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Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF Seeking Information of Legal Users of Megaupload 165

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the caught-in-the-crossfire dept.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, with the assistance of Carpathia Hosting, has issued a call for information on users who lost legitimate data as part of the Megaupload takedown. No promises are made at this point, but Carpathia at least notes: "We have no immediate plans to reprovision some or all of the Megaupload servers. This means that there is no imminent data loss for Megaupload customers. If this situation changes, we will post a notice at least 7 days in advance of reprovisioning any Megaupload servers."
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EFF Seeking Information of Legal Users of Megaupload

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  • > We have no immediate plans to reprovision some or all of the Megaupload servers. This means that there is no imminent data loss for Megaupload customers.

    I don't get it. Isn't the issue that megaupload customers ARE going to lose their data very soon? In that case, wouldn't the lack of reprovisioning just maintain the status quo?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LostCluster (625375) *

      MegaUpload's problem is that they never implemented a DMCA Takedown system like YouTube has had for years now. If they do that, they can likely have their servers back quickly... if they don't and nobody steps in to pay the bills then the data is already lost.

      • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by spikestabber (644578) <spike@[ ]kes.net ['spy' in gap]> on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @01:41PM (#38893237) Homepage
        A massive civil lawsuit that proved they were not fully DMCA compliant would had been sufficient.
        Surely they would had cleaned up their act if they were indeed found acting unlawful. What happend was completely unnecessary.
        • Re:I'm confused... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by spikestabber (644578) <spike@[ ]kes.net ['spy' in gap]> on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @01:51PM (#38893419) Homepage
          Furthermore, what annoys me is they let it go on for 7 whole years while all the industry did was whine about them, before finally getting the FBI to take action.
          They had more than enough US presense for a successful civil case, and of course disobeying a court order will be criminal contempt of court. Only then should the FBI get involved.
          Suddenly being held liable for hundreds of millions in damages would make them rethink thier flawed DMCA policies.
          • > what annoys me is they let it go on for 7 whole years while all the industry did was whine about them, before finally getting the FBI to take action...

            If the unknown site XYZ is taken down, nobody gives a fsck.
            If the world renowned site like megaupload is taken down, the event makes headlines, and the more controversy it causes in the details of the procedure, the better (e.g. the... ummm... terrorist way to compute damages). It fuels fear, uncertainty and doubt.

            Back to topic:
            "Hey megaupload users who

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            What if the feds were using them as a honeypot for their corporate masters? Many of the servers were in the USA weren't they? trivially easy to get a "STFU" warrant that lets them monitor any traffic they want in the states. What better way to scare the peasant than for the Mafiaa to announce in a few months 'Did you use the hugely popular Megaupload for illegal files? Well you may be getting a lawsuit from us! hell we might be watching you right now...boo!". That kind of setup would be right up their alley

        • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Baloroth (2370816) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @01:56PM (#38893497)

          Surely they would had cleaned up their act if they were indeed found acting unlawful. What happend was completely unnecessary.

          While I agree at least partially with the last sentence of your post, the problem was MegaUpload knew they were acting unlawfully, and profited through such behavior, with full knowledge of the illegality of the content they were hosting. They wouldn't have changed. In fact, they didn't, after repeated notifications. Google even ceased doing business with them. Two years ago, which is (probably not coincidentally) around the time this investigation started. When other legitimate businesses stop doing business with you because they think you are breaking the law, that is a good sign you need to clean up.

          With that said, the whole mess is blown out of proportion and was taken way too far. I think someone is trying to make an example out of MegaUpload.

          • by FudRucker (866063)
            ^[citation needed]^
          • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by localman57 (1340533) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @02:07PM (#38893657)
            Maybe, but there is another distinction here that I don't think is getting enough attention. Unlike Napster, or Limewire, Or Kazzaa, or Torrents, or [insert whatever's next here] where people are just sharing things, as I understand it the people who sourced the copyrighted material could actually make money by posting the stuff. In order for you to actually collect, Megaupload had to know where to send the check. The government now has lots of MegaUpload's records. It seems to me that there could be an argument that everyone who profited this way is subject to the same sort of RICO prosecutions that they typically use for mobsters. Maybe winnable, maybe not, but probably strong enough to get past the threshold that you need to bring charges and begin the legal process. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.
            • No, there was no way to do that on megaupload. Depositfiles, hotfile, fileserve.... All those shitty sites with 5 minute wait periods had that, but megaupload did not, that's why it was almost never used to upload freshly pirated media, and mostly for people who actually wanted to see it proliferate.
              • This is the great irony about the whole situation.

                MU is being held up as the bastion for moneymakers, but anyone remotely familiar with filesharing knows MU was one host the moneymakers avoided like the plague.

      • by Shagg (99693)

        They did have a DMCA takedown system. The complaints usually center around "how" they were handling takedowns, not that they were ignoring them.

        • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @03:40PM (#38894863)

          And this is where it gets stupid and proves the judge was most likely paid off.

          MegaUpload maintained files in a file system to minimize wasted, duplicated data. A file available by one link might be actually pointed to by a dozen links, each "uploaded" by a different person.

          Now, here's where it gets dicey:
          - If the file was something known illegal pointed out to them, like child pornography, they took it down AND they nuked the file details so it couldn't be reuploaded later. Because there is NO jurisdiction in which child pornography would be legal.

          - If on the other hand it was a DMCA request, they took down the link indicated only.

          Why? Because we can easily have the following situation:
          1) Person #1, not authorized to put up the file, uploads it.
          2) Person #2, who IS authorized to put up the file, uploads it.

          This is not out of the realm of possibility, since a legitimate use for MU was to send files to someone that wouldn't fit into email for collaborative purposes.

          Now, Person #1's link is taken down by DMCA complaint. But person #2's link is still authorized. The file itself was the same file: one person was authorized, and behaving within the law, one person was not. DMCA is satisfied by making the offending link no longer available.

          But they forum-shopped till they found a bribable, brain-dead judge too stupid to understand the principles involved so they could get rubber stamps to have their little Kristallnacht reenactment instead.

          • And this is where it gets stupid and proves the judge was most likely paid off.

            But they forum-shopped till they found a bribable, brain-dead judge too stupid to understand the principles involved so they could get rubber stamps to have their little Kristallnacht reenactment instead.

            Ten points for the latest proof of Godwin's Law.

            Ten bonus points for geek fanservice --- the judge had to have been bribed.

            This is not out of the realm of possibility, since a legitimate use for MU was to send files to someone that wouldn't fit into email for collaborative purposes.

            Mega has been charged with actively soliciting and paying for the upload of high-value copyrighted files while faking compliance with take-down orders by knowingly leaving other links in place --- as documented in internal e-mails.

            Many things are possible in this world. But some things are more likely than others.

      • by tmk (712144)
        Actually they claimed to have a DMCA takedown system.
    • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @01:39PM (#38893193)

      MegaUpload's assets have been frozen, so they can't pay their hosting bills. Carpathia Hosting has several terabytes of web-facing storage that are no longer earning revenue. Eventually, they will sell that capacity to someone else, and the data will be overwritten. This has to be one of the most misunderstood, misquoted, and misdirected stories of the year so far.

      There's no FDIC for data, and the bank just closed. Caveat Emptor.

      • Well a simple way to go around this issue would be to offer to sell the datas to the owners.
        Any registerer MegaUpload customer could buy back it's data at a fair price, let's say 20€ per gigabyte.
        This is a good price if you have your thesis stored there with 2 years of work and you forgot to make any backup
        and it discourage anybody who uploaded tons of bootleg videos as it is more expensive than the original dvd.

        They could remove all the copies of DCMA notified data, and make a special provision for no

    • I don't get it. Isn't the issue that megaupload customers ARE going to lose their data very soon? In that case, wouldn't the lack of reprovisioning just maintain the status quo?

      The issue is that Megaupload doesn't have money to pay the company owning the servers that it uses to store data. If you hire server space, and stop paying, then eventually the data is gone. The server company says "we don't need the space right now, so we won't delete anything right now". Which is very nice of them, because right now their servers are not paid for. However, I wouldn't expect them to restore access to the data until all payments have been made.

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @01:26PM (#38893005)

    MegaUpload's shutdown didn't need SOPA to pass... it's just a simple DMCA escalation that says if you ignore DMCA Takedown letters, your server farm will be ordered to down your server. The DMCA is still missing the provision for a penalty for an invalid takedown request but that's what we should be telling Congress to work on.

    • by The Moof (859402) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @01:50PM (#38893397)

      The DMCA is still missing the provision for a penalty for an invalid takedown request

      No, it's there. I'm not aware of it ever actually being enforced, but it's definitely there.

    • by Shagg (99693)

      The DMCA is still missing the provision for a penalty for an invalid takedown request

      I think there already is one, but it never gets enforced.

    • by Artraze (600366) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @02:18PM (#38893781)

      > MegaUpload's shutdown didn't need SOPA to pass...

      Let's not get ahead of ourselves. They certainly did a lot a damage and alleged a great many things, but nothing has actually been held up by a court yet.

      I've since started to wonder if that's not actually the idea. They make this giant, destructive raid using existing laws. If they win, they've set a precedent for using the current laws in a way that makes SOPA look tame. If they lose, they now have a rock-solid use-case for SOPA: the current laws, unlike everyone argued, are really not enough to take down those that everyone concedes are 'evil pirates'.

      It's a bit of a conspiracy theory, to be sure, but _nothing_ gets a controversial law passed like a hyped up case falling apart because it doesn't exist.

      • by webheaded (997188)
        How does what they did make SOPA look lame? They did a huge investigation and then took the servers down as part of a court order, right? I don't like it, but this is not the same as SOPA. Someone actually brought formal charges after doing an investigation...a pretty large part of what made SOPA so deplorable.
        • by Artraze (600366)

          The trouble is that this 'court order' is simply a grand jury indictment. (I don't know if they got anything else which didn't stem directly from that, but if they did, it doesn't seem to have been reported/relevant.) Grand juries have no due process, and no instruction on the law. The prosecutors just make their completely one-sided case: their arguments, their witnesses, their evidence and the jury decides if it makes enough sense to be discussed in court. Or, and all this happens in secret.
          Read more:

    • DMCA? I really don't think New Zealand should be deporting Germans for breaking American copyright laws. What's next? Deporting Africans for breaking Thailand's laws about disrespecting their king? The whole thing is stupid and makes a mockery of our country's sovereignty.

  • by Marble68 (746305) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @01:27PM (#38893017) Homepage

    because if enough legitimate users rise up, doesn't it throw the entire position of megaupload only "existing for piracy" into question?

    • by Anrego (830717) * on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @01:32PM (#38893109)

      The big problem here is that piracy probably _was_ a huge part of megaupload.

      Not saying their wern't lots of legitimate users, but lets not ignore reality here.

      • by g0bshiTe (596213)
        I'd say the lion portion of usage of it was indeed piracy.
      • by Hentes (2461350)

        There are other services much more suitable for piracy. Megaupload is really not something you would want to use for downloading large amounts of data, or multiple files. I doubt they have that many pirates.

        • by mark-t (151149)
          You can doubt it all you want... but that doesn't make it any less true. It's fairly trivial to show show that a vast majority content on megaupload was copyrighted, and unlikely to have been uploaded to it with any permission from the copyright holder.
          • by robot256 (1635039) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @04:49PM (#38895775)

            You can doubt it all you want... but that doesn't make it any less true. It's fairly trivial to show show that a vast majority content on megaupload was copyrighted, and unlikely to have been uploaded to it with any permission from the copyright holder.

            If it's so trivial to prove, why don't you share the proof with us? So far all I see are border-line-trolling comments saying it is "obvious" without stating why. Maybe it's because that's all those commenters have ever used it for, but that's anecdotal not statistical evidence.

            Plus, as a recent article about Youtube shows, "likely infringing" and "actually infringing" are two very different things. If you go around claiming that anybody uploading stuff who isn't a big name is by default infringing, you end up trampling on a lot of peoples' rights.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          There are other services much more suitable for piracy. Megaupload is really not something you would want to use for downloading large amounts of data, or multiple files. I doubt they have that many pirates.

          Well, MU is quite suited for piracy - sure there were delays and such if you were a free user, but honestly, if you were grabbing a dozen files, you'd copy the links into JDownloader and let it do the waiting for you.

          HTTP downloaders were used as a response to the lawsuits over bittorrent - as the users

      • by kiwimate (458274)

        The big problem here is that piracy probably _was_ a huge part of megaupload.

        And the people behind Megaupload *knew* about it and *encouraged* it.

        Besides which, I haven't seen anyone claiming that Megaupload existed only for piracy, as the poster to whom you replied stated. It was just that there was a lot of piracy and everyone was pretty blatant about it - including the owners of Megaupload.

        • by mark-t (151149)

          So let's see if I have this straight...

          1. Somebody develops a new sharing technology or service that people can use for legitimate purposes.
          2. Its effectiveness is such that it eventually draws the attention of the piracy crowd.
          3. Eventually, piracy is the dominant use of the service.
          4. The service gets shut down.

          Basically, what they are encourage people to do is not ever invent anything new or innovative, ever again, because when it gets used for illegal purposes, it will be shut down.

          Can you imagine the

          • by Shagg (99693)

            That's exactly what they want to do. Sharing technology is a direct threat to their distribution monopoly. I'm sure the copyright cartel would love nothing more than to kill/scare off all file sharing sites.

          • by Anrego (830717) *

            I wouldn't really call megaupload an innocent victim here. At least attempting to prevent illegal usage of your service is all part of the game. At a minimum, cooperating with law enforcement.

            Megaupload in my opinion didn't just ignore, but practically encouraged illegal use of their system.

          • by kiwimate (458274)

            Not quite.

            Your description establishes a passive acceptance on the part of the "somebody" who develops that new technology. Megaupload's founders, on the contrary, actively and deliberately encouraged piracy.

            Sorry to do this, but...

            It's the difference between a car manufacturer developing a very powerful vehicle that becomes the favored tool of drug smugglers, and a car manufacturer that develops such a vehicle and then deliberately arranges meetings with drug warlords to promote that vehicle.

            (Please, to an

        • by sjames (1099)

          Again, no evidence presented. I don't doubt that they knew there were infringing uses in the same way the manufacturers of crowbars, hammers, and kitchen cutlery are aware that their products are sometimes used illegally. Encouraged is another matter as is the idea that they knew of individual instances and did nothing about it.

    • If enough paying customers stand up, they can retrieve their own data and start a legit service... otherwise, the data will be lost and the company gone.

    • if enough legitimate users rise up, doesn't it throw the entire position of megaupload only "existing for piracy" into question?

      Labouring under the false assumption that the MAFIAA and their lapdogs care about the rule of law. The tipping point was Mega readying the launch of a streaming service.

    • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @03:12PM (#38894481)

      because if enough legitimate users rise up, doesn't it throw the entire position of megaupload only "existing for piracy" into question?

      Your dear little innocent boy bought dirt cheap hosting from a 300 lb fraudster who changed his name to Kim Dotcom and lived like Fat Elvis on an income his legitimate services couldn't possibly provide.

    • by brit74 (831798)

      because if enough legitimate users rise up, doesn't it throw the entire position of megaupload only "existing for piracy" into question?

      I wouldn't think the question of "did MegaUpload exist ONLY for piracy" is really that important. If pirate websites could protect themselves from takedown by hosting a few files that are legitimate (not copyright infringing), then that's a huge loophole in the system. Suddenly a pirate site could say, "Yeah, 99.9% of our content is copyright infringing, but I had a few

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      It does. But good luck finding both of those legitimate users.

  • by spikestabber (644578) <spike@[ ]kes.net ['spy' in gap]> on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @01:28PM (#38893047) Homepage
    If I rip an album and upload it for my personal use later, then thats fair-use as long as I never share said link with anyone else.
    The mere presence of copyrighted material in their account doesn't suddenly mean the users were pirates.
    • The problem was, people were using it for piracy and since MegaUpload didn't shut the piracy down, the whole site got shutdown at the data centers.

    • Actually, it probably wouldn't have been fair use, unless you encrypted it - since, at the very least, you did share it with MegaUpload without a license to do so.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Good point.

      A lot of XDA Devs used MU to host legally questionable materials - modded ROMs and such that weren't strictly AOSP compiles. They're technically infringements since they contain stuff not licensed with AOSP, but the files are really only useful to those who already have a license to that stuff (though no attempt was made to separate the "legal" downloaders from the "illegal" ones.

      Just one of those grey areas of copyright infringement. It's technically true, but those who can make use of it alread

  • by RazzleFrog (537054) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @01:33PM (#38893121)

    I didn't lose anything I didn't have backed up locally but what I did lose was the service I was using to send clients the photos I took for them. Plenty of alternatives, obviously, but how do I know which one would be next?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by nomadic (141991)
      You could pick one that doesn't violate the DMCA and probably be safe.
    • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@ w o r f.net> on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @01:50PM (#38893383)

      I didn't lose anything I didn't have backed up locally but what I did lose was the service I was using to send clients the photos I took for them. Plenty of alternatives, obviously, but how do I know which one would be next?

      Why not host it yourself? /. users are constantly harping on people to host their own email services, and hosting files for your clients seems like an easier task. Sure youc an go all fancy and the like with CGI filemanagers, or you can just make a directory on your webhost for your client, disable indexing and give them the direct links.

      Unless you were using MU as a way to have clients send files back (in which case you'd need to implement something like an FTP drop box or something).

      Heck, maybe you can go fancier with WebDAV or something if you can secure it.

    • by JazzLad (935151)
      In case your question was genuine, pBase [pbase.com] is a community of photographers sharing their work (you can password protect too if you want).

      It isn't free, but a case of using the right tool for the job. Added benefit is other photographers will see your (non-password protected) work & be able to comment on it to offer advice, etc (if you don't disable comments). I have been using the service for 10 years this May. [pbase.com]
      • I am actually not looking to share individual files that way. I often agree to give my client both edited and all the original files. Some of those originals could be awful but at the end of the day we are talking about potentially 200+ files. Right now I just zip them and upload.

        I do appreciate the site link, though. It could serve other purposes - although I like photo.net for sharing and discussing photos.

        • by JazzLad (935151)
          That makes sense. For what it is worth, you can upload as a zip & it will parse it to individual files. I like that it automatically makes smaller versions (not just thumbnails) to make it easy to browse quickly, then you can select 'original' to see the full-resolution image.
  • MegaUpload - piracy = ???

  • Sounds Like PR Win (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Volvogga (867092) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @01:48PM (#38893357)

    While I respect the EFF and don't doubt their intentions, it sounds like this Carpathia Hosting company got itself a PR-out that it needed. The way I understood things, it sounded like MU's assets were frozen and it was assumed that since they couldn't pay Carpathia, the hosting company was going to clear out the data at the stroke of midnight (slight exaggeration, but you get the idea). I'm sure that MegaUpload users were hoping that the hosting company would wait until a trial to delete or not delete out of the goodness of their hearts, but that isn't fair to them. On the other hand, from the comment on the EFF page, it sounds like Carpathia can not get users their data, either for technical or contractual reasons, at the moment.

    By giving a small grace period and supporting the EFF here, Carpathia has really put themselves out of "Bad Guy" range. I don't think they would have deserved the label to begin with, but you know some disgruntled users would have bad mouthed the hosting company once their data was lost.

    • Shouldn't these servers be unplugged and in a closet somewhere as EVIDENCE?? or did the "Police" just grab a couple blades or so and are not using EVERYTHING so the stack of "razors" they didn't grab are in danger of being Wiped??

      • by yurtinus (1590157)
        Your reply sounds a bit tongue-in-cheek, but they made copies of the drives for evidence.
  • If I were a lawyer representing any of the major Big Content companies, I would subpoena that information pronto. Then I would get the credit card and payment records from the government. Voila. You can probably convict most of the top N uploaders of willful infringement and maybe even get a criminal conviction too. Those files are direct evidence of a crime. Is the EFF really thinking through what they're doing?
    • by bmacs27 (1314285)
      Errr... what? Legitimate data loss is evidence of a crime?
      • Uh, no. Not theirs. The other files. There are other files on that server and I would be surprised if less than 80% of the data was "legitimate". Oh, I'm sure there are a few Linux distros there but I would be really pretty freaked out if I were one of those people who drew a paycheck from uploading things to Megaupload. The evidence is all there.
    • Is the EFF really thinking through what they're doing?

      You seem to somehow be under the impression that the goal of the EFF is to promote piracy. The goal of the EFF is to prevent honest people from getting fucked over by the industry in their misguided and futile attempts to stop piracy. Does that clarify things?

  • unless they are planning on a class action law suit, otherwise i bet all the uploaders & downloders of Megaupload have moved on to using other services that basically do the same thing,
  • by apcullen (2504324) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @02:12PM (#38893701)
    Is there really a difference between Megaupload hosting infringing content and Carpathis hosting Megaupload?
  • Romney's opinion? (Score:2, Interesting)

    So who is going to ask Mitt for his opinion on the case? I'm waiting for that soundbite.
  • by nweaver (113078) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @02:17PM (#38893777) Homepage

    I reviewed an academic paper (which unfortunately the others on the PC didn't like, so it wasn't accepted) which examined the economic model of Megaupload, related services, third-party links to Megaupload, and the popular files, especially the "Uploader Rewards", and concluded that the company's business model really was about "Profit from Piracy".

    Combined with the email trail that the feds apparently got (eg, emails concerning scraping of Youtube for the creation of MegaVideo, emails about reward payments including clear descriptions of the types of uploads), and the RICO indictments etc are not a surprise. (the indictment [scribd.com])

    For example, if its true that their takedown is by URL, but they duplicate based on hash (so one can have multiple URLs for the same file), thats clearly attempting to game the system, as any legitimate takedown system would take down all separate URLs which point to the same file. (Paragraph 23 on the indictment). Especially if this is related to the creation of a "dummy lifetime premium user" to "to prevent the loss of source files due to expiration or abuse reports" (from a Megaupload email).

    Also, at least according to the indictment, there really should be very few legitimate files lost in this: Anonymous uploads needed to be downloaded every 21 days or they were deleted, and even free named accounts required 90-day downloads, which is very different from Dropbox and other systems, where persistence, rather than popularity-of-download, is the goal.

    • Anonymous uploads needed to be downloaded every 21 days or they were deleted, and even free named accounts required 90-day downloads, which is very different from Dropbox and other systems, where persistence, rather than popularity-of-download, is the goal.

      My experience as a free user was that anything I uploaded was not removed even with no/little download activity. I uploaded a number of things I only downloaded once or not at all, and none of those files were removed from my account over the course of a year and a half.

    • by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @03:21PM (#38894607)

      Just playing the devils advocate.

      I reviewed an academic paper (which unfortunately the others on the PC didn't like, so it wasn't accepted) which examined the economic model of Megaupload, related services, third-party links to Megaupload, and the popular files, especially the "Uploader Rewards", and concluded that the company's business model really was about "Profit from Piracy".

      I agree with you on this, but it is not yet illegal to "Profit from Piracy".

      Combined with the email trail that the feds apparently got (eg, emails concerning scraping of Youtube for the creation of MegaVideo, emails about reward payments including clear descriptions of the types of uploads), and the RICO indictments etc are not a surprise. (the indictment [scribd.com])

      Scraping of youtube is violation of the terms of service, but again is not criminal act. I would be happy to see Megaupload sued by Google. Calling the description, clear, is a stretch. It includes file type and the description provided by the uploader. I would be surprised if any of these can be considered the real description.

      For example, if its true that their takedown is by URL, but they duplicate based on hash (so one can have multiple URLs for the same file), thats clearly attempting to game the system, as any legitimate takedown system would take down all separate URLs which point to the same file. (Paragraph 23 on the indictment).

      Again not a requirement of DMCA. In fact, apart from Youtube, I dont think anybody looks for similar files are removes them. Say you have two files in your server containing BluRay keys, and receive a takedown for one of them, would you also volunteer to take down the other?

      Especially if this is related to the creation of a "dummy lifetime premium user" to "to prevent the loss of source files due to expiration or abuse reports" (from a Megaupload email).

      Also, at least according to the indictment, there really should be very few legitimate files lost in this: Anonymous uploads needed to be downloaded every 21 days or they were deleted, and even free named accounts required 90-day downloads, which is very different from Dropbox and other systems, where persistence, rather than popularity-of-download, is the goal.

      You should read their terms again. They dont "need" to be deleted in 21 days. They simply guarantee to retain your file for 21 days without any downloads in the period. Depending on their resource availability they could retain files they believe would bring them revenue, for as long as they like and in any structure they like. And why shouldnt popularity-of-download be a goal?

      • by JackDW (904211)

        You should read their terms again. They dont "need" to be deleted in 21 days. They simply guarantee to retain your file for 21 days without any downloads in the period. Depending on their resource availability they could retain files they believe would bring them revenue, for as long as they like and in any structure they like. And why shouldnt popularity-of-download be a goal?

        Right, but this is totally inconsistent with the claim that "legal users of megaupload" have lost data. Because clearly MU was not

    • by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @03:34PM (#38894759) Journal

      For example, if its true that their takedown is by URL, but they duplicate based on hash (so one can have multiple URLs for the same file), thats clearly attempting to game the system, as any legitimate takedown system would take down all separate URLs which point to the same file. (Paragraph 23 on the indictment). Especially if this is related to the creation of a "dummy lifetime premium user" to "to prevent the loss of source files due to expiration or abuse reports" (from a Megaupload email).

      Wrong. The DMCA puts the onus on the copyright holder to provide enough information to identify the offending material, not the service provider. A legitimate takedown system would take down the URL they request be taken down, and no more.

      The reason this is crucial is that deduplication is an established technique for preventing data redundancy, and does its job without regard to who uploaded the content or how it is being used. It is not at all a given that every copy of a file uploaded by multiple people is equally infringing.

      For example, you and I both buy a copy of a movie. We each have the right to make a backup. I make my backup and upload it to a sharing site, but mark it "for my eyes only". This is still a backup. You do the same, but mark it "public" and post the URL to a bunch of pirated movie bulletin boards or whatever. This is no longer a backup. Your data and mine are, or at least should be, identical because they were ripped from the same DVD. They are deduplicated to the same underlying hash. When the copyright owner complains about that URL, your copy must come down. However, if my copy comes down as well, that would be illegal destruction of my personal property, and would subject both companies to civil (and possibly criminal) liability.

      Taken one step further, I might have a relationship with the copyright holder that allows me to redistribute a copy of that movie to my clients. I might make that URL "public" (accessible without my password), but I might not publish the URL except in the form of sending it to my clients. That is still not a copyright violation. However, it is still technically a publicly shared URL. When yours gets taken down, mine must not, or else it is tortious interference. Yet there is absolutely no difference, as far as the sharing service is concerned, between those two URLs. Both are public. Both are backed by the same tag.

      The DMCA requires that the requested URL be taken down, not every possible copy of the content in question. Any representation to the contrary is a misrepresentation of the law, and would render infeasible the standard operating procedures for large, shared server farms.

      Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that these sites aren't sleazy operators that knowingly distributed copyright-infringing material. However, their following of the DMCA to the letter to the law (and no further) should not be considered evidentiary support for such an argument.

      • by bws111 (1216812)

        There seem to be a few 'facts' in your post which are nothing more than wishful thinking.

        First, you do not have the 'right' to make a backup copy of a movie. So that example is invalid.

        Secondly, the exact text from the DMCA is:

        `(C) upon notification of claimed infringement as described in paragraph (3), responds expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity.

        The 'material' is the contents of the file (song, movie, w

        • by sulimma (796805)

          > The law does not say 'remove a single link to the material', or 'remove one copy of the material', it says 'remove the material'.

          So, say, some music company (A) is using youtube to promote their music and upload a music video (X) that they have online disctribution rights for.
          Someone else (B) without these rights is uploading an illegal copy (Y) to youtube.
          Another rights holder (C) - say another music company from another country - issues a takedown notice for URL (Y).

          What you are saying is that the D

          • by bws111 (1216812)

            No, that is entirely incorrect. This has nothing to do with different works. If you are hosting a web site that is distributing music, movies, etc, and you are distributing those things without authorization, you could be charged with or sued for copyright infringement. This would be very bad for sites like YouTube, etc, where the content is put there by users. So the law has a provision to protect you from that liability. This is sometimes called the safe harbor.

            To get the safe harbor protection, the

            • by sulimma (796805)

              >No, that is entirely incorrect. This has nothing to do with different works.

              I was talking about one work, too.

              >What the other poster was claiming was that there might be multiple instances of work X on your server, and some of those might be authorized.
              That is the scenario that I describe.
              Music distribution rights usually are held on a regional basis. It is very common that multiple entities hold the rights for the same work.

              Multiple identical uploads of the work to youtube will end up in the same fi

              • by sulimma (796805)

                > A takedown notice for a legal copy will cause a deletion of all illegal copies under your reasoning.
                Sorry, the other way around...

  • by Anomalyst (742352) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @02:19PM (#38893801)
    They will be contacted by all six of them.
  • did megaupload at any time guarantee a minimum availability by a contract because otherwise there is actually nothing to sue about.

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