Megaupload taken offline

Just wanted to spread the word. In case you didn’t know already. I certainly didn’t. I used it often to share files too large to e-mail…

EDIT - I think I come across, in this community, as a bit of an off-line freak - I want to download everything, I want offline copies of every web-based game. I know it sounds ridiculous in this day and age where - theoretically - web-access is a standard. Well, I think of all the people who used MegaUpload as a storage device and I rest my case. If it’s in my hard drive, I’ll always be able to access it, whereas websites may fall without warning or notice.

I understand. I use DropBox… and why shouldn’t it be closed for the same reasons, too? Time to re-download everything.

I hate what they are doing, there. But most of all I hate the fact the proprietor or MU risks up to… 50 years in jail.
That seems fair, considering a murderer only gets 30. When exceptionally unlucky.

But, then again: murder very rarely gets in the way of big industries revenues…

If you’re going to run a massive file-archive site, don’t archive the company emails where you talk openly about all the bootlegged movies you’ve got and how much money you’re making off them.

The big file upload sites have always been very useful for certain things, but they’ve never struck me as a particularly trustworthy place to store anything.

Yeah, I’d never even considered it. Never struck me as really private, or really safe, or - case in point - really reliable. Sure was a simple way of sharing files that were too big to e-mail, though.

I suppose I can always use another service, Lord knows there’s plenty of them… until they all get shut down.

My previous comment wasn’t hypothetical. Megaupload appears to have done some very stupid things, according to the government’s indictment document. (And the company emails quoted heavily therein.) Other file-transfer services don’t have to be that stupid. If they want to be that stupid, they can at least be smart enough to delete the email before it’s all subpoena’d.

Quick overview by someone familiar with the legalities (though not a lawyer):

Well… as long as you keep buying new hard drives with constant redundancy across multiple drives in case of drive failure, and always keep multiple copies on multiple types of media, and keep those copies in different places – ideally in different countries…

Or you could just use an online backup storage solution.

I regularly burn my IF collection onto a DVD (regularly = when I’ve finished cathegorizing a letter and am ready to move on to the next one, as I’m doing it alphabetically). My music files get shared by e-mail to colleagues, so they are, in a way, net-backuped, but I also end up burning music CDs so THOSE are accessible too. I have my opera collection (most of it downloaded, which I’m unashamed to say because so much of those are bootleg recordings that I could never find on sale anywhere anyway) all burned in CDs and DVDs as well.

To each his own, and you obviously prefer online storage. Me, I’m safer with my method. I’ve had two - two! - hard drive failures in the last year. I’ve never lost anything truly irreplaceable (also because I reacted soon enough to recover data before it became completely lost).

So yeah. I still prefer downloading every game, and abhor every “web-only” entry that appears on IFDB.

Actually, don’t even send such emails, since it’s rather naive to think that whether you archive them or not is going to have anything to do with whether the gov’t is able to read them or (soon, if not already) use your already-‘deleted’ emails in court.

P.S. Regarding the other thread topic, I guess the must-download-every-game types must get pretty annoyed when people take stuff like MUDs and World of Warcraft seriously. 87

Just read an article about the founder of Megaupload, Kim Dotcom. Quite a character.

Not exactly an admirable fellow but I personally have no desire to see him jailed. Fifteen years ago he would have merely been sued and the business would likely survive and continue to serve its legitimate customers. It’s disgraceful that bankers that committed massive globe-spanning fraud on the order of billions of dollars get away scot-free, whereas this dude gets portrayed as some kind of criminal Scarface kingpin (which is ridiculous) merely for moving around electrons worth dollars a pop while in possession of expensive vehicles, and being too honest about it in his private communications. Think about that: the only difference between Megaupload and YouTube is that Megaupload didn’t bother to conceal its awareness of what goes on using its tools. However it would be absolutely silly and naive to believe that both services aren’t equally aware of the piracy on their networks. So while there may be a difference in legal exposure, there is no moral distinction between Megaupload and YouTube at all. So the fact that Kim Dotcom is rich and flaunts it is morally irrelevant unless you think Sergey Brin and Larry Page should live in trash and dress in rags.

The message of the current legal system (particularly regarding IP) is clear: it’s all for show, and it doesn’t matter so much what you actually do; it only really matters that you don’t say the wrong ‘cocky’ thing while you are doing it, at least if you are an average citizen with airs above his station.

Essentially, it’s a world where the laws are so broad that everybody is guilty of something, and the only way to escape ‘justice’ is to be a meek little mouse and hide in your corner feeling guilty about being human. The reach of copyright law is now so long, that there isn’t anyone in this forum (or indeed, on this planet) who can accurately claim to have never infringed a copyright in their life. The way to escape imprisonment is not to avoid breaking the law, but rather to keep your mouth shut about the fact that everybody is breaking the law. It’s the New Victorianism — but this is not the way a democracy is supposed to work though, is it? In a democracy, when a behaviour becomes normalised, we are supposed to have the power to successfully agitate to have it legalised. Do we even have that power, anymore? Or do we sit around as our peers get increasingly criminalised, pretending that we aren’t doing the exact same things but more successfully concealing them? Pretending that our own private behaviour isn’t being redefined a little further every day into ‘criminal’ by our own elected reps. How long before we stop hiding and rather stand up and say, ‘Yes, we all do this; we share files fairly indiscriminately; now step off and leave us alone and figure out how to make money in the world as it actually exists, not as it might exist in some neo-Victorian fairy tale legal fiction you’re pushing.’



YouTube kicks some money back to copyright holders when a viewer watches a video with their music.

They monetize it in other ways too, by showing an ad to buy the song from an affiliated service. I don’t know if the music cartel gets a piece of that action but presumably they do.

(I watch a lot of garbage truck videos with my son, and there’s apparently an unwritten rule that they must feature a random rock ballad as a background track. A similar rule holds for construction truck videos and country music.)

This seems like a savvy and forward-thinking approach to casual piracy, much as you advocate. I can only assume that Google had to spend a fortune on lawyers and fight every step of the way to make it happen, and that it’s in danger of collapsing any moment if RIAA throws a tantrum.

Very true, that last paragraph. It’s not that the differences you point out earlier are incorrect: it’s that by themselves they present an ahistorical view that is prone to overlooking the fact that all of these anti-piracy ‘features’ were late additions to YouTube that came about as the result of the civil legal system – a system that is now being denied to up-and-comers like Megaupload in favour of the criminal justice system. YouTube didn’t start with these features; they were added via a process of compromise rooted in civil litigation – a process that is being left behind now that the RIAA/MPAA feel they have sharper teeth. So, things have changed – there is no denying it, IMO. If YouTube were invented in the way it originally was, in the current legal (and extralegal) regime, it would almost certainly not survive.

Illuminating. I eagerly anticipate the release of a ‘Zarf Button’ app that simply pronounces either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ when somebody-who-is-not-Zarf expresses an opinion. It’d save you even more unnecessary typing. 8)


To some extent I think this is the way the game is always played. Two corporations sue each other as part of an elaborate courtship dance to see if they can work together. The civil suit process is just a way to get the lawyers in the same room talking to each other. The end goal is always a settlement rather than a judgment.

I don’t have any direct knowledge about MegaUpload and its negotiating posture. It’s tempting to speculate that they told the content companies where to shove it, given that they were a foreign company operating on foreign soil. That would explain the criminal justice approach, however wrong-headed and absurd.

I expect that other up-and-comers would find media lawyers more than willing to negotiate. The weaker and less established the company, the better, since then the terms would be highly one-sided, perhaps cripplingly so.

The greater danger is that the emerging content titans - Google, Apple, Amazon - decide that they’ve had enough of scrappy upstart competitors, and collude with the traditional publishers to finally implement that framework of onerous controls they’ve always wanted. Then they get Congress to elevate their handshake deal to the status of federal law, and the market is well and truly closed.

I don’t see the artistic danger. Piracy has no impact on serious literature, or serious music, or serious film. Both Woody Allen and Roman Polanski are thriving and I doubt that Philip Roth is hurting from people pirating his novels on e-books, assuming that that happens. So this is going to hurt TV, porn, Britney Spears and Hollywood schlock, and I for one can live without them.

Perhaps not piracy but claims of copyright infringement do affect even serious literature, as the James Joyce estate has so ably demonstrated.

Did I miss something? As far as I could see, the Joyce estate were using copyright laws to prevent biographers from accessing his Joyce’s personal letters, and prevent public readings of his work. This seems to be mostly about how Joyce is depicted, rather than any specifically literary concerns.

Biographies and performances of a writer’s work are themselves literary, aren’t they?

There was also the legal kerfuffle over the “Gone with the Wind from a slave’s point of view” novel a few years back. If the law had been that anything that is accused of infringing copyright is to be suppressed until it’s proved to be non-infringing, things would’ve probably gone much worse for that novel. And that’s pretty much the standard that Big Content would like to enshrine.

The word ‘literary’ is perhaps a bit too contested to use usefully here, but I’ll concede the point that preventing biographies and performances is the prevention of art. I personally think that if the person is dead, they’re not going to be doing anything else with their work, so there’s no harm in letting others do so. I did though think that Pride & Prejudice & Zombies was a tad unnecessary.