The popular file hosting site, Megaupload has been shut down today by the federal government. This is a sad day for me because I have been a MU user for years, using it to host any files that were too large for email attachment limits and to share personal, legitimate files with friends and family. Megaupload is one of the top trafficked sites on earth and the service is comprised of hundreds of servers based in the US, Netherlands & New Zealand.
The indictment implicated that the owners of the site, based in New Zealand, were fully aware of copyright material being hosted on their site and had allegedly made over $175 million off of the service since it’s inception back in 2005. As for the first 6 employees, they don’t exactly seem clean as a whistle:
The indictment goes after six individuals, who between them owned 14 Mercedes-Benz automobiles with license plates such as “POLICE,” “MAFIA,” “V,” “STONED,” “CEO,” “HACKER,” GOOD,” “EVIL,” and—perhaps presciently—”GUILTY.” The group also had a 2010 Maserati, a 2008 Rolls-Royce, and a 1989 Lamborghini. They had not one but three Samsung 83″ TVs, and two Sharp 108″ TVs. Someone owned a “Predator statue.” Motor bikes, jet skis, artwork, and even 60 Dell servers could all be forfeit to the government if it can prove its case against the members of the “Mega Conspiracy.”
What’s interesting is MU wasn’t allowed Safe Harbor – the service had registered as a DMCA agent in the US but wasn’t granted immunity. Owners of the service claim to have complied with copyright laws and deployed “piracy monitoring tools” which would help identify copyright material and subsequently, administrators would remove links to those files. The indictment states that MU didn’t actually remove files flagged as copyright material and took measures to limit search abilities on the site and even falsify their “top downloaded files” list. All of this information certainly doesn’t look good for MU, but we will see what happens when they have a chance to respond.
This SOPA & PIPA issue just keeps heating up, and Megaupload happens to be the first targeted service that I used frequently. I hope this isn’t the beginning of the end…
Image Source: Arstechnica
Image Source: PC Mag