RIP Megaupload

As the United States flails about with their banhammer trying desperately to eradicate the net of all traces of piracy, another casualty has been added to the list and this time it is a major blow to pirateers. Megaupload, one of the world’s largest file sharing sites, has been taken down by the Department of Justice on Thursday January 19, 2012 thanks to an indictment by the Justice Department.

This indictment states that Megaupload Limited is part of a group of individuals and corporations that have cost copyright holders over $500 million in lost revenue. Now those involved with Megaupload are being arrested and face extensive charges. These charges include: 20 years max prison sentence for racketeering, 5 years prison for copyright infringement conspiracy, 20 years in prison for money laundering, and another 5 years on other related charges.

Megaupload is one….was one of the most popular media uploading sites in the world and it gained a ton of exposure thanks to several celebrities who endorsed it. Some celebrities include Kim Kardashian, Swizz Beatz, Kanye West, and more. No news yet on whether or not the celebrities who endorsed the site will face any legal charges however the executives at Megaupload are being rounded up by the authorities.

Kim Schmitz (aka Kim Tim Jim Vestor, or Kim Dotcom) was Megaupload’s founder was arrested for the above charges as well as several other executives at Megaupload. Despite prior felony charges on a “conspiracy” he continues to deny any copyright infringement involvement.

This assault against Megaupload and its executives began just one day after the massive internet protest on the 18th against SOPA and PIPA. The protest was spearheaded by Wikipedia and involved several other large sites (Google and Craigslist) in an attempt to get internet users to contact the United States congress and voice their opinion. Could be just a coincidence that the Justice Department staged this massive takedown of Megaupload right after the blackout of Wikipedia but that’s doubtful.

As you may expect, there are thousands upon thousands of incredibly angry and outraged Megaupload users that are taking the initiative. The infamous hacking group called Anonymous has taken up the voice of the general public in an attempt to fight back at the United States Justice Department. Anonymous has used their hacking skillz to take down sites that belong both to the United States government and to the Recording Industry. Some sites include Justice.gov, NPAA.org, RIAA.com, UniversalMusic.com, and more.

Anonymous stated via a Twitter account that they are staging their largest attack yet in response to the United States current actions. Expect to see more and more sites being taken down by Anonymous as they take up the fight against SOPA and PIPA in their own way.

 

GoDaddy Loses 37k Members Due To Stance On SOPA

SOPA has enraged thousands upon thousands of internet users since its original proposal by the Texas Rep. Unfortunately SOPA is still being considered despite the continued opposition from people everywhere and it’s gained the support of over a hundred businesses and corporations.

Amongst the list of SOPA supporters (which can be found here) GoDaddy, the popular internet registrar, was amongst them. GoDaddy actually allowed the United States to illegally seize numerous domains in their “quest to stop internet piracy”. Now GoDaddy is reeling from the aftermath of their stance.

Many web businesses depend solely upon their website to function, their livelihoods depend on their site, and for GoDaddy and SOPA to compromise their livelihoods in such a way then they are rightfully concerned. Many of these concerned website owners have begun flocking in the thousands to other registrars in fear of having their site seized.

GoDaddy, due to their supportiveness of SOPA, lost over 37,000 members and the count is still rising. Since then GoDaddy has, conveniently, reversed their stance on SOPA to a neutral one and they are even calling website owners in a desperate attempt to regain some of their lost members however this attempt is being met with little success.

The fact that GoDaddy so quickly switched its support just goes to show that they only do what is more convenient for their company at the current time. They didn’t think about the consequences of their actions and how it would affect their customers, instead they only changed their “opinion” after they realized just how strongly many users felt about SOPA.

It is widely known how dangerous SOPA is and how devastating it would be to website owners because merely linking to a site that distributes pirated materials could result in extreme fines. Additionally SOPA would allow the United States to seize websites without due process and retain them from website owners – the owners basically have no way of fighting back and their entire lives could be destroyed due to an unfair act passed by greedy companies.

GoDaddy will likely think twice about risky stances in the future, especially after losing so many members after their recent fiasco. Unfortunately the damage is done and we can only hope that SOPA is voted down sometime in the near future.