#20 - Megaupload

The Megaupload legacy is unraveling for Kim Dotcom (Photo credit: Ricard Clupés)

Kim Dotcom’s legal team will be working overtime this year.

In addition to the U.S. Department of Justice’s ongoing battle to have the Megaupload founder extradited from New Zealand,  Dotcom is now facing major lawsuits from the MPAA and RIAA.

Neither the movie nor the record industry in the U.S. have much time for the man, with both groups citing his Megaupload file-sharing service as a source of “massive copyright infringement,” before it was shut down two years ago.

The triple threat legal action has the potential to add up to three strikes for this larger-than-life figurehead of online piracy, which many hope will see him out of the piracy game for good.


Rewarding Piracy

At the heart of both the MPAA and RIAA lawsuits is the assertion that Megaupload not only facilitated, but encouraged and rewarded wide-scale pirate activity. The record industry is the latest to level this charge. In its suit it explains:

“[Megaupload’s] Uploader Rewards program promised premium subscribers cash and other financial incentives if they uploaded popular works, primarily copyrighted works, to Megaupload’s servers.”

The MPAA outlines a similar complaint here.

Dotcom and his former colleagues at the under-fire file-sharer, majority shareholder Mathias Ortmann and programmer Bram van der Kolk, were not simple bystanders, they were actively engaged in building a business based on exploiting the creative works of others without license or compensation. By rewarding users financially once files passed the 10,000 download mark, the defendants now find themselves on the end of this “massive” infringement tag that so befits the Mega brand that Dotcom has profited from over the years.

In a shaky-sounding defense, Kim Dotcom’s legal counsel plays down the importance of the rewards program and made the unconvincing case for Megaupload’s “robust notice and takedown system.” With the site having already failed that test and long since shut down by authorities, Dotcom’s last hope would appear to be fending off extradition and continuing to live the luxurious life in New Zealand.

Not that we’d be desperate to have such a disreputable character on these shores, but it’s high time for Kim Dotcom to head over and face the (stolen) music (and movies, TV shows etc.) With three potential legal strikes lined up, that long overdue cry of “OUT!” is ringing in the air.

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