The plot is thickening in the MegaUpload case and as far as I can tell the whole thing makes it pretty clear that we don’t need SOPA or PIPA.
MegaUpload founder Kim DotCom (I kid you not) was arrested at his home in New Zealand last Thursday, the result of an indictment issued by the U.S. Dept. of Justice. As we mentioned last week, the indictment alleges MegaUpload was trafficking in copyrighted and pirated works.
I must admit I’d never heard of MegaUpload until this case broke but apparently it was quite popular. Network World, quoting Dan Bowman, CTO of Internet traffic equipment vendorSandvine, reports:
Before it was shut down, Megaupload accounted for nearly 1 percent of traffic in North America, putting it in league with Facebook, Bowman said.
Along with the allegedly nefarious reasons that people used to the site, MegaUpload also served as a storage and backup site, similar to GoogleDocs and Apple iCloud. But it also included a file-sharing capability that, the U.S. DoJ says, enabled users to illegally share copyrighted movies, music and more.
While some say MegaUpload is no different from, say, YouTube in allowing people to share videos, there’s a big difference: YouTube is maniacal about taking down illegal content. It even allows any copyright holder to use its automated tools for protecting their content.
The MegaUpload case is already starting to have a ripple effect. Consider this item from TorrentFreak:
Filesonic, one of the Internet’s leading cyberlocker services, has taken some drastic measures following the Megaupload shutdown and arrests last week. In addition to discontinuing its affiliates rewards program and not yet paying accrued money to members, the site has disabled all sharing functionality, leaving users only with access to their own files.
So, if the U.S. can issue an indictment that results in the arrest of a man in New Zealand on copyright infringement (and other) charges, and that same indictment results in other, similar companies voluntarily disabling services that can be used for sharing illegal content, why do we need PIPA and SOPA? Seems pretty clear that we don’t.