference. The USA wants them arrested, they will find a way.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786071)

"It's funny that people always point out that The Pirate Bay and other torrent sites are hosted in Sweden and therefore it's Swedish law that applies to them"

The operators of said sites are also located in Sweden so it isn't exactly analogous.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (4, Insightful)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785777)

Why is this even a criminal case? Why not leave it to the civil courts. When the music industry was ripping off artists in Canada, all that happened was a settlement. No people were arrested and extradited.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785819)

Because you can't extradite people over civil matters and you can't confiscate property on foreign soil to cover the award.

In this case though, the money laundering and other charges are pretty much always going to be felonies. And apparently if you distribute one or more work worth $1 000 or more during a 180 day period you're committing a felony. I don't agree with it, but that is what the law says.

Considering that nobody forced them to locate a server in the US, I'm not sure whom they can reasonably blame other than themselves. It remains to be seen whether the allegations lead to any convictions, but the US certainly does have the right to try them for those felonies.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (3, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786129)

"In this case though, the money laundering and other charges are pretty much always going to be felonies."

But its only money laundering if the first place if the civil copyright issues are treated as criminal issues. You can't 'launder' money that didn't come from criminal activities, even if that money was supposedly made from an activity which gave you civil liability.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785865)

Why is this even a criminal case? Why not leave it to the civil courts. When the music industry was ripping off artists in Canada, all that happened was a settlement. No people were arrested and extradited.

Exactly.
In almost no other case does the US government get involved in protecting private property to the extent they rush in and protect the music and film industry. Have your patent ripped off, or your house broken into, they won't even listen to you. Its up to you to defend your patent at your own expense, and you can file a police report about the burglary, but you will likely never see your property again.

Why is the US government acting as a mob enforcer for the Media Giants?

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786083)

Money...

It's who you know and how much you can pay them.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786145)

They pay better than the people... and even if they didn't, whatever they do pay is pure gravy. Also, try getting elected to a government office when the media cartels cut you off, news, radio and television are all part of the same cabal with movies and music.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38785889)

Yes, but when you operate servers you have to comply with the laws in the countries you have servers. In this case Megaupload had equipment in the US and as a result falls under American law.

Nonsense. They also have servers in the Netherlands, so why does it fall under American law and not Dutch?

USA *might* claim jurisdiction in this case because the *victim* of the alleged crime is an American corporation. However, that depends on where the alleged crime is viewed as taking place. If the New Zeeland courts decide the alleged crime took place in the country where the company was based, not the country where the servers were situated, they should be tried according to New Zeeland law. And in that case, there's little that the USA can (legally) do.

They most certainly should be extradited as that's the only way in which it can be determined if they broke the law.

"Only" way? Do you believe the United States is the only country in the world with competent police and due process? If they stay on New Zeeland, I trust they'll receive just as fair a trial as they'd receive in the United States.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (1)

FreeCoder (2558096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785933)

Nonsense. They also have servers in the Netherlands, so why does it fall under American law and not Dutch?

Depending on Netherlands laws, I guess it might. Do you want them to be prosecuted in both USA and Netherlands?

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786105)

This will be an interesting precedent if they extradite someone for a civil violation. Extradition is generally for things like capital murder and significant money laundering operations, not copyright violation.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786109)

If a US citizen had a server in China and shared copyrighted content on it I guarantee you US authorities would prosecute them in the US. So I call BS.

At the end of the day its just whatever argument serves the interests of the copyright cartel and that is almost always persecution in the US.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (2, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785521)

But only if NZ actually extradites them. Please also note the DMCA is valid for the US only., the rest of the world (rightfully) wipe their asses with this piece of legal sh**.

Hah... you're silly because you think that the US seems to accept that their laws don't apply universally. Most of the US government seems to be of the attitude that if it's on the internets, then it's US jurisdiction.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38785601)

And most of the world's governments agree with them.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (3, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785659)

And most of the world's governments agree with them.

Oh... :( you made me sad.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (2)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785575)

But only if NZ actually extradites them. Please also note the DMCA is valid for the US only., the rest of the world (rightfully) wipe their asses with this piece of legal sh**.

New Zealand has extradition treaties with the United States. So does most of the "rest of the world".

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (4, Insightful)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785579)

For all the nerd-rage it caused at the time, the DMCA was a remarkably balanced and far-sighted law. Some other nations have copied it, and others haven't, I don't know if NZ has such a law or not, but it doesn't matter much - the MegaUpload guys are also accused of plain old copyright infringement, which is certainly illegal under laws and treaties NZ has signed.

Oh, and they're also accused of money laundering, which again would be considered an extraditable crime. I don't personally pay much attention to accusations of money laundering because those laws are extremely vague, poorly thought out and there's no distinction between actually hiding the sources of illegally gained funds and simply failing to follow the byzantine regulations intended to make value flows trackable - they are both considered "money laundering", although plenty of innocent people with no criminal intentions can fall foul of the latter. As a result convictions purely for ML and nothing else are very rare and have often been overturned by courts. That's one reason it usually comes attached to accusations of other crimes.

Re: the DMCA. Like I said, in hindsight I think it's actually worked out very well for the net. The lightweight framework of copyright enforcement it created kept huge workloads away from the courts without creating unworkable levels of abuse (there is some, but there's abuse of the regular legal system too). It has made copyright enforcement available to the little guy, again without huge legal fees. It has protected sites like YouTube and search engines. And whilst measures like making circumvention systems illegal caused a lot of fuss, their impact was trivial - last time I checked this part of the law has neither prevented circumvention software being readily available nor wiped out Linux. In fact its impact on both sides of the copyright fights have been negligible.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785703)

The part of the DCMA that you mention is not the part that I object to - it is the lack of ability to crack encryption that gets folks around here riled up.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (3, Interesting)

SecurityTheatre (2427858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785771)

The only flaw with the DMCA is the ability for the content owners to use infringement notices with impunity. There needs to be a provision to allow content sites such as YouTube to start ignoring abusive notices.

The simple fact that a DMCA notice is submitted automatically causes content to be removed immediately and subject to lengthy proceedings regarding the rights of that content.

Various members of the RIAA have been notorious in submitting DMCA takedown letters for content that is very clearly covered by things such as fair use and sometimes even for content they don't even remotely have the rights to. But the creative individuals creating these parodies, or even original material, have limited recourse and the recourse they do have is time-consuming, difficult and sometimes expensive, not to mention it destroys their business (if the content is related to a business).

There is little argument for a business conglomerate having the power to shut down smaller competitors for a short period by simply writing a letter.... and for there to be no recourse for these smaller competitors from it happening repeatedly other than lengthy legal arguments and possibly litigation. That's absurd and anti-competitive.

But the remainder of the DMCA... yes, not bad, not great, but not bad.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (3, Interesting)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785871)

There is a provision its just not enforced. Whenever someone files a false DMCA claim they are guilty of perjury (which carreis a 5 year jail term). So when Viacom went after YouTubers who were covered by the fair use provisions, Viacom committed perjury, but nobody pressed charges against Viacom. If people used MPAA and RIAA content that were strictly under fair use (and lets face it, they do it all the time) somebody needs to charge them, not sue (as they drag it out) but proceed in criminal charges (which legal work is done by the prosecutor) against these organisations. That way you could see Dodd go to jail.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (2, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786053)

Who are you going to jail? Do you pierce the corporate veil and order the person that signed off on it? They'll just point to their boss who ordered them to do it or they'd be fired. If you say they shouldn't have complied, there's 10,000 people waiting just outside the building to fill in their position when they get fired. If you go for the boss they'll point to their boss, right up to the CEO who simply gave the vague order to profit.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785901)

The lightweight framework of copyright enforcement it created kept huge workloads away from the courts without creating unworkable levels of abuse

Lightweight framework of enforcement? You mean like having the entire DOJ work for the media giants leaning on every country in the world to violate their own laws and arrest people and surrender them to US authorities?

  No unworkable levels of abuse? You mean like millions of take down notices filed every day against thing that have no pirated content what so ever, beyond simply mentioning a word in the title?

Tell me, what hole have you had your head in for the last 5 years?

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (0)

bfandreas (603438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785963)

Given Kim Schmitz was involved I wouldn't be surprised if the money laundering accusation stuck. He is a convicted fraudster and deemed unfit to run a business in Germany.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Schmitz [wikipedia.org] The lawyer he hired has just dropped the case.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_S._Bennett [wikipedia.org]

Here's to hoping Kim Schmitz is going down for good. I don't want that turd to surface in sight anymore.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786045)

"last time I checked this part of the law has neither prevented circumvention software being readily available"

Please show me a US based vendor for software which allows ripping my purchased BluRay or DVD media. Better yet, show me a ripping service, like moondogdigital, for DVDs and BluRays so that I don't have to spend months ripping my personal collection of several hundred discs.

its not a piece of legal shit (0, Flamebait)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785627)

DMCA provided a mechanism for people to complain about copyright problems to the site owners in a reasonable and calm fashion. in the 'rest of the world', there is the rule of the fist, and copyright violations mean nothing - which by the way, means the GPL means nothing, because its entire existence is based on copyright law.

the only people who complain about the 'draconian DMCA' are fucktards who never actually create or build anything themselves.

Re:its not a piece of legal shit (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785729)

the only people who complain about the 'draconian DMCA' are fucktards who never actually create or build anything themselves.

Actually, they usually are objecting to the criminalization of hacking encryption schemes.... that is the part that gives the whole law a "piece of legal shit" rap.

which has absolutely 0 to do with megaupload, (5, Informative)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785815)

or with pirate bay, or with any of these other sites.

beyond that, when Geohotz and failoverflow got attacked by Sony for jailbreaking the PS3, he was accsed of the following:

Violating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. 1201)
Violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(2)(c))
Contributory copyright infringement (17 U.S.C. 501)
Violating California Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act ( 502)
Breach of Contract (related to the PlayStation Network User Agreement)
Tortious interference
Misappropriation
Trespass

----

the Computer Fraud and Abuse act is far worse - its what they are using against Bradley Manning, its what they used against Thomas Drake, its basically criminalizing 'anything we dont like, when done on a computer'.

but since it has almost nothing to do with some 25 year old man-childs ability to download free copies of Transformers 8, the moronic fat assholes of the warez-o-sphere dont give a shit about it, and they wouldnt dream of writing endless tirades against the CFAA or its provisions.

Re:its not a piece of legal shit (4, Informative)

SecurityTheatre (2427858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785781)

This is not true. The DMCA has a few flaws.

As I posted previously..

The simple fact that a DMCA notice is submitted automatically causes content to be removed immediately and subject to lengthy proceedings regarding the rights of that content.

Various members of the RIAA have been notorious in submitting DMCA takedown letters for content that is very clearly covered by things such as fair use and sometimes even for content they don't even remotely have the rights to. But the creative individuals creating these parodies, or even original material, have limited recourse and the recourse they do have is time-consuming, difficult and sometimes expensive, not to mention it destroys their business (if the content is related to a business).

There is little argument for a business conglomerate having the power to shut down smaller competitors for a short period by simply writing a letter.... and for there to be no recourse for these smaller competitors from it happening repeatedly other than lengthy legal arguments and possibly litigation. That's absurd and anti-competitive.

But the remainder of the DMCA... well, it's not terrible, but I'm not sure it accomplishes a ton either. Going after kids on YouTube seems to be the greatest use of it and repeated studies have shown it doesn't help (and may hurt) their business model and revenues.

They will come gift wraped. (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785727)

NZ won't have any problem extraditing them.
General piracy and making a profit of it are two very different things here.

Combined with the fact dotcom was let in despite his criminal convictions making the government look bad.
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1201/S00059/peters-calls-for-dotcom-immigration-inquiry.htm [scoop.co.nz]

We might have been sympathetic if he was making a small profit off file sharing but its a more than that and its little embarrassing hes in the country.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38785517)

No one gives a shit what you say. :)

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (4, Interesting)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785605)

Not only did MegaUpload not delete the actual files when sent DMCA notices (but did when sent abuse letters about illegal content like child porn)

This is not necessary. If you read the DMCA it is enough to simply remove *access* to the content.

This was almost all the times used for spreading copyright infringing material and MegaUpload was notoriously known for being good site for such use.

The Internet is notoriously known for being a good method of transporting such material. What is your point? I've used megaupload many times over the years but never to download movies or cracked software.

As the internal emails show they were also fully aware of this fact.

This is problematic...

not only did MegaUpload staff know about this activity and try to get around DMCA notices and laws, they did copyright infringement themselves

Very problematic...

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (1)

FreeCoder (2558096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785677)

Not only did MegaUpload not delete the actual files when sent DMCA notices (but did when sent abuse letters about illegal content like child porn)

This is not necessary. If you read the DMCA it is enough to simply remove *access* to the content.

However, it matters because MegaUpload used hashes on all the files and if someone uploaded the same file again, they only made a new reference to it. At the same time when they got DMCA notice they didn't remove all the urls associated with the file, but only the one that received the notice. That clearly shows intent of keeping as many copies of the file online while only removing the one that has been detected by the copyright owner. Even more problematic is the fact that they did have this system in place because they did it for files such as child porn. But because copyrighted content was such a major income stream for them, they tried to get away with it in that special case.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (0)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785899)

Not only did MegaUpload not delete the actual files when sent DMCA notices (but did when sent abuse letters about illegal content like child porn)

This is not necessary. If you read the DMCA it is enough to simply remove *access* to the content.

The trouble is in what constitutes removing access. There are documented cases where MegaUpload had multiple URIs pointing at the file, they used a form of dedupe if you will. When they got a complaint about the file, they only removed the URI in the complaint, when they knew or reasonably could have known they were still making the same content available on another part of their site.

As much as I hate to argue on behalf of the syndicate, I think one could honestly interpret that as not complying with the DMCA, especially because a complaining content owner no simple way to know there exist many links to their same supposed IP elsewhere on MegaUpload.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (4, Insightful)

Pseudonym (62607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786055)

When they got a complaint about the file, they only removed the URI in the complaint, when they knew or reasonably could have known they were still making the same content available on another part of their site.

Child pornography is illegal, in the sense that nobody is legally allowed to have it or distribute it. Copyrighted material, on the other hand, isn't inherently illegal. Just because one person is not legally allowed to distribute a copy doesn't mean that nobody else is. Nor is this hypothetical, given the number of musicians who are noting that they distribute their own work via Megaupload.

That's not to say that those who ran Megaupload didn't deliberately bend and/or break the law. Just that this, taken by itself, is arguably neither illegal nor morally wrong.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38785623)

RE the removal of the file.

Mega upload used a hashing function so if a file was uploaded 5 times, they only stored it once. When CP was flagged the file is removed because CP is always CP. Copyright however is only a violation when the person uploading it does not have authority to do this. EG if I make a song and upload it, and you upload it too. Then I can send a DMCA to take down your upload, with the expectation that mine will be the only one there.

Here is the kicker, we aren't talking about hypothetical or edge cases here. Artists were uploading their own tracks since they would get 90c in the dollar of the advertising revenue: http://rapfix.mtv.com/2012/01/20/swizz-beatz-megaupload-case-diddy-busta-rhymes-tweet-support/

If you want to know why big media hated megaupload so much re read that link. Artists were by-passing their publishers. Add to that the announcement of licensed media streaming and purchases being available on megaupload from February, and you can see why action had to be be done swiftly before hand.

Cheers
Kactus

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (2)

FreeCoder (2558096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785759)

Then why did their internal emails show that they were fully aware of the copyright violations? From the indictment [scribd.com] :

r.

On or about February 5, 2007, VAN DER KOLK sent an e-mail to ORTMANN entitled âoereward paymentsâ. Attached to the e-mail was a text file listing thefollowing proposed reward amounts, the Megaupload.com username, and the contentthey uploaded:

100 USD [USERNAME DELETED] 10+ Full popular DVD rips (split files), a fewsmall porn movies, some software with keygenerators (warez)
100 USD [USERNAME DELETED] 5845 files in his account, mainly Vietnamesecontent
100 USD [USERNAME DELETED] Popular DVD rips
100 USD [USERNAME DELETED] Some older DVD rips + unknown (Italianserries?) rar files
1500 USD [USERNAME DELETED] known paid user (vietnamese content)

On or about February 21, 2007, VAN DER KOLK sent an e-mail toORTMANN entitled âoe2 reward payment files.â Attached to the e-mail was a file containingMegaupload.com usersâ(TM) e-mail addresses and reward payments for that time period, whichranged from $100 to $500. For one user that was paid $300, VAN DER KOLK wrote, âoe30849files, mainly Mp3z, some copyrighted but most of them have a very small number of downloadsper file.â For other users, all of which were selected for reward payments of $100 by the MegaConspiracy, he wrote the following: âoeOur old famous number one on MU, still some illegal files but I think he deserves a paymentâ; âoeLoads of PDF files (looks like scanned magazines)â; âoelookslike vietnamese DVD ripsâ; âoeThis user was paid last time has mainly split RAR files, howevermore than 50% deleted through abuse reports.â

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (0)

synoniem (512936) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785709)

I see you repeating this message from a earlier thread. Looking at your arguments makes me wonder who is paying you to repeat this message over and over again?

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38785721)

First, let's not confuse the recent raid with MegaUploads lawsuit against Universal. Universal took down MegaUpload's advertising video from YouTube by abusing YouTube's system for DMCA takedows. When faced with the fact that MegaUpload's ad contained no infringing material, Universal turned around and denied that it was a DMCA takedown. Clearly, Universal does not want to take responsibility for its actions.

Second, MegaUpload is right to keep the actual files when being sent DMCA takedown notices, since some of the copies may belong to non-infringing users. In many countries, it's legal to download and share media files for private use. Contrary to what the American media corporations want us to believe, American law does not decide what a Swedish user can do when they upload files to a Dutch server owned by a New Zeeland company. Their greedy corporations have no right to delete my perfectly legal files, just because an American user happened to upload the same files illegally.

Third, the internal e-mails mentioned in the news so far only prove that MegaUpload knew about the existence of infringing material on their servers. They cooperated fully with the media corporations to delete the infringing links as they were made aware of them (while keeping he non-infringing links, as they should).

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (0)

FreeCoder (2558096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785975)

First, let's not confuse the recent raid with MegaUploads lawsuit against Universal. Universal took down MegaUpload's advertising video from YouTube by abusing YouTube's system for DMCA takedows. When faced with the fact that MegaUpload's ad contained no infringing material, Universal turned around and denied that it was a DMCA takedown. Clearly, Universal does not want to take responsibility for its actions.

And since it was a deal between YouTube and Universal, there was no DMCA laws involved. If the deal included Universal's ability to remove any file they wish, so be it. If not, it's to be resolved between YouTube and Universal. Not that I like that deal, but regarding to law, there is nothing wrong being done.

Re:Not Surprise for MegaUpload (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786147)

They really got it handed down on them and are most likely looking for a large fine way less than what they made

There fixed that for you.

Extortion by UMG? (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785357)

It wouldn't be surprising for that be the case.

Re:Extortion by UMG? (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785405)

Certainly not. They only bribe governments.

Not Censorship! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38785393)

I love how slashdot chose to classify this megaupload story as "censorship". How about putting this in the piracy section?

The definition of censorship is so warped around here. There are troubling aspects to this case, but the blatant bias and advocacy is not needed.

Re:Not Censorship! (3, Informative)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785503)

I love how slashdot chose to classify this megaupload story as "censorship". How about putting this in the piracy section?

Because the original legal case was about censorship. That megauploads was also engaged in piracy and such is besides the point. UMG used YouTubes tools to take down a video supporting megauploads without proper due process or anything like that. It was totally about "censorship" (in the wider notion beyond just governments chilling free speech).

Re:Not Censorship! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38785769)

Because the original legal case was about censorship.

Only in the eyes of misguided fucktards like yourself Princess. The original legal case was about illegal use of the DMCA to take down material. It had nothing to do with "censorship" nor "free speech", despite what you and the tinfoil hat brigade may like to think. Why don't you leave the legal and technical discussions to the men who know what they are talking about instead of getting your pretty little head confused about such basic concepts?

BTW, shouldn't you be in the kitchen baking?

Re:Not Censorship! (5, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785913)

Because the original legal case was about censorship.

Only in the eyes of misguided fucktards like yourself Princess. The original legal case was about illegal use of the DMCA to take down material. It had nothing to do with "censorship" nor "free speech", despite what you and the tinfoil hat brigade may like to think. Why don't you leave the legal and technical discussions to the men who know what they are talking about instead of getting your pretty little head confused about such basic concepts?

BTW, shouldn't you be in the kitchen baking?

Oh see, it's funny, because it's intentionally sexist. Now, ignoring all the sexist bullshit, because it's just not worth getting into, because it's a total tangent to the real issues at matter...

Illegal use of the DMCA is considered a form of censorship in colloquial speech. I noted in my post that it wasn't about "pure" censorship, which is a government making specific speech illegal. However, it is colloquial censorship in that it is someone blocking access to someone else's content with or without legal authority.

Also, the original filing of the suit commented that it were an abuse of the DMCA, but Universal Music Group the original defendant in the case, pointed out that not only were they not actually responsible for the offending action, (it was UMG which is a subsidiary company of Universal Music Group, but not jointly-liable) but as well, it wasn't even an abuse of the DMCA, as UMG was making use of the tools that they were granted access to by contract with YouTube, that allowed UMG to bypass even the DMCA process. Thus, the whole situation was chalked up to, "YouTube granted UMG that access, and the only injured party in this abuse of tools provided was YouTube, and thus MegaUpload has no valid standing to file suit in the first place in a breach of contract between UMG and YouTube."

But getting back to the point, colloquially "censorship" is used by the general public, and in this case the slashdot categories to refer to anything where a non-first-party effects the removal of speech of another person without their consent. But you know, enforcing legal definitions of words on an informal forum such as slashdot seems like a way much better idea than using the same jargon, dialect and register as the audience of that forum.

Re:Not Censorship! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786059)

Are you fucking stupid or do you just not know how to read and thus are going off the recollections of fucking stupid people and what they told you about the case? Because when you abuse DMCA take downs to take down videos that have simply have no infringing content whatsoever because you don't like what they are saying, that is basically censorship. I don't expect a retard to understand though, so it's okay if you just act like it's not in your next reply.

balls (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786099)

princess. balls. leaving aside the fact that using a female adjective/noun as if it was some derogatory word is beyond STUPID itself, even in the sick framework you are using you are lacking the balls to post with an identity yourself.

using dmca to take down content that is distasteful/damaging against one's interests over the usage of the trademarked names or similar beyond-fair-use concepts and ip is censorship.

You are ignorant. (5, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785511)

Megaupload paid to create a video promoting/defending their site and posted it on YouTube. Universal Music (who had no legal claim to the video) abused the take-down agreement they had with Google (and possibly the DMCA) to pull this video off of YouTube simply because they didn't like it. That is a cut-and-dry case of censorship if I have ever heard it.

If the information in the indictment is true then Megaupload is guilty of copyright infringement and should be held accountable for it. However, Universal Music should also be held accountable for their abuses of the law.

Re:You are ignorant. (0)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785947)

Universal Music should also be held accountable for their abuses of the law.

Which has nothing to do with censorship. Why is that so hard for people to understand? One party lying about something someone else did isn't censorship. The government didn't, as a matter of policy because of the content, take down the video. That would have been censorship. Instead, a content-agnostic law was (so it's said) mis-used by a third party for their own purposes. That's not censorship. You not being able to post the comment you just posted, because it violates a speech policy set by the government, that's censorship. Nobody is saying that the DMCA's provisions and purpose were to block a video like the one taken down. But for some reason that doesn't stop people from reflexively using the word "censorship" (incorrectly) just like they constantly say "OMG Fascists!" without any sort of rational context or understanding of what the word means.

Yes it is (4, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786067)

No, it isn't a first amendment violation, but it is censorship. The word and concept has never been limited to the government. Universal Studios used their power to censor what Megaupload had to say, and anytime those with power use it to silence other it is a big problem, not just when the government does so.

Re:You are ignorant. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786117)

i dont know whether you are joking or not.

- megaupload puts a video on youtube which shows um as what they are
- um has takedown agreements with google
- um complains of the video
- um has no legal rights to that video
- google takes down the video

this is ABUSE. again, this is, ABUSE. using roundabout wordage does not make it what it is not. it is still abuse.

Re:You are ignorant. (0)

FreeCoder (2558096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786015)

Please note that the YouTube+Universal deal is between them. It has nothing to do with law or censorship. If YouTube gives Universal the ability to delete videos at whim, so be it. You have freedom of speech, but no private company needs to provide you the platform to do it. If you want to blame somebody, blame YouTube (and Google) for giving them such a tool.

Re:Not Censorship! (0)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785791)

I love how slashdot chose to classify this megaupload story as "censorship". How about putting this in the piracy section?

The definition of censorship is so warped around here. There are troubling aspects to this case, but the blatant bias and advocacy is not needed.

"Censorship" around here is often defined as "My guy can't continue to say or do whatever the hell he likes", very often in cases where it has nothing to do with speech in the constitutional sense at all. If someone can't raise funding for an anti-RIAA documentary, then that's censorship. If an activist can't legally be allowed to hack onto someone's website and change the homepage, that's censorship. In short, if "my side can't get away with it", that's censorship.

Re:Not Censorship! (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786079)

But bringing down websites from companies and organizations you don't like isn't censorship.

And justice for all. (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785433)

Why would that be a surprise? Backroom deals (settlements) are the norm in the justice system, and taking stuff to court was the last resort. Obviously, there is some negotiations about a deal in the background, and obviously the Megaupload people are not in the better position to negotiate. Was it ever different?

Re:And justice for all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38785673)

The only one who can offer a deal is the prosecution. If dropping the settlement was part of negotiating a deal then it has to make you wonder who Universal has in their pocket to make that happen. And no, they shouldn't have a special voice to dictate terms in a federal case, that's a horrible precedent to set if it were true. What ultimately led to the dropping of the case is likely the defense picking which battles are worth fighting for, diverting money from a case that would be hindered by this federal indictment so as to keep their asses out of jail for a substantial period is a survival call on their part.

Re:And justice for all. (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785835)

has to make you wonder who Universal has in their pocket to make that happen

Hollywood was and still is the most powerful propaganda weapon that the US government has at its disposal. What makes you think they can make their voice herd only by paying money?

Re:And justice for all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38785957)

So what you're saying is that we should all invest in tinfoil stocks. How much do you pay per yard?

Re:And justice for all. (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786127)

Is that a Futurama reference of some sort? I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I have not yet memorized the series, so I'm not quite sure what is your point.

Re:And justice for all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38785983)

But why do we only hear about one side dropping the case?

Re:And justice for all. (2)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786115)

Because the other side still has their business running, their executives free, their bank accounts unfrozen, the US government firmly behind their backs, and a US senator threatening his colleagues on their behalf?

Their lawyers will have better things to do. (2)

chrissandvick (844662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785449)

No mystery. Would you want your legal attention divided in a case like this? Suing UMG is a distraction for these guys trying to stay out of jail.

Filesonic next in line? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38785469)

Message from their site:

"All sharing functionality on FileSonic is now disabled. Our service can only be used to upload and retrieve files that you have uploaded personally.

If this file belongs to you, please login to download it directly from your file manager."

Raided or just scared?

A link in the article (5, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785483)

A link in this article goes to a rather thoughtful discussion of the MegaUpload indictment [techdirt.com] . To tell it short, although the indictment sounds bad, almost none of the alleged activities are in fact illegal. The few that are require "state of mind" which is a rather difficult thing to prove, and harder to get a jury to convict on.

Since in America we have trial by jury, if it goes to court it seems unlikely there will be able to find a jury willing to convict.

Together that seems to make the whole thing very scary.

Re:A link in the article (5, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785585)

Since in America we have trial by jury, if it goes to court it seems unlikely there will be able to find a jury willing to convict.

Ahhahahahhaaha... when you've got juries willing to convict people to $1.5-2 million in damages [wikipedia.org] for sharing 24 files as a plain normal P2P user, then the Megaupload guys will be lucky to not see the death penalty.

Re:A link in the article (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785615)

That was a civil suit, not a criminal trial. The rules are different.

Re:A link in the article (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785827)

With the attention SOPA got, it may also be that the tide is turning on copyright infringement and the purchasing of government organizations for enforcement.

Re:A link in the article (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785609)

There are many, many cases where there is not enough evidence by legal 'standards' to convict, but the only really legal 'standard' required to convict is to convince a jury, regardless of any real facts. That often comes down to how much money you can spend on experts. Of course, for the common man who cannot afford expensive lawyers and experts, the choice is, risk a jury and possibly get years upon years, -or- take a plea bargain and get your ass to prison.

Re:A link in the article (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786025)

What are you talking about? Read the very first page of the indictment. Notice the five charges and the exact law that each violates. The activities are illegal.

Second, look at the bottom of the page. Notice how it says 'THE GRAND JURY CHARGES'. A jury, drawn from the same people who would make up a trial jury, have already determined laws were broken and there is sufficient evidence to bring the case to trial. I don't know where you get the 'unable to find a jury willing to convict' BS from. Just wishful thinking maybe.

Not in US custody (5, Informative)

drmofe (523606) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785577)

Employees are not yet in US custody. They are currently being held by New Zealand authorities (in court as I type this) pending extradition hearings. The extradition is not automatic and is being contested.

Let the vilification begin.. (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785645)

Te MegaUpload take down, not quite carefully timed to give Congress some balls regarding SOPA, is likely to become a circus act of the most grandiose proportions.

Not only did the Feds seize a foreign company, but they did so in the face of several SCOTUS decisions that held harmless the operators of sites that might contain user uploaded content which might violate copyright, in addition to billions of files that did no such thing.

With the government forced withdrawal of Megaupload's attorney Robert Bennett [nationalpost.com] , citing rather insincere claims of conflict of interest, and the Justice department seizing a Foreign company [npr.org] this is far from the normal pattern for these cases. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Chinese government step into the fray any day now.

When the dust clears on this battle there will be some major revelations about how much pressure the DOJ used all over the world to affect this arrest and take down. Eight countries, big and small like New Zealand were leaned on to act, for largely theatrical effect as SOPA goes down to public pressure. The timing couldn't be accidental. But the DOJ miss timed it by three days, and their case is far from certain.

I predict this will drag out for a long time.

Re:Let the vilification begin.. (1)

terrab0t (559047) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786107)

You can spin this story the other way. If the traditional media industry in the US managed to have a foreign company seized using current laws, they obviously have no need of new ones like SOPA and PIPA.

hahaha indeed (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38786135)

But the DOJ miss timed it by three days

they mistimed it with 3 days havent they ...... it was apparently a means to give sopa a boost. and yet not only it missed the bus, it will have the opposite effect.

This is good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38785717)

The rise in web based (advert laden) file sharing was annoying, and seemed to coincide with a lull period in P2P network development.

Clearing away this junk will drive the evolution of P2P networks which are cryptographically addressed (ala Tor).

Re:This is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38786049)

There are adverts on the internet? I bet you still have javascript enabled on all sites by default too!

There is no conspiracy (2)

eonwing (934274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785723)

Nothing to see here, move along. Gawkers will be shot.

Megaupload is dead! Long live Megaupload! (1)

Ben_R_R (1177533) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785773)

Megaupload's mistakes will be used to guide the next round of similar websites. There will be sites that will rise up and fill the hole left in the market, and they wont be so easy to catch next time.

Re:Megaupload is dead! Long live Megaupload! (1)

bfandreas (603438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785909)

For one: never do business with Kim Schmitz.

That man symbolizes dot.com bubble profiteering like no other fraudster.
Not to ripoff your download client software without changing the about box which still contains the name of the original company that developed it.
Not to have a "premium service".
Not to buy a huge villa with money that came from god knows where. (hence the money laundering allegations)

Megaupload was the fat kid that didn't only piss into the pool but also shat into it.

The real bummer is that they still had that false DMCA takedown and the international copyright extortion racket of **AA going against them. So we also need to protest their closure. Even if everything about that racket was rotten.

F*ck with American Corporations (2, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785807)

... And the American governments Fs you in the A.

Re:F*ck with American Corporations (2)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785993)

By which you mean, "Run hundreds of servers in the US in order to support your criminal business model of ripping off material and making millions of dollars doing it, and eventually it's going to end badly for you, because you're a leeching idiot that is loudly, deliberately, and hugely breaking the law, and boasting about it."

Kim Schmitz goes down and we should be glad for it (4, Informative)

bfandreas (603438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38785951)

Enough with the Megaupload.

Kim Schmitz is a German serial fraudster and wouldn't be allowed to open a business in Germany again. The "millions of damages" are a stately home in NZ with a ton of expensive cars, a golf course and of course Schmitz' globulous ego. This is not the fight you want to fight. If that scumbag gets sent back to prison then that's good. He knows the drill. He'll feel right at home. Only this time he will not get probation and a 100000 Euro fine for making 1.5 mil in fraud.

He's been convicted for a pump&dump racket involving his company Kimvestor and letsbuyit.com. Made a cool 1.5 mil on that. Then there was that thing with monkey.com. And with Megaupload there was that Mega Manager that was a ripoff of some other software(forgot the name), the "premium service" and other highly shady things he did from his golf-course attached villa in NZ that he wasn't allowed to purchase himself because he didn't pass a most basic character test.

there was that Mega Upload song thing that was unjustified. Copyright law still needs reform. There is the problem of US caliming jurisdiction in NZ, but frankly NZ gladly handed him over since he shouldn't have been there in the first place.

Kindness in Action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38785997)

A lot of people forget the kindness of our Big Brother. He cares for us in ways we cannot even imagine. We must be ever grateful for his kind diligence on our behalf.

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