Megaupload shutdown has once again renewed piracy debate. Meanwhile its founder and owner Dotcom’s bail may take time
SOPA may not have been passed yet, but the US justice department is already rushing to implement it. The Justice Department has shut down the popular content sharing website Megaupload.com which allowed users to upload and then share content with other people.
The DoJ said that the site took pirating content to a new level of criminality, asking users to post pirated content on the website in return for money. The department also alleged that the site had earned $175 million in subscription fees from users, while depriving content companies of $500 million in pirated content.
Some of the charges leveled against megaupload and its founders are somewhat besides the point. According the DoJ one of the main wrongdoings of megauploadâ€™s founders is that they used the revenue to fund a lavish lifestyle. Officials of the department said they had gone much beyond shutting down the site, they had actually confiscated the cars of the companies. The seized cars included dozens of luxury vehicles, including a Rolls Royce belonging to founder Kim Schmitz with the number plate reading â€œGODâ€.
The debate between content providers and freedom on the net advocates is only going to grow hotter with this latest episode. Activists for net freedom, which includes companies like Wikipedia, which took down its website for 24 hours in protest of the SOPA, say that the laws Congress is discussing was written not to stop piracy but to penalize rivals of content companies.
The draconian laws asks service providers like Youtube, Facebook, Google and many others to constantly monitor content that they display. The law makes the websites themselves responsible for content posted by users.
The megaupload case makes other sites vulnerable, as they have been doing the same thing that megaupload did. Dropbox for example allows users to exchange content, whether their own or pirated. While youtube polices the popular video uploading site, uses are still able to post content that may infringe copyright laws.
In response to the federal action, the hackers group Anonymous took down the website of the Justice Department.