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MPAA, RIAA and The US DoJ Employing Seige Tactics Against MegaUpload and Kim Dotcom

by on27 June 2012 3242 times

49019-castle-under-siege-illustrationAlthough we have covered some of the MegaUpload case we have not really followed all of the ins and outs in the troubled and lopsided case. On the one hand almost everyone can agree that people should pay for their content, but in most cases the opinions about what has been done to the cloud storage service are against what the US DoJ has done. On the word of the MPAA and RIAA (yes it was only their accusations) the FBI and others began a costly investigation into MegaUpload and in the end came up with an indictment against a non-US based company (where the US has no jurisdiction) and seven members of its management team (most of which have never entered the US).

Now here is the interesting item. So far the US DoJ has been very cagey with the release of the actual evidence against MegaUpload and its managers; including not even giving it to the New Zealand courts that would preside over the extradition hearing for Kim Dotcom. Somehow this all sounds completely wrong just on that measure. There is also the matter of the terabytes of seized data. Not all of the data contains infringing content yet the US has been preventing legitimate users from accessing their data and not providing them much in the way of recourse. Again this is a heavy handed and potentially illegal move on the part of the FBI and DoJ.

Past the potentially illegally seized data the US (well really the MPAA and RIAA) is forcing Carpathia Hosting to foot the bill for the storage and maintenance of the servers. One MPAA spokesperson made the comment that this is an example of what happens to ISPs and service providers that help infringing sites. They have also denied access to any of the funds to help Dotcom pay his legal bills and originally did not release any for living expenses. The tactics right now remind me of many siege strategies where you hope to starve out the enemy inside the castle or fort hoping they will run out of food, water and the will to keep fighting.

If you are stunned by the conduct of the DoJ and how they are being led around by the content owners then you are not alone. There is a growing movement that feels there is more to this than just some pirated content. In fact it is possible that the actual move was intended to prevent a service that would allow musicians to directly present their works to the public without the need for singing with a record label. This is certainly something that the RIAA would not like to see happen as it would cut them out of a huge amount of money. How many larger groups would use a service once their contracts ran out so that they can actually benefit from their work instead of getting pennies for each CD that is put out.

One of the people that has been seen to directly support MegaUplaod and Dotcom is Steve Wozniak who actually went out to visit Dotcom at his home while in New Zealand. He later said to the Associated Press in a phone interview that “It's just kind of ridiculous what they did to his life,” and noted that “U.S. government is on thin ground.” Then again Steve Wozniak is also a founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation so we are not surprised that he feels that what the US is doing is heavy handed and just plain wrong.

We think that this is a case of the MPAA and RIAA knowing they cannot compete or destroy this type of service. Now all they are hoping to do is bankrupt the company, the host for their servers and Kim Dotcom. If they can pull this off it could be enough to set back the progress of cloud storage and file sharing companies as no one will want to end up on the wrong end of a suit like this where there are big charges, big fees, but small evidence. This goes for hosts, ISPs, and companies alike.

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Last modified on 27 June 2012
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