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MegaUpload Dares RIAA To Sue Them 255

Posted by timothy
from the come-and-take-it dept.
Dangerous_Minds writes "Yesterday, there were reports that the RIAA and MPAA were working with Mastercard to cut off payments to so-called 'rogue-websites' like MegaUpload. Today, a spokesperson from MegaUpload issued a response to the RIAA on ZeroPaid. Bonnie Lam of MegaUpload said, 'the vast majority of our revenue is coming from advertising.' She also said, 'Megaupload is a legitimate business operating within the boundaries of the law. In five years of operation we have not been sued by a single content owner. If the RIAA or MPAA would have legal grounds they would have taken us to court by now. We suggest that they attack us within the legal system and stop labeling us until they have something to show.'"
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MegaUpload Dares RIAA To Sue Them

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  • by devxo (1963088) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @09:32PM (#34656854)
    For those that don't know the story behind the guy of MegaUpload, MegaUpload and other sites in the same family, it's definitely an interesting one.. In summer TorrentFreak made an article called The Mega-Money World Of MegaUpload [torrentfreak.com].

    The whole article is interesting read, but here are some interesting bits:

    Kim ‘Kimble’ Schmitz [wikipedia.org] is a quite unbelievable character. Born in 1974 in Germany, he grew to become a computer hacker, successful businessman and convicted criminal. In 1998 Schmitz received two years’ probation for hacking into corporate networks and abusing telephone services but the draw of big money was just around the corner.

    In 2001 Schmitz pulled off a huge stock market bluff which netted him a small fortune. After buying shares worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in the almost bankrupt LetsBuyIt.com, he announced that he would invest 50 million euros in the company, but in reality he didn’t have the money. His declaration led to the biggest single-day rise on the German stock market which allowed Schmitz to sell his shares and pocket $1.5 million profit. He was arrested for insider-trading in 2002, sentenced to a term of 20 months and given a 100,000 euro fine.

    Also in 2001, one of Schmitz’s companies loaned another one 280,000 euros and conveniently both went bust shortly after. Schmitz later pleaded guilty to embezzlement and received another two years probation.

    According to a recent report from New Zealand, Schmitz is currently under investigation for using multiple names to register three luxury cars including a Rolls-Royce Phantom convertible. The cars are adorned with personal plates – GOD, WANTED and GUILTY.

    The vehicles are registered to an address in Coatesville, New Zealand, which turns out to be a very special venue indeed – Schmitz’s newly-acquired mansion and the country’s most expensive house, a snip at just over $20 million USD.

    An investigative piece found Schmitz in Hong Kong business records with the new name "Kim Tim Jim Vestor", allegedly having a Finnish passport, acting as director of several "Mega-" companies, among them Megaupload Ltd. and Megarotic Ltd.

    As of 2008, Kim currently lives on the top floor of the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong with his wife and child. He goes by an alias of “Kim Vestor.” http://www.gfy.com/showthread.php?p=15096149 [gfy.com]

    • by tomhudson (43916) <`moc.nosduh-arab ... `nosduh.arabrab'> on Thursday December 23, 2010 @09:40PM (#34656914) Journal
      $1.5 million profit. $100,000 Euro fine and 20 months free room and board.

      There are millions of people who would sign up for that sort of deal.

    • Sounds like a self-important megalomaniac fraudulent asshole, but damn if he doesn't have style.

  • Actually (Score:5, Interesting)

    by superpaladin (1521599) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @09:47PM (#34656960)
    I always wondered why they(and Rapidshare and other clones) haven't been sued into oblivion yet. Not that I am rooting against them, but if Napster was found guilty all those years ago...
    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      But remember, Napster was encouraging piracy. MegaUpload and friends claim that they would never do such a thing.

    • Re:Actually (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lehk228 (705449) on Friday December 24, 2010 @12:50AM (#34657780) Journal
      napster was designed for the purpose of infringing music copyrights, rapidshit, megaupload, etc. are generic file hosts like any free web site company, if you upload a blacklist file (checks by some hash function) it is instablocked, if a file gets a DMCA takedown it gets pulled.

      in order to find megaupload liable for infringement the court would be overturning the entire DMCA notice and take down system, and going back to hosts liable for user content. The entire internet industry would flip out over this and laws would be passed very quickly.
    • by jambox (1015589)
      It's just a generic file hosting facility. If the users happen to be uploading copyrighted media, how are they to know? Of course megaupload and such like are very popular for that exact purpose, for some strange reason... Also one defence is that they don't index their files so you can't go to their site and search for "bieber MP3", you have to be privy to an existing link somehow, perhaps someone posted it on a forum. That's where filestube.com comes in, but since that's a completely separate company... I
    • Rapidshare have always responded swiftly to my DMCA requests.

      Most of the file sharing sites are the same.

      That has to give them at least some protection...

    • by Targon (17348)

      There are some very basic concepts out there when it comes to Internet Service Providers. For many people, an ISP is just an Internet Access Provider to connect people to the Internet, but the reality is that any company that provides a service on the Internet is an ISP. Now, there are some basic things that go back to the early days, before AOL was even really on the Internet, and only had a connection to send e-mail to/from the Internet. First off, if an ISP does not filter content in any way, th

  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @10:10PM (#34657102) Homepage Journal

    What's in your wallet?

  • Not a safe move. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EWAdams (953502) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @10:11PM (#34657116) Homepage
    People don't sue because they have legal grounds. They sue because they think they can force the other side to spend so much money that they'll cave. Most lawsuits are settled in favor of whoever has deeper pockets. Being in the right isn't enough; you have to be in the right and rich. Otherwise it's better to keep your head down... sadly. If the US ever gets around to tort reform (yeah, right), this situation may change.
    • by Gerzel (240421)

      No just rich.

      Being in the right helps and sometimes it even wins against any amount of money, but short of those situations rich always wins, at least in the US.

      We have the best legal system money has bought.

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      Is this cause or reality? I mean most people with the deepest pockets take more time to protect themselves, meaning they are less apt to get sued.

      On the converse, less people without deep pockets spend the money to protect themselves and they usually have a smaller grasp of the laws. I don't know how many "artists" I know who think simply mailing an envelope with their songs in it has the same effect as a registered copyright on file at the copyright office if someone takes their songs. And even after maili

    • by EdIII (1114411)

      What's even more appalling is that when we all get together for a class action lawsuit to "even out the odds" we end up waiting a few years for a complimentary fucking pack of doodads or 30-day of free service from the company that screwed us all over.

      There really isn't protection in numbers either.....

    •   Assuming, of course, that those suing aren't being taken to the cleaners by ambulance chasing lawyers who they look up in the yellow pages.

        Like everything else, this is hardly a simple problem.

      SB

  • Wikileaks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mr100percent (57156) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @10:11PM (#34657118) Homepage Journal

    I feel like once they did this for WikiLeaks, the floodgates opened and now Mastercard is going to be under pressure to cancel accounts left and right. Heck, why isn't Mastercard closing the accounts for the Ku Klux Klan? How come you can still donate using Mastercard?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The ruling class doesn't mind racism. "When white working people and black working people are fighting each other, they're not fighting us."

    • Re:Wikileaks (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Pharmboy (216950) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @10:31PM (#34657214) Journal

      They shouldn't be closing accounts for the KKK. As much as I despise the KKK, they currently are acting within the 1st amendment of the constitution, and imho, businesses like Mastercard shouldn't discriminate against companies whose politics they disagree with, like the KKK or Wikileaks. It sets a bad precedent, and while legal, isn't cricket.

      • Re:Wikileaks (Score:5, Informative)

        by FudRucker (866063) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @10:57PM (#34657318)
        all the constitution & bill of rights dont mean shit in the real world, all those two documents are used for is to brainwash grammar school children in to thinking the government institutions are actually benevolent, so they wont realize what a bunch of corrupted tyrannical criminals the government is until they are over 40 years old...
        • Re:Wikileaks (Score:5, Insightful)

          by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki.cox@net> on Friday December 24, 2010 @12:04AM (#34657620)

          When I was a kid, I was taught that the Government existed, in America, as a reflection of the people, and the Constitution and Bill of Rights were a reflection of those goals.

          If the Government is malevolent, cruel, vile, and evil, maybe that's not the Government's fault.

          • When I was a kid, I was taught that the Government existed, in America, as a reflection of the people, and the Constitution and Bill of Rights were a reflection of those goals.

            They want to make the people feel somewhat in control so that they keep wasting their votes on the same two parties over and over and act like nothing is wrong. It's such a shame that the government was given so much power, and that many people don't see a problem with this. The government, for the most part, doesn't even have to listen to them.

            • by Klinky (636952)

              "The government, for the most part, doesn't even have to listen to them."

              Nor does a large corporation for that matter... Maybe there is an issue with size, at what point does an organization become so large and powerful that it's detrimental to society?

              • at what point does an organization become so large and powerful that it's detrimental to society?

                Probably big enough so that it's able to cut off a major source of funding for someone or something or effortlessly censor vast amounts of speech.

              • by ultranova (717540)

                Maybe there is an issue with size, at what point does an organization become so large and powerful that it's detrimental to society?

                Well, seeing how an organization exists in the first place because at least one person thought he could accomplish more together with someone else than on his own, I'd say that organization of any size is potentially dangerous. However, we humans can't live without them, so that leaves the option of trying to leash and regulate them to limit the harm they can do. Democracy is

          • Yes. People hide their own dishonesty from themselves though, pushing away and obscuring the results so that it looks like something else. Give almost anyone the opportunity, and they'll be a tyrant. On the other hand, maybe it's too much to expect for people to resist the temptation. Other countries that like to congratulate themselves for being less evil than America are sometimes mistaking virtue for differing circumstances I think.

      • Re:Wikileaks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by icebraining (1313345) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @11:13PM (#34657396) Homepage

        But that's the point, they have set the precedent with Wikileaks. If they close some accounts despite their legality, we must assume they actively support those they don't shut down.

        • by dcw3 (649211)

          You're welcome to make that assumption, but jumping to that conclusion doesn't make you right. Most companies react to legal notices, bad press, or public pressure purely for financial reasons. To say that they "actively support" the others is simply being naive.

      • by mcvos (645701)

        They shouldn't be closing accounts for the KKK. As much as I despise the KKK, they currently are acting within the 1st amendment of the constitution, and imho, businesses like Mastercard shouldn't discriminate against companies whose politics they disagree with, like the KKK or Wikileaks. It sets a bad precedent, and while legal, isn't cricket.

        But they chose to set that precedent anyway. And then it makes me wonder why they like racism so much more than free press.

    • Exactly, this shit is a weapon now.
  • Needs A New Tag (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IonOtter (629215) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @10:21PM (#34657168) Homepage

    Slashdot needs a new tag for stories like this?

    I nominate "bitchslap".

  • by arbiter1 (1204146) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @11:58PM (#34657594)
    When it comes to other big companies like megaupload that have money to fight. They turn to dirty crap like this. they go after torrent indexer's, why haven't they hit Google? You can search out torrents on Google just like any other torrent search site.
  • Oh really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rudy_wayne (414635) on Friday December 24, 2010 @12:28AM (#34657702)

    Bonnie Lam of MegaUpload said, 'the vast majority of our revenue is coming from advertising.'

    A quick check of Megaupload's website shows that their prices are about the same as all the other companies this same business. If the "vast majority" of their revenue comes from advertising then why aren't their prices significantly lower, undercutting the competition and bringing in even more customers? I have a feeling someone at MegaUpload has a big ego and is saying things they may regret later.

    • Because, IIRC, the same company owns nearly all of the "other companies" in the same business.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 24, 2010 @12:42AM (#34657750)

    This is not about copyright infringement this is about media company's attacking the internet. They want you to be watching TV, going to the movies and renting DVD they don't want you entertaining yourself on the internet.

    • by dontmakemethink (1186169) on Friday December 24, 2010 @04:08AM (#34658404)

      Mod parent UP!

      I can speak for the music industry as a sound engineer and touring musician. The RIAA cannot bitch about the theft of the fake art they manufacture and promote. Produce and promote real talent and people will pay for it voluntarily, guaranteed.

      For every successful band there's a dozen equally good candidates that the MIAA quash so they can produce and promote one band to capture the same market all the others would have shared. Then they take all the profits and pay the artists only slightly more than each of the dozen would have made. It is literally the mandate of the RIAA to cripple artistic development so that they make sure their offerings are only as good as will galvanize the market to their brand at the least expense. Just ask any failed musician with a huge advance they have to pay back because their A&R guy fucked them.

      Napster was so popular because it was a fascinating new avenue available to people, not knowing the harm it caused. Now that it's apparent the damage piracy causes to musical development and diversity, people will pony up for artists they respect. I wish those most affected by the early days of piracy would step up and challenge both piracy and the industry's response to it. As poorly accepted as Metallica's "Beer GOOD, Napster BAD" impression of anti-piracy was, it was bang on. If say, Chris Cornell and Billy Corgan now stepped up to reinforce that argument for the sake of emerging artists, the message would be much better received.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I can speak for the music industry as a sound engineer and touring musician.

        No, you can not. You can only speak for yourself. You presume yourself right into being an asshole. This is the propaganda technique of the "Appeal to Authority".

        It is literally the mandate of the RIAA to cripple artistic development so that they make sure their offerings are only as good as will galvanize the market to their brand at the least expense.

        It is the purpose of the majority of businesses to expend as little money as they can to return as much profit as possible. It does not preclude the creation of art outside of their system. This is a red herring. The *AA are the ones who benefit most from strong copyright laws, because it enables them to make the most profit from their noninvolveme

  • My question is:
    Does the MPAA/RIAA fall under the Legislative, Judicial or the Executive branch of government?
    Or are they just buyers of "bought dogs"?

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