Megaupload, the popular file-sharing site, was just shut down by the Feds following an order issued by a U.S District Court.
As you can read in the image below, the federal grand Jury has indicted several individual and news sites report that the US Department of Justice arrested four people and executed more than 20 search warrants in the U.S. and eight foreign countries, seizing 18 domain names and servers run in Virginia and Washington, D.C.
A small search on the internet and I found the court document – It is a 72 pages – you can view on http://mireille.it/MegaIndictment.pdf ,
Here is a print screen of who the Indicted people are
What jumps out is that all the names look so “un-american-ish” – so here is a little info about each of them – taken from justice.gov article on the operation [source] ( this site is probably down now due to DDOS )
- Kim Schmitz – also known as Kim dotcom – Founder of MegaUpload – German.
Finn Batato, 38, a citizen and resident of Germany, who is the chief marketing officer;
Julius Bencko, 35, a citizen and resident of Slovakia, who is the graphic designer;
Sven Echternach, 39, a citizen and resident of Germany, who is the head of business development;
Mathias Ortmann, 40, a citizen of Germany and resident of both Germany and Hong Kong, who is the chief technical officer, co-founder and director;
Andrus Nomm, 32, a citizen of Estonia and resident of both Turkey and Estonia, who is a software programmer and head of the development software division;
Bram van der Kolk, aka Bramos, 29, a Dutch citizen and resident of both the Netherlands and New Zealand, who oversees programming and the underlying network structure for the Mega conspiracy websites.
Dotcom, Batato, Ortmann and van der Kolk were arrested today in Auckland, New Zealand, by New Zealand authorities.
As the news immediately spread on twitter, very few words can better describe the reactions then this priceless picture
Yes, as you can see 6 out of 10 worldwide trending topics were about the Megaupload case. It takes no genius to tell that a shitstorm of hacking was released and obviously people around the world were seeking their own justice.
#AnonymousFTW (for the win) was leading – people were cursing at the RIAA and Universal Music – Department of Justice – and Tango Down was trending! – “Tango Down” is the military hacking word when a “website” is down.
If Tango Down is trending – trust me, this is one hell of a hacking shitstorm. The Anon chat rooms were busy to the point you could not read words as they scrolled. Here is a print screen of an anon complaining on the IRC channel.
Damn, It’s impossible to read a fucking line here… slow down guys
Here are also some anon tweets that speak of the speed of response and number of people joining in operation Megaupload
FBI, Department of Justice, Universal Music Group, RIAA and Motion Picture Association of America sites were down within minutes – and as sarcastically anons pointed, they got their forced SOPA blackout !
Making sense of it all
No Trial: websites and domain names are a multi-gazillion dollar businesses with costs and all – regardless of opinion about megaupload or similar sites offering controversial services that can be turned by users for piracy – shutting down a site is like a death sentence – I find it mind boggling that it was done without trial and legit users worldwide ,not just US citizens, were affected- they had no previous warning their data is gonna be wiped out and
Besides, how on earth does the policy of one govt get to decide? Unsatisfied with being real life global police force, does the US wants to be Internet police force too?
Timing of the bust : It’s a pretty spectacular coincidence that the Dept of Justice was able to destroy a copyright villain without any help from SOPA or PIPA just one day after the internet’s giant SOPA protest.
Quoting gizmodo :
Do you hear that, lawmakers? The law, as it stands right now was able to kill Megaupload.com, no draconian censorship powers required. The power you have now—with due process—is achieving the things you say you want to do. Your IP is protected. Online piracy was stopped, except for the dozens of Megaupload rivals like HulkShare and MediaFire. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re next.
See – we don’t need NEW draconian censorship powers !
The villains of the town – a closer look
Here is a little graph about Megaupload
Yes, companies and humans need file sharing ! in fact, Megaupload owners during previous disputes argued that most of their traffic is legal and offered to co-ordinate on the illegal part.
So seriously, is there an effort to crack down on file sharing? IPv6 is gonna be out by end of next year and will render any crackdown impossible. Why are governments engaging in such efforts ?
Crime and punishment – quoting Justice.org
“Seven individuals and two corporations have been charged in the United States with running an international organized criminal enterprise allegedly responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works, through Megaupload.com and other related sites, generating more than $175 million in criminal proceeds “
“This action is among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States and directly targets the misuse of a public content” etc
Now, let’s hear out possible sentence
“charged with engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement. The individuals each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the charge of conspiracy to commit racketeering, five years in prison on the charge of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, 20 years in prison on the charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering and five years in prison on each of the substantive charges of criminal copyright infringement.
Is it me or is that a bit too strong language and too much penalty ? no death sentence yet ? (sarcasm)
Could it be that after getting used to reading wikileaks and the kind of crimes that happen that my judgement is impaired? $175 million dollars compared to the thousands of crimes against humanity, kinda seem ridiculous.
In an effort to”get things right” – here are some of my findings
“Going to sue customers for file sharing is like trying to sell soap by throwing dirt on your customers,” Merrill said. He then deadpanned, “That’s not theft, that’s try-before-you-buy marketing and we weren’t even paying for it… so it makes sense to sue them.” [source]
What do the starving artists think of this ?
I really don’t buy that all this crackdown is to protect the starving artists – but anyway – here is what some of the TOP artists say
“I like what’s going on because I feel closer to the fans and the people who appreciate the music. It’s the democratisation of music in a way, and music is a gift. That’s what it should be, a gift.” — Shakira
“If people hear it I’m happy. I’m not going to say go and steal my album, but you know I think its great that young people who don’t have a lot of money can listen to music and be exposed to new things.” — Norah Jones
“If you love music you’re going to make it anyway. You’ll find an audience, and you may not make like millions of dollars but you’ll make enough to have a house and a family and a car.” — Nelly Furtado
Another controversial point is that a Bunch Of RIAA Label Artists Endorse MegaUpload even tho RIAA Insists It’s A ‘Rogue’ Site.
Among the stars taking part: P Diddy, Will.i.am, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, The Game, Mary J Blige , Kim Kardashian, Floyd Mayweather and Jamie Foxx.
What do Americans think of this ?
According to a CBS News poll, in 2009 58% of Americans who follow the file sharing issue, considered it acceptable in at least some circumstances; with 18 to 29 year olds this percentage reached as much as 70%.
It means that general tendency in the US, specially with the younger general – a 70% support of file sharing
The cute cat theory
a last thing you must read about is the cute cat theory - it explains it all – trust me. I’ll blog about it in details later