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Entries in Megaupload (2)

Thursday
Nov082012

Megaupload Faces Mega Problems Before Relaunch

Photos.com/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- What do you do when your once-thriving Internet company has the U.S. Justice Department breathing down your neck?

You relocate your site from the states to West Africa, naturally.

That’s exactly what the founder of Megaupload did when U.S. Feds shut down the popular site in January, charging that it engaged in piracy -- providing copyrighted material for free.

The 7-year-old website was once a well-known file sharing site with close to 150 million registered users, including Kim Kardashian, Diddy and other high-profile celebs.  In terms of megabytes transmitted, Megaupload accounted for about 4 percent of total Internet use.

Megaupload no longer has a .com domain in the U.S., but it continues to be involved in criminal court proceedings in Washington, D.C.

Earlier this year, a federal indictment charged that Megaupload, along with a shell company linked to it, caused an estimated half-billion dollars in copyright losses to others and made an estimated $175 million in proceeds.

Despite those allegations, Megaupload is pressing forward with the online file sharing concept.  Its founder and New Zealand entrepreneur Kim Schmitz, who has been charged in the U.S. with fraud and money laundering, has appeared in photos online showing his opulent lifestyle.  The indictment listed a Rolls Royce, Lamborghini, numerous electronic items, artwork and televisions among his possessions.

Schmitz -- better known as Kim Dotcom -- has now announced he will launch a brand-new site called Me.ga that would supersede Megaupload in both speed and storage space while giving users direct control and responsibility over their files.  Me.ga would go live at the beginning of the new year.  Two months later, the German-born Schmitz will face a scheduled extradition hearing to the U.S.

Me.ga will live under the domain .ga, which is used in Gabon, the country on the west coast of Central Africa.

Kim Dotcom believes this move will allow the new site to thrive because it will not be under the jurisdiction of the U.S. and, therefore, protected from legal action in the states.

But his new site may be blocked even before its 2013 launch.  Gabon Communications Minister Blaise Louembe suspended Me.ga, according to Business Insider, saying the site cannot “serve as a platform or screen for committing acts aimed at violating copyrights, nor be used by unscrupulous people.”

Shortly after the announcement, Kim Dotcom tweeted he already had plans to find another domain.  A statement from his attorney Ira Rothken proclaims his innocence.

“It sounds like a lack of net neutrality in Gabon,” said the statement.  “We’re just going to use a different domain.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan242012

File-Sharing Sites Scatter After Megaupload’s Shutdown

Photos.com/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- The federal shutdown of Megaupload has other file-sharing sites scrambling to cut back on sharing content that could get them into legal trouble.

Torrentfreak.com, a blog that tracks various file-sharing sites, has reported that at least nine different websites have made significant changes to the types of files users can upload.  A few sites, including Uploadbox.com and x7.to, are in the process of shutting down entirely, while the website Uploaded.to has blocked all IP addresses originating from the U.S.

Peter Swire, a law professor from Ohio State University and cyber law expert, says that the shutdown of Megaupload and the continuing discussion of proposed federal anti-piracy laws known as SOPA and PIPA have file-sharing websites calculating what they can do to protect themselves from prosecution.

“With Megaupload, the sites have gone from cool to criminal all at once,” said Swire. "Sites thought they were operating a [file-sharing] site, now they might be operating a criminal site.”

Many file-sharing sites are also reportedly abolishing controversial “rewards” programs that give financial incentives to users who post the most downloaded content. A rewards program utilized by Megaupload was cited as proof that the company encouraged users to pirate copyrighted material.

“The copyright laws punish people who willfully contribute to copyright infringement,” said Swire on the end of reward programs. “The new measures make it look less willful.”

Aside from the digital changes, these websites might be making a few real world moves as well.

Swire believes that after the New Zealand government worked in tandem with the U.S. to take down Megaupload, other file-sharing sites will look for countries where they can base their websites and remain safely exempt from U.S. prosecution.

A new file-sharing site titled Anonyupload.com is purportedly based in Russia and the Ukraine. It is soliciting donations  to buy servers and other equipment.

Aiming to follow in Megaupload’s digital footsteps, the site’s homepage put up the following statement in support of Megaupload’s flamboyant owner, Kim Dotcom: “Thank you DotCom for the past years of services. We hope you’ll be released as soon as possible. Try to not make that amount of money next time, and it should be alright.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio