This article was originally written by Chan Wern Shen on the old Lowyat.NET website.
Things went icky when the Federal Bureau of Investigation took down one of the largest file sharing sites on the internet – MegaUpload – just before the Chinese New Year break. The Feds also shut down 18 other sites in the Mega network, and put the site’s founder Kim Dot Com behind bars.
But up till today, the true nature of the massive swoop is still vague to laymen like you and I. While it would be easy to blame everything solely on the recent heat around SOPA, it seems that the FBI’s operations went deeper than the proposed (and subsequently overturned) legislation had us believing.
According to the folk over at TorrentFreak who took a closer look at the incidents surrounding the recent swoop and the 72-page indictment which followed, it seems that the authorities had already planned this operation months ago.
Story continues after the jump.
Online service providers such as file sharing and media hosting sites in the US are eligible for safe harbor under the DMCA from copyright infringement suits if they facilitate copyright holders with a set of tools to remove links to infringed works, but the indictment states that MegaUpload doesn’t qualify for protection because the site’s owners had full knowledge that they were hosting illegal files and thus willfully infringed the copyrights.
This fact is currently being illustrated during the trial by prosecutors with a number of internal emails between MegaUpload employees that discuss everything from sharing a link to a cracked copy of Alcohol 120% to fully blown email conversations between employees hunting down their favorite TV series on the servers. To make matters worse, it seems that key staff members also uploaded copyrighted material to their own servers themselves.
Due to the touchy nature of the subject, this trial has been dubbed many unflattering names such as Hollywood VS the internet, the Americans are trying to control the internet, and of course the Mega Conspiracy, but whatever you name it doesn’t really bother us. What bothers us (and probably every other file sharing service out there) is how intent the FBI are at taking down MegaUpload. Is this really a fight against piracy? Or is this a Hollywood backed witch hunt?
Here at Lowyat.NET, we’re all for going original. However due to the distinct lack of distribution methods for legally purchased digital content, and of course years of habitual unpunished piracy, it is definitely going to take a long time before Malaysia goes 100% original. Till then however, our hearts go out to the throng of legit users who have lost access to their backups on MegaUpload.
Head on over to TorrentFreak to read up the full article.