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 Post subject: Government: We can freeze Mega assets even if case dismissed
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:52 pm 
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Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge

Retaliation downs US DoJ, RIAA, MPAA


By Richard Chirgwin • The Register


America’s war on file-dump site Megaupload has escalated dramatically, with founder Kim Dotcom and three others in Auckland among seven people arrested in connection with the site.

The four arrested in New Zealand include Megaupload’s chief marketing officer Finn Batato, cofounder and CTO Mathias Ortmann, and BOFH Bram van der Kolk. New Zealand reports state that three others, graphic designer Julius Bancko, business development manager Sven Echternach and software development head Andrus Nomm, are “still at large”.

According to Stuff.co.nz, Dotcom and van der Kolk are New Zealand residents.

The international operation claims to have netted $US20 million in assets across eight countries. Update: CNN puts the seizure of assets as being worth $US50 million, including servers in Virginia and Washington DC.

The FBI is working with a full charge sheet, accusing Dotcom and his associates of criminal copyright infringement, money laundering, and racketeering. It claims that Megaupload’s operations, which generated $US175 million in income through subscriptions and advertising, caused damage to copyright owners of $US500 million.

In an instant and furious reaction, Anonymous is claiming credit for taking down the websites of the US Department of Justice, the MPAA, and the RIAA as punishment for the arrest.

In spite of a past that includes accusations of investment fraud and convictions for computer fraud and handling stolen goods, Dotcom (who changed his name from Kim Schmitz) amassed a fortune that allowed him to rent a vast multi-million-dollar mansion near Auckland in New Zealand.

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Kim Dotcom's Rented Mansion in New Zealand Source: http://www.nbr.co.nz


As Kim Schmitz, Dotcom’s prior art includes a claim that he had discovered how to make money from the stock market relying on nothing but technobabble and investor gullibility.

A decade back he was also claiming to have penetrated Osama bin Laden’s bank accounts. The Anon-anointed hacker hero’s convictions include stock price manipulation and insider trading – these disqualified him from buying the mansion he was leasing.

Dotcom nee Schmitz was unhappy about the New Zealand government’s decision via then associate finance minister Simon Power that he failed the ‘good character’ test for the purchase of the property, with that country’s 3 News quoting him thus: "Officially I am as clean as it gets. I am not a bad person with a bad character and, in my opinion, Simon Power is small minded and unreasonable. In New Zealand, murderers have been released from prison within a decade. You would think that the New Zealand Government believes in giving people a second chance."

Trying to project a “cleanskin” look for Megaupload, the outfit last year sparked a row with Universal Music Group by crafting a YouTube video with supporters who included UMG-signed artists. The video was removed from YouTube briefly, but later reinstated.



Rolling Stone has revealed that hip-hop artist Swizz Beatz is a silent partner and CEO of Megaupload, although he is not included in the current indictment. Beatz also helped cast the “Megaupload Song” and is counter-suing UMG to defend his actions.

Update: The New Zealand Herald reports that items seized in its raid include cars worth a total of $NZ6 million, $NZ10 million in cash, artworks and weapons. New Zealand's Detective Inspector Grant Wormald has said the investigation begun in August last year. He is also reported to have said that there's no intention of charging those arrested over breaches of New Zealand laws, putting the spotlight on extradition proceedings. FBI personnel have been in New Zealand assisting NZ police in the investigation.

Thanks to the commentard who reminded me that there's also a handy Kim Dotcom primer at attrition.org.

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:28 pm 
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Why the feds smashed Megaupload

By Nate Anderson | Arstechnica.com


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The US government dropped a nuclear bomb on "cyberlocker" site Megaupload today, seizing its domain names, grabbing $50 million in assets, and getting New Zealand police to arrest four of the site's key employees, including enigmatic founder Kim Dotcom. In a 72-page indictment unsealed in a Virginia federal court, prosecutors charged that the site earned more than $175 million since its founding in 2005, most of it based on copyright infringement.

As for the site's employees, they were paid lavishly and they spent lavishly. Even the graphic designer, 35-year-old Slovakian resident Julius Bencko, made more than $1 million in 2010 alone.

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."

The case is a major one, involving international cooperation between the US, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Canada, and the Philippines. In addition to the arrests, 20 search warrants were executed today in multiple countries.

No safe harbor for you

Going after Megaupload, one of the most popular sites in the world and one that uses a surprising amount of corporate bandwidth, might seem a strange choice. (As an example of its scale, Megaupload controlled 525 servers in Virginia alone and had another 630 in the Netherlands—and many more around the world.) For years, the site has claimed to take down unauthorized content when notified by rightsholders. It has registered a DMCA agent with the US government. It has created an “abuse tool” and given rightsholders access. It has negotiated with companies like Universal Music Group about licensing content. And CEO Kim Dotcom sent this curious e-mail to PayPal in late 2011:

Quote:
Our legal team in the US is currently preparing to sue some of our competitors and expose their criminal activity. We like to give you a heads up and advice [sic] you not to work with sites that are known to pay up loaders for pirated content. They are damaging the image and the existence of the file hosting industry (see what's happening with the Protect IP Act). Look at Fileserve.com, Videobb.com, Filesonic.com, Wupload.com, Uploadstation.com. These sites pay everyone (no matter if the files are pirated or not) and have NO repeat infringer policy. And they are using PayPal to pay infringers.


But the government asserts that Megaupload merely wanted the veneer of legitimacy, while its employees knew full well that the site's main use was to distribute infringing content. Indeed, the government points to numerous internal e-mails and chat logs from employees showing that they were aware of copyrighted material on the site and even shared it with each other. Because of this, the government says that the site does not qualify for a “safe harbor” of the kind that protected YouTube from Viacom's $1 billion lawsuit.

For instance, the “abuse tool” allegedly does not remove the actual file being complained about by a rightsholder. Instead, it only removes a specific Web address linked to that file—but there might be hundreds of such addresses for popular content.

In addition, the government contends that everything about the site has been doctored to make it look more legitimate than it is. The “Top 100” download list does not “actually portray the most popular downloads,” say prosecutors, and they claim that Megaupload purposely offers no site-wide search engine as a way of concealing what people are storing and sharing through the site.

Megaupload employees apparently knew how the site was being used. When making payments through its “uploader rewards” program, employees sometimes looked through the material in those accounts first. "10+ Full popular DVD rips (split files), a few small porn movies, some software with keygenerators (warez)," said one of these notes. (The DMCA does not provide a "safe harbor" to sites who have actual knowledge of infringing material and do nothing about it.)

In a 2008 chat, one employee noted that "we have a funny business... modern days [sic] pirates :)," to which the reply was, "we're not pirates, we're just providing shipping servies [sic] to pirates :)."

Employees send each other e-mails saying things like, “can u pls get me some links to the series called ‘Seinfeld’ from MU [Megaupload]," since some employees did have access to a private internal search engine.

Employees even allegedly uploaded content themselves, such as a BBC Earth episode uploaded in 2008.

Other messages appear to indicate that employees knew how important copyrighted content was to their business. Content owners had a specific number of takedown requests they could make each day; in 2009, for instance, Time Warner was allowed to use the abuse tool to remove 2,500 links per day. When the company requested an increase, one employee suggested that "we can afford to be cooperative at current growth levels"— implying that if growth had not been so robust, takedowns should be limited. Kim Dotcom approved an increase to 5,000 takedowns a day.

Employees also had access to analytics. One report showed that a specific linking site had “produce[d] 164,214 visits to Megaupload for a download of the copyrighted CD/DVD burning software package Nero Suite 10. The software package had the suggested retail price of $99.” The government's conclusion: Megaupload knew what was happening and did little to stop it.

The need for care

Yet the indictment seems odd in some ways. When Viacom made many of the same charges against YouTube, it didn't go to the government and try to get Eric Schmidt or Chad Hurley arrested.

It's also full of strange non-sequiturs, such as the charge that "on or about November 10, 2011, a member of the Mega Conspiracy made a transfer of $185,000 to further an advertising campaign for Megaupload.com involved a musical recording and a video." So?

The money probably paid for a video that infuriated the RIAA by including major artists who support Megaupload. Megaupload later filed claims in US courts, trying to save the video, which it says was entirely legal, from takedown requests. (The RIAA has long said the site operators "thumb their noses at international laws, all while pocketing significant advertising revenues from trafficking in free, unlicensed copyrighted materials.")

Given that the site was already using US courts to file actions; given that the government had Megaupload e-mails talking about using US lawyers to file cases against other "pirate" sites; given that the site did at least take down content and built an abuse tool; and given that big-name artists support the site, the severity of the government's reaction is surprising.

There's no doubt that the indictment makes Megaupload look bad, though, and we're quite curious to see what comes of the case—especially once the site has a chance to respond.

Law professor James Grimmelmann of New York Law School tells Ars, "If proven at trial, there's easily enough in the indictment to prove criminal copyright infringement many times over. But much of what the indictment details are legitimate business strategies many websites use to increase their traffic and revenues: offering premium subscriptions, running ads, rewarding active users.

"I hope that if this case goes to trial and results in convictions, that the court will be careful in sorting out just what Megaupload did that crossed the line of criminality."

The MPAA doesn't have any doubts, though. "By all estimates, Megaupload.com is the largest and most active criminally operated website targeting creative content in the world," it said in a statement. "This criminal case, more than two years in development, shows that law enforcement can take strong action to protect American intellectual property stolen through sites housed in the United States."

Illustration by Aurich Lawson

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:33 pm 
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Megaupload wasn't just for pirates: angry users out of luck for now

By Jon Brodkin | Arstechnica.com


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By taking Megaupload offline and charging its leaders with criminal activity, the feds are hoping to drive purveyors of illegally distributed copyrighted content out of business. But in doing so, they've also eliminated a service that was used by many to share files acquired and distributed in a perfectly legal manner.

Megaupload is most well known for the distribution of pirated movies, games, software and the like, but a certain percentage of the site's usage—how much, we don't know—was legitimate. We reached out to readers today to find out how and why they used Megaupload to distribute and acquire content that didn't infringe anyone's copyright, and what they plan to do now that the site is off the Internet.

There is no shortage of file-sharing services, of course. Why would someone who's not a pirate use Megaupload instead of, say, Dropbox, which presumably is under no threat of closure? Readers and followers on social networks tell us that generous storage allotments, ease of use in sharing, and fast upload speeds were among the key reasons.

While we expect the vast majority of users would have their content backed up locally, there is no readily apparent way for Megaupload users to regain files they've hosted on the service. Refunds for holders of premium accounts is another unresolved issue. We've asked a Justice Department spokesperson if any method of re-downloading legitimate content from the servers will be available, or if the content will still be on the site should Megaupload ever be allowed back online.

In response, a Justice spokesperson cited the site's FAQ which covered the possibility that their files might one day be lost or inaccessible: "This is still an ongoing matter," the spokesperson told Ars. "It is important to note that Megaupload clearly warned users to keep copies of any files they uploaded. Megaupload.com expressly informed users through its Frequently Asked Questions ('FAQs') and its Terms of Service that users have no proprietary interest in any of the files on Megaupload’s servers, they assume the full risk of complete loss or unavailability of their data, and that Megaupload can terminate site operations without prior notice."

Easy to share

"We do a decent amount of video stuff here and so I have to move too-big-for-email files around with some regularity," staff attorney Michael Weinberg of Public Knowledge tells Ars in an e-mail. "I like sites like Megaupload because they do not require an account—you just upload it, get the link, and send it out. It is also easy to tell other people to use it because you do not need to make a new account."

Public Knowledge is a prominent SOPA opponent, and Weinberg was using Megaupload throughout the SOPA debate and right up until yesterday's action against Megaupload. "As luck would have it, over the weekend I used my home laptop to pull down the stream of the House Judiciary Committee SOPA markup," Weinberg says. "I wanted to transfer it here to work so that I could cut it up into a video we were using. I uploaded it, but before I had a chance to download it Megaupload was shut down. I can't speak for everything happening on the site, but Megaupoad was providing me a completely legitimate service for a completely legitimate end."

Reader Mark Ellul tells us "I used my account for online storage and backups, also to send my personal home video files from Spain to Australia, so my parents can see HD videos of their granddaughters. I have received tweets from DJs who used it to share their legal creations. Obviously there was a pirated use, but there were so many uses to have unlimited space in the Web. Now I find it hard to trust in any service, because Dropbox or any of the other competitors could be brought down by the FBI."

The free Megaupload service allowed uploads of files up to 2GB in size and total storage of 200GB. Fee-based plans offered unlimited storage.

One user in Colorado who goes by "daveIT" in the Ars forums said he paid for the premium service for increased speed, and used it to collaborate with a friend in Alaska on music tracks. "Not a huge blow personally—other than having to waste the time to re-upload tracks on my slow DSL," he wrote, noting that with Megaupload he had uploaded files 6GB to 8GB in size with no problems.

Perhaps worst of all, the reader may be out of luck in getting a refund. "I had just renewed my subscription for 2 months and this happens a couple days later...wondering if they will refund that??" he wrote. "They'll probably need it for litigation!"
Megaupload important for Android developers

Another reader tells us in the forums that "I'm an Android phone enthusiast, and Megaupload was one of the best ways to distribute custom ROMs and other Android mods. In fact, the ROM my phone is running right now I downloaded from MegaUpload shortly before it was shut down. There are a number of similar sites for this use, but Megaupload was always the fastest."

On Google+, Massimiliano Fanciulli tells Ars "I've used Megaupload for distributing betas of my app Sleepy before publishing it on the Android Market. It was quick and easy to upload and share things."

Fanciulli said he might start using Google Docs to share files instead. Other users suggested RapidShare, FileSonic, Dropbox, or even Amazon's Simple Storage Service (although Amazon's developer-focused service is for more technically inclined users).

Professional musician Suzanne Barbieri e-mailed us to note that she used Megaupload to store and share music in part because most of her projects "are too large for something like YouSendIt. A Megaupload free account allows you to send files of up to 2GB. I have no idea where I will upload files now." Barbieri tells Ars the pre-release tracks she makes are confidential and intended only for the recipients' use, so she doesn't like the files being in the US government's hands.

"I do session work in my home studio and upload the files so the clients can download them," Barbieri says. "The work I do for them is usually urgent with tight deadlines, so I have to be able to upload files. A courier service would be too expensive and too slow. I also use Megaupload to get my own music to my record label."

One reader admits to having used Megaupload "for both legal and iffy purposes," including distribution of modified Minecraft clients to friends, and for obtaining rare albums and games. "Any time you needed to send a couple of large files to someone, it was easy to just zip them and dump them onto Megaupload or another such site," he says. "Another added bonus was anonymity."

Another reader tells us of accessing Phish concert MP3s—which are distributed legally because the band permits recording. Rob Beschizza, managing editor of Boing Boing, notes that public relations people use Megaupload to send the site "everything from high-resolution images to unreleased albums, videos and such for us to review and publish."

Vancouver resident Geoff Luk says he volunteered to take photos and videos at the 2010 Winter Olympics and used Megaupload to store files that were 4GB in size. "The biggest loss of my media is two ISO DVD images that I created from PPT slideshows and photos and video taken while I was volunteering with the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games," he says. "As the team I worked on was huge (about 75 Downtown Vancouver, and another 25 in Whistler/Blackcomb), it was nigh impossible to physically share both DVD copies of the photos, videos, and ISO files after the Olympics had ended."

Luk says he has everything backed up locally, although uploading files again to another service will be inconvenient.
Users say federal action "too broad a brush"

One Ars reader suggests in the forums that users who lost access to content and paid for services they now won't receive should file a class-action suit against the US government. "I am not saying that distribution of illegal content is ok, but killing all other legitimate content as a sort of a ' collateral damage' in this case is surely not ok," the commenter writes.

While such a suit seems unlikely to succeed, the sentiment is reflective of users' anger about the lost service. A book editor named Cassandra Olivia says graphics designers and editors she works with use Megaupload to exchange files for review, and that she uses it herself for sharing family and vacation photos with relatives who are "just technologically adept enough to click on a link."

"I'm glad my Megaupload account was just backup and I still have the photos somewhere, but now I have to retrain my family into using Dropbox or similar," she says. "Taking Megaupload down without distinguishing between infringing and non-infringing content did the legitimate users a disservice and was a violation of due process. Too broad a brush, I think. I hope I get my account, and my photos back."

How many other AGR readers used Megaupload? Or knew somebody that did? Which alternative services will you use now? Feel free to weigh in.

Photo illustration by Aurich Lawson

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:06 pm 
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I don't see why somebody like YouTube should get away with it while somebody like MegaUpload would get closed down and their entire team arrested.

It's not even like they tried to shut them down first and failed, a bit of an overreaction against a backdrop of proving the current system works just fine and nobody needs or wants the likes of SOPA. The only reason companies have been lobbying for it is so that they can bypass the legal stage and flip the off switch themselves without any proof. At least this way they can only go after proven copyright infringers. Still don't see why a) they couldn't have removed infringing files and left all the legitimate ones alone and b) big US companies can get away with it (EG Google) while non-US companies are looking at having all their assets seized and extradition to Guantanamo.

When asked about legit files the law unbelievably fell back on MegaUpload's own FAQ (!) that said there were no comebacks if files were lost despite the fact that they weren't lost, they were deliberately seized and they are in fact still there just their owners and users and being deprived of accessing any of their own legal property. Way to go, as excuses go that's possibly the lamest I ever heard.

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:47 am 
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Well it was one of the best online media storage website. Free users could download at very high speed.My connection is 9.3 mbps i used to get full downloading speed from their servers.Too bad its down now

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:05 pm 
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pakrooney wrote:
Well it was one of the best online media storage website. Free users could download at very high speed.My connection is 9.3 mbps i used to get full downloading speed from their servers.Too bad its down now


Agreed, it was one of the best and one of the fastest. It shall be missed.

What MegaUpload's great popularity and financial success also shows is that IF these copyrighted works were made available at more reasonable prices and also came with a lot more choice both of content and how to contribute financially to owner - then Hollywood and the music industry would have no trouble making a fortune from the paying public like they used to do when cinemas were very popular and much cheaper - which is the main problem imho. There's very little change out of £20 for two people to go to the cinema or buy a DVD to take home, which is a complete rip off considering what these things cost to make and how poor a lot of them are. It's even worse with software, where the prices are ridiculous sometimes. MegaUpload proves people are willing to pay and willing to watch ad-supported video to contribute to whichever company's revenues had the foresight to make them a deal that is attractive to them. There's absolutely nothing to stop the film studios setting up such a service but a fatal combination of greed and incompetence seem to prevent them having the nous or the balls to do it.

OK, there's iTunes but it's really awful software and they charge $10-$15 per movie (no idea about music prices or price in GBP - I couldn't find it) but we need something more like YouTube / Google Video as well imho so that people who can't afford to keep spending every 90 minutes on their entertainment can still legally watch stuff and still contribute to the copyright holders and the creators. I'm not suggesting studios should make all their new releases ad-supported on YouTube (but hey why not? Google makes BILLIONS from advertising) but if the older stuff was available on official studio websites, and premium membership of a few quid a month for the constant churn of new releases for people who just can't wait. MegaUpload/Megavideo Premium Membership cost €10/$12/£8 monthly AFAIK, not far from what NetFlix and lovefilm charge, clearly showing that people will pay for a good, convenient service at a more reasonable price. If only there was a legit one that had everything on it at a price point that suited everybody there'd be no problem here, nobody could really undercut those who already own it who were for example, offering a selection of stuff paid for purely with advertising. The much-beloved guaranteed income that a monthly subscription brings and is so favoured by big business is OK for film fans who watch a lot of content and who can afford it, but for watching the odd film there's no decent legal provision for it, so users find themselves on the likes of MegaUpload or MegaVideo just passing the time. If the content owners ran a service like these then users have already shown their willingness to watch adverts to support the video costs and contribute to bigger profits. Until they do, it's no surprise that rival services keep popping up. I'm counting the days until the next MegaUpload appears in China or Russia. :rolleyes:

It's a silly overreaction really. If MegaUpload was a deep-pocketed American company you can bet they wouldn't even be having these problems, they were doing no different from Google really, who also profiteer off the back of other people's content. Both companies used to remove thousands of files as requested by rights holders, MegaUpload even volunteered to increase how many were taken down every day, but the US authorities via the lobby groups just didn't approve of it's owner and hey... you can't have dollars that America might have instead. Just ask anybody who got busted for having a gambling site which is available there, they won't allow anyone to take even a fairly earned bite of their $100Bn+ a year gambling profits, neither will they let any non-US company earn anything from this. I guess none of this applies to US file hosting services like the one from Microsoft then who offer a suspiciously similar service. :think:

But the biggest obstacle besides greed and lack of understanding is the film studios are terrified of changing their old faithful business models, and they haven't a clue about the new technology or what people actually want or are prepared to pay, but they'll need to get with it sooner rather than later and take a chance on it before somebody like Apple eats their lunch and takes all the profits just like they did with the music on iTunes.

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:25 pm 
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If a studio pays for the production of a film, that film is theirs, what happens to it, is their choice.... if they rely on antiquated business models & old fashioned distribution formats, it's up to them

....no-one else has the right to distribute it or sell it, it is the creation of the studio & no-one has the right to see it for free, whether they have 'Sniffy Robin Hood Syndrome' or not.... there's no entitlement, no 'fairness' & no absolution of guilt.

....there seems to some bizarre mindset that if someone can give away someone else's stuff, they should be able to.... & the idea that it's 'just a digital file' not a work of art that people sweated & slaved over for months/years

....i know it's your livelihood, it's what you feed your kids with, but i want you to hand it over to me for free, cos i've got a computer, a phone line, the internet.... but i'm poor, i deserve it, i want it, i like it, i need entertaining, so hand it over.


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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:12 pm 
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Resurrection Joe wrote:
If a studio pays for the production of a film, that film is theirs, what happens to it, is their choice.... if they rely on antiquated business models & old fashioned distribution formats, it's up to them

....there seems to some bizarre mindset that if someone can give away someone else's stuff, they should be able to.... & the idea that it's 'just a digital file' not a work of art that people sweated & slaved over for months/years

....i know it's your livelihood, it's what you feed your kids with, but i want you to hand it over to me for free, cos i've got a computer, a phone line, the internet.... but i'm poor, i deserve it, i want it, i like it, i need entertaining, so hand it over.


B0LL0CKS


I wasn't suggesting that MegaWhoever should be able to use this stuff without permission, but isn't this exactly what Google do? OK the difference is Google shares ad revenue with the owners, but the studios had little choice but to make a deal really because Google were hiding behind the DMCA provision and staying within US law by taking down files that were flagged as infringing by the owners - an impossible job for the owners given that stuff was being re-uploaded faster than they could be taken down. While it went through because of Google's size and influence, why not extend this so that other streaming sites can also just cough up a % of revenues? Or better still (for the owners) set up shop themselves.

There's clearly a gap in the market, and I think this is the way to go now more and more people consume their content in the online world. The owners could clean up here if they chose to is all I'm saying. Of course it's up to the owner/maker, but they are looking to increase profits then this is an untapped (by them) market that would benefit them to be a part of and it would benefit consumers too. Plus it's a solution to 'the problem' as the owners see it... if they're offering such a service then there's absolutely no reason to go elsewhere so any and all cash spent on it would go to the owners.

And that's a good point. But if anyone is that poor, then they wouldn't have been spending on it in the first place would they, there's absolutely no proof that for example somebody streaming a TV show has cost anybody anything, as (besides minimal hosting costs) a digital copy isn't like a physical copy where materials, assembly, sales and distribution costs have been poured into each one. If a film studio decided to pick a movie title via vouchers given out with cinema tickets and give 10,000 or 100,000 downloads away to it wouldn't cost them anything, it's nothing like shipping physical products.... and it's a massive assumption that everyone who consumes a product would have otherwise spent money on it. I often put iPlayer on for a bit of background noise, but I wouldn't pay for it I'd just stick something else on say YouTube or a Register podcast etc. so nobody is losing any money by me (not really) watching or listening to whatever is on.

There's also the argument that these are luxury items, and it's nobody's right to consume them without permission from the owner... which sounds fair enough to me and best left for another debate. Whether it's fair to have people miss out on popular culture that everyone likes to participate in and talk about socially for lack of finances is very fair is another question there's little agreement on either. But it's far from a certainty that it's taking food off anybody's table.

You'll notice also that it's not the actual creative types that keep going to court, it's corporate lawyers interested only in the bottom line. The copyright owners probably bleed the people behind the content dry as much as consumers.

It's a widely acknowledged problem and I applaud the musicians, game developers and other creatives who have tried to address it by experimenting with alternative distribution such as name your own price for an album download, distributing albums or films on a newspaper cover-mounted disk or new release games being sold without DRM etc. Not surprisingly, these things are proving increasingly popular with consumers and people are putting their hand in their pocket even when they could have had it for free. Keep up the good work guys.

But you're right, it's up to them what they do with their own stuff. Just don't be surprised if there's a gap in the market then somebody will fill it.

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:31 pm 
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i reiterate....

....if the producers/originators choose to do that, all well & good

....but it is not for the likes of Kim Dotcom to facilitate the giving away of other people's stuff & by the looks of his home, doing very well out of it too :shrug:

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:03 pm 
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Resurrection Joe wrote:
i reiterate....

....if the producers/originators choose to do that, all well & good

....but it is not for the likes of Kim Dotcom to facilitate the giving away of other people's stuff & by the looks of his home, doing very well out of it too :shrug:


True, but I just don't understand why they don't do it themselves tbh, there's clearly money in it so it might as well be theirs. :dunno: Nobody can force them to do it, but it has to be cheaper, easier and much better PR than locking people up?! I dunno just how out of touch these people are, but even the Beeb get it... I'm a little embarrassed for them. :snigger:

And they're all not like Kim Dotcom livin' it up - there was that ordinary bloke who was raided for starting the tvlinks.co.uk website only he wasn't even hosting any files just links... it was some trademark infringement technicality (not copyright) they tried to do him on... but this strong-arm approach won't do what they think it will, it's actually making them out as the bad guys in the eyes of many despite legitimate ownership of content, partly because they seize other people's legal property EG removing access to legitimate paying customer's own legal files on MegaUpload in their efforts to protect their own property which is totally hypocritical. If it's stealing, it's stealing - whoever does it.

Hollywood and the music business are like the slow kids in the class threatening the other kids because they don't understand why the others are learning and moving on while they remain stuck where they are. They won't stay the big fish unless they do adapt as newspapers and TV have before them, only they can save themselves by adapting to a new market and they have only themselves to blame if it all goes wrong.

And no, none of that changes what you said. :p

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:27 pm 
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Message from Anonymous: 72 hour deadline



Will they actually go ahead with this? Or is it a big bluff?

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:29 pm 
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I doubt it's a bluff, so expect some websites to disappear or even get hacked into for a while.

Nothing dangerous, just a PR exercise.

But good on them, it's all good publicity and it's good that awareness is raised about situations like this, where wrong has been done by the authorities not by the nattily-named Kim Dotcom, at least not this time for the man with a less than clean past - a fact that made one US company state he's been in trouble before so that's our evidence of wrongdoing this time (!). Kim's companies had a legal business model in the eyes of many. Allegations about them paying uploaders or directly uploading material themselves are to date unproven AFAIK.

It's interesting to note that:

There was no public search - you couldn't just go on any of those sites and search for nevermind find any infringing content, you have to have the link in advance which is only known to the file uploader. Unique links were intended for uploaders to share their own files with others, sometimes these were illegal content and links were posted in other places EG TV listings sites, but these were able to be removed. MegaUpload was 4% of the net - you just can't check that many files in advance... an apparently acceptable argument Google stick with to this day RE YouTube.

Megaupload did supply copyright holders with a search tool to find infringing material, unlike the public who had to have the link supplied. They were also supplied with a tool to request file removal (as I understand it). It wasn't really even a public download service it was primarily online file storage.

Kim voluntarily suggested (when hearing complaints) that Megaupload removed more infringing files than they were required to by law, voluntarily raising the limit so that copyright holders could increase the number of requests for files to be removed, which was already about 12,000 a day IIRC.

All the Mega-companies registered with the government for the US DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act designed to help fight piracy).

Doesn't sound so bad to me, and as somebody who knows about these download places MegaUpload was as much legit stuff like Football Manager tactics files and game mods for Skyrim etc. as episodes of American TV or whatever in my experience. Now they've all been arrested had their assets seized and could be looking at 50 years in prison, charged with costing $500m damage to American companies - with absolutely no proof btw it's bull - and more than a little over the top. The justice department called them "international organized criminal enterprise allegedly responsible for massive worldwide online piracy" - which is a bit strong considering their business model of free and paid-for online file storage is no different to Microsoft's SkyDrive, Photobucket, Youtube, Rapidshare, Flikr, etc. which are all consider legal service... ironically the worst offender imo is Google's YouTube but their ad deal with the copyright owners aside, this doesn't seem to apply to US companies.

It's truly ridiculous how MegaUpload have been treated because while yes, there was content there that shouldn't have been this is the internet and they are far from alone and the US companies who are doing exactly the same... surprise surprise... are getting left alone to keep infringing and making an absolute fortune on these very same copyrights that anyone else is called an evil criminal. Google even used to make money advertising on MegaUpload ffs, it's not like they were ever in this alone.

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:10 pm 
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is that not the speeding defence???

....yeah, i was doing 90mph, but i'm not the only one, so not guilty m'lud



i refer you to an earlier point.... it's not yours, you're not entitled, you've made shedloads of money fencing stolen property


Whatever the rights & wrongs of Google, THAT is the issue.... THIS issue is pretty clear.... selling membership to illegal access of copyrighted property

....yeah, yeah the charges may not reflect that :shrug: you know it's wrong & not yours to sell

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:15 pm 
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If a removals van moves stolen goods that he doesn't know are stolen is the driver the person who goes to court?

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:22 pm 
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idontfeardeath wrote:
If a removals van moves stolen goods that he doesn't know are stolen is the driver the person who goes to court?

yes definitely.... see countless lorry drivers at various borders.... as if 'i had no idea' could get you off driving a van load of coke

....and are you suggesting that Kim Dotcom had no idea his sites were full of copyrighted material???

....cos YouTube delete all copyrighted material & take responsibility for their content

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:29 pm 
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If I can't be bothered to stay up and watch Raw on a Monday night I'll watch it on youtube the next day as you don't need to skip the adverts. There are definitely things available to watch on youtube that you shouldn't be able too.

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:41 pm 
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Resurrection Joe wrote:
is that not the speeding defence???

....yeah, i was doing 90mph, but i'm not the only one, so not guilty m'lud



i refer you to an earlier point.... it's not yours, you're not entitled, you've made shedloads of money fencing stolen property


Whatever the rights & wrongs of Google, THAT is the issue.... THIS issue is pretty clear.... selling membership to illegal access of copyrighted property

....yeah, yeah the charges may not reflect that :shrug: you know it's wrong & not yours to sell


Wasn't a defence, it was pointing out discriminatory treatment vs other companies thought of having a legal business, like Google. Either they both want locking up or neither of them do imo.

Tbh the MegaUpload business was/is legal in my view, with many legit customers using it for legit things. And the law is an ass in this matter.

We've been spammed with infringing copyright, and even trolled - remember those idiots trying to get their stuff out on the net before writing to threaten people into paying up hundreds of pounds? - they are hiding behind these same very dodgy laws. Should we go to jail because bots post links to movies sometimes?! Or if a user uploads a copyright image of say, Homer Simpson as his avatar? It's the same laws. :shrug:

These sites may be immoral in the sense that some alleged site operators leave illegal content up until it's requested that it's taken down because it's profitable, but when you're overwhelmed with millions of users it's impractical to spot them all anyway. Currently there's no way I know of that could pre-scan all files at upload time to check if they infringe or not so the system we're left with is that legal sites comply by taking down dodgy uploads... and there's little else they can do tbh.

Kim Dotcom knew that his site would be popular as file hosting is very popular for many uses both legal and illegal, and that it would grow even if he kept taking the infringing content down... and so he cashed in with a successful legal file hosting service doing it's best to stem the tide of unauthorised content.

If he's guilty, it's only of admitting it's lucrative while the likes of Google say oh it's only a minor part of our business etc. but they still bank the results. It's not really the massive crime that has been reported really.

And whether it's a mega-serious crime or not, MegaUpload is far from the worst 'offender' anyway. It's like a statement of intent from the US that they'll crush any opposition and you'd better not dare do anything they don't approve of or else, but it won't even dent piracy or the availability of copyrighted content that is available online.

What makes me laugh about the whole thing is, on the few occasions I've ever watch advertising supported video somewhere it might not have been authorised to be, much of the adverts were movie studios and the music industry pushing whatever new album was flavour of the month... hardly the kind of behaviour you'd expect from somebody complaining about the 'problem' that they willingly finance. They're the kings of pop up window spam and act like they'd never do such a thing. :rolleyes:

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:05 pm 
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you mean you didn't know Megaupload was the place to get all the stuff you don't want to pay for??? :coffee:

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:39 pm 
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The knock on effects.

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All free file hosting sites are disabling sharing one after another. As a result, our downloads area is a mess since yesterday night. We'll need to figure out a long term solution asap. Hosting the files in-house could be an option, but it would skyrocket our hosting costs. Your feedback is appreciated.


From a football manager forum.

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:30 pm 
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Resurrection Joe wrote:
you mean you didn't know Megaupload was the place to get all the stuff you don't want to pay for??? :coffee:


If it was a problem it was a minor problem imo. As treasure chests of illicit stuff goes it's not in the big league AFAIK. Perhaps it was a popular place for non-techies or something. :dunno:

But in any case it took a well phrased Google search (or other link listings site) to find any content, as MegaUpload had no public search facility. And their MegaVideo site was infamous for it's time limited system that kept refusing to play content every half an hour-ish, so that was generally avoided like the plague, it was a last resort sort of place.


My err friend was telling me that he went there only very occasionally compared to other sites that offer far more. :ninja: So the only reason I can see that they've been singled out and hammered is because of the prior criminal history of the unlikeable and whackily named owner Kim Dotcom... Also the site was expanding very quickly, so even a small percentage of illegal content could be a considerable amount of files I suppose.

But I still think the main point was delivering this threat to others who would dare host or link to files that they shouldn't rather than any massive problem with MegaUpload in particular.

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