By Bill Wilson
After an outpouring of opposition by millions of Internet users and
tens of thousands of websites against the “Stop Online Piracy Act”
(SOPA) and the “Protect Intellectual Property Act” (PIPA) in the House
and Senate, congressional proponents of the bills have delayed votes on
That is not stopping the Obama Administration, however, which has
been acting as if the proposals have already been passed. The most
recent example is the shutdown of Megaupload.com, a web-based data
storage company that boasted over 150 million users, by the Justice
Department and New Zealand law enforcement officials.
According to the indictment,
the company was accused of facilitating the distribution of pirated
movies, television shows, music, and other copyrighted material.
Allegedly, the company refused to process Digital Millennium Copyright
Act takedown requests, and falsely told copyright owners materials had
been removed when members of the company took steps to keep the pirated
material on their servers.
Finally, according to the indictment, the company allegedly “made
payments to uploaders who were known to have uploaded infringing copies
of copyrighted works” and that members of the company itself were
uploading infringing works.
If true, the members of the company would certainly be in a lot of
trouble. However, this case has broader implications that should be
Over 150 million users worldwide — millions of whom were premium
subscribers — have lost access to their data files. By some estimates,
there were over 8 billion files stored on Megaupload, just a fraction
of which contained infringing material according to the indictment,
which only claims that “many millions” of the files were infringing.
Like many alleged criminal enterprises, Megaupload carried on several
legitimate business dealings.
So, whether the company is guilty or not, Megaupload had millions of
users who were using its servers for legitimate purposes — and they’ve
just had their data seized without cause.
Get full story here.