Megaupload Shut Down By FBI

Now hacktivist group Anonymous has retaliated to the closure of Megaupload by taking down the RIAA and Universal Music websites.

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File sharing website Megaupload has been shut down by the FBI, sparking a war between hackers and the entertainment industry.

NME report that the Megaupload founders have been charged with copyright infringement, conspiracies to commit racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering. The FBI have reportedly seized more than $50 million in assets.

In retaliation, hacktivist group Anonymous has claimed credit for disabling websites for the RIAA, the Department of Justice, Universal Music group and others.

Megaupload was at one point the 13th most popular website in the world, and prosecutors claim that it has cost copyright holders more than $500 million.

"The vast majority of Mega's internet traffic is legitimate, and we are here to stay," said the website in a statement prior to its closure. "If the content industry would like to take advantage of our popularity, we are happy to enter into a dialogue. We have some good ideas. Please get in touch."

The takedown harks back memories of Napster, which was famously taken down after calls from the recording industry. With hindsight, many in the industry believe they missed an opportunity to monetize the network. Instead, it forced pirates underground to share content on torrent sites.

It is not the first time Megaupload has faced legal challenges to its operation. Universal Music has been engaged in a legal battle with the site for months, after sue of its artists were paid to lend their image to the site and a promotional video. Universal took the video down from YouTube on copyright grounds, despite the artists and Megaupload having a clear written agreement.

News of the takedown coincides with protests against the SOPA and PIPA bills, which propose anti-piracy measures. Opponents to the bill say it sets a precedent for a "Great American Firewall" which may inhibit free speech.

54 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Zan595
    I'm a bit torn here. On one hand, I support the decision to take down pirating sites such as Mega Upload, as the music industry would unarguably be a much better business to be a part of. More money to the labels means more money to their bands, and more bands being signed. However, I also support Anonymous' decision to defend the site to protest SOPA, which would be far worse than anything piracy has done, in my opinion. If only SOPA directly addressed the issue of sites like this one, rather than going after people who post guitar covers on You Tube.
    shredder3386
    deadwingtrains wrote: shredder3386 wrote: The fact is if they stopped pissing about and actually tried to embrace the change, they could stop all this ****ing nonsense. What did Apple do? Did they piss and moan about downloading or did they use it to their advantage? Now they have more money then the entire US government. This is probably the most ignorant statement on here. You realize Apple/iTunes charge for the music right? You're not downloading from iTunes for free/illegally. And the distributors AND bands get a cut from it. Pirating/downloading for free/STEALING music isn't something those people want happening because it's just that.. stealing. You're not paying the artist for their time and effort to write/play, not paying the distributors for their production and release, etc. Very very bad argument. iTunes embraced it because they knew people would rather download and BUY the music than buy physical copies.
    Yes genius, I kind of gathered that Itunes charges for their music. Thats not the point I was trying to make. I was saying that many companies are pissed off because downloading is causing them to lose money but rather then bitch about it they should find some way to use it positively. Illegal downlaoding will never stop so they needs to readjust their business model. I was using Itunes as an exmaple to show how a company can use downloading to still make money. Or another example, since you seem to be having trouble grasping this, would be companies like Rdio or Spotify who still allow their users unlimited legal selections of music while still making a profit.
    Chronologo
    Pagan_Poetry wrote: Guys, you're missing the point. The guys from Megaupload are from New Zealand, where this isn't a violation. Their site wasn't just for watching shows or porn. Doctors would trade notes online with it, as well as business partners and more. It was more than just a "free movies n shit" site. They went to New Zealand, picked them up, and brought them to the states to be charged and arrested. Tell me that isn't Fucking retarded. If they were US citizens and were doing this in the states the whole time, fine.
    Completely agreed. This is just an action to tell the world "look at us, we're powerful, this what we can do", they want to validate SOPA one way or another.
    brian mayden
    article wrote: charged with copyright infringement, conspiracies to commit racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering .
    am i the only one who noticed the author mentioned copyright infringement twice? seriously though, if the website is legal in new zealand, you can't just march over there and arrest them for somehing legal in the country. (i may be wrong here, but i was under the impression you couldn't get arrested for doing something LEGAL!!!1
    Slash181
    Zan595 wrote: I'm a bit torn here. On one hand, I support the decision to take down pirating sites such as Mega Upload, as the music industry would unarguably be a much better business to be a part of. More money to the labels means more money to their bands, and more bands being signed. However, I also support Anonymous' decision to defend the site to protest SOPA, which would be far worse than anything piracy has done, in my opinion. If only SOPA directly addressed the issue of sites like this one, rather than going after people who post guitar covers on You Tube.
    +10
    Metal_Master_0
    The only reason anyone doesn't pirate is because they don't know how to, not because they're scared. Piracy isn't a bad thing and the sooner people realize that the better. Sure, musicians need to get paid but guess what the fans aren't the ones stopping them. But hey, obviously most of the people on this planet think sharing is stealing. You say piracy hurts bands but I guarantee you some kid in the middle of BFE wouldn't have heard of their favorite band because wal-mart doesn't sell it. That same kid could go on to see dozens of shows, buying tickets merch and making lifetime connections. It's not like that kid is going and printing 500 copies of that cd, calling it his property and flipping a profit.
    Metal_Master_0
    To make a point: You let your friend borrow a cd. He listens to it for a day and gives it back. Your friend is now a pirate. But wait, he's just borrowing it you say and it's okay because you bought a copy? Oh right, I forgot, the rules suddenly change once it isn't the internet.
    CoreysMonster
    I would like to chime in hear and say that a multitude of UG Community albums were hosted on Megaupload, perfectly legally. A LOT of people used Megaupload for completely legal reasons, and if people uploaded copyrighted material I see no difference from Google linking to torrents with copyrighted material on the Piratebay.
    Dazalator88
    CoreysMonster wrote: I would like to chime in hear and say that a multitude of UG Community albums were hosted on Megaupload, perfectly legally. A LOT of people used Megaupload for completely legal reasons, and if people uploaded copyrighted material I see no difference from Google linking to torrents with copyrighted material on the Piratebay.
    Here Here. My thoughts exactly. It's as clear as day this kinda downloading has been going on. Its almost as if the FBI have been waiting for the website to make enough money so they can only take it away when the check is big enough..... Food for thought
    reason84
    I like all the misfits saying it's "none of America's business"....umm, fat bastard (dotcom) was using servers in Virginia..."pretty sure" that makes it America's business. And btw, not to get off topic, but that's the typical world attitude toward America, it's never "America's business" unless of course they need America's help in some way, then suddenly we're "best friends"...f-ing hypocrites...When WWII first broke out, that wasn't "America's business" either, yet of course, look what happened when we actually minded our own business: the very same misfits that complain "mind your own business" were crying for our help and to get involved. Um, take your pick hypocrites. As the saying goes "Damned if you do, damned if you don't"
    Iblis92
    I saw this a lot in the comments and I gotta say. Megaupload isnt a pirating site per se'. and if your saying it is then you probably just assumed so. Megaupload lets you watch up to 60 minutes of video, then u gotta wait like an hour before you can watch anything else. The only way to watch unlimited is to pay a subscription. yea you can download stuff, but very few people are gonna pay to "pirate" music. with that in mind, I doubt people are really getting music from the site when piratebay is free -_- Regardless, those charges are complete bullshit. Conspiracy to launder money? What? Copyright, ok sure. Racketeering? No, their business was 100% legitimate. Perhaps just an oppurtunity for the government to get an easy 50 Mill.
    deadlydictator
    Eirien wrote: Pagan_Poetry wrote: Guys, you're missing the point. The guys from Megaupload are from New Zealand, where this isn't a violation. Their site wasn't just for watching shows or porn. Doctors would trade notes online with it, as well as business partners and more. It was more than just a "free movies n shit" site. They went to New Zealand, picked them up, and brought them to the states to be charged and arrested. Tell me that isn't Fucking retarded. If they were US citizens and were doing this in the states the whole time, fine. Team America - World Police
    SOPA, FUCK NO! Takin down sites that host cool shit yea SOPA, FUCK NO!
    Horsedick.MPEG
    Oh no, America is evil because they shut down a website we use to illegally download things. God forbid we're supposed to pay for movies and music
    deadlydictator
    If you still need an album from a kickass band and you cant find it because megaupload is gone, google search (band name,album,mediafire,rar) and download it from one of the first results. if the band is really ****in sweet, go see them live, because live revenue for bands is much more profitable than record sales, and seeing your favorite band live is an awesome experience.
    deadlydictator
    CinderellaFan14 wrote: I agree that websites like Mega Upload and ThePirateBay that steal from musicians and actors by posting music and movies on their websites for free should be taken down. Yeah, the FBI did go to extremes to get the Mega Upload creators to the US and punish them. But honestly, they got what they deserved! If they think they can hide in another country and hurt musicians by posting their music online for free, then they deserve to have the FBI bust down their door and prosecute them! Some things like music bootlegs are one thing, but to take copyrighted material and steal from music artists is just wrong. It's not fair that the artists are getting half the money they used to because people all over the world get to steal. Some people need to know what Freedom of speech is before they use it to try and make a point. Freedom of speech means you can speak freely without censorship. So, pirating movies and songs has nothing to do with speaking freely! However, the bills being passed need to be fixed. Websites like Wikipedia and YouTube need to be left alone, because they have nothing to do with fighting piracy. If the US Government goes too far with this censoring deal, then they could have a mass uprising. Just stick to the piracy websites. That's the real issue.
    they werent hiding in NZ. they live there. i live in the US, if i mass murder a bunch of canadians (no offense) and i go home to the US, am i hiding in the US? no.
    bustapr
    so, am I the only one that uploaded guitar lessons and shared class notes with classmates through megaupload. I cant remember ever using it for pirating. I also shared personal videos with my family that I didnt want on youtube.
    mtllica
    Way to be a week late UG. I think its crap that MegaUpload got taken down, mainly for the reasons posted previously.
    BOYERxBREAKDOWN
    Eirien wrote: Pagan_Poetry wrote: Guys, you're missing the point. The guys from Megaupload are from New Zealand, where this isn't a violation. Their site wasn't just for watching shows or porn. Doctors would trade notes online with it, as well as business partners and more. It was more than just a "free movies n shit" site. They went to New Zealand, picked them up, and brought them to the states to be charged and arrested. Tell me that isn't Fucking retarded. If they were US citizens and were doing this in the states the whole time, fine. Team America - World Police
    But a decent chunk of the content hosted there was based out of the United States.
    Prolomac
    Im against piracy too, but SOPA doesnt fight piracy, it fight free speech. As i recal,some american artists (kanye west and friends i heard) created a song against SOPA and posted it on Megavideo, it was removed by SOPA. No prosecution happened, they just took it down as they please. Furthermore, SOPA limits creativity and revolutionary ideas. Many sites offer people with great and probably revolutionary ideas to prosper and change the world, and those sites can't invest in that anymore cause of the risk that SOPA may sue them for that. And we dont need to fight piracy, as iTunes has shown us, we just have to have better offers than them, we have to have quality, to be smart to be successful, but with SOPA only those with money can earn money. Basicaly, SOPA stands against everything that the Free World means. And after SOPA only a few more bills and America can go in complete Military Dictatorship. If the countries of the world let america do this, they gave them ultimate power.
    xaotik1
    I guess my problem is that the files shared were NOT owned or uploaded by Megavideo itself. Someone paid for the privilege to have them host their files and then shared them on their own. Much of the content they hosted was 100% legal, and those of us who used it for business are getting shafted because some idiots in the fbi decided it would be too inconvenient to actually find the people who were doing the illegal stuff and just went after the hosting service. In a very real sense, this is like the feds shutting down a bank because some drug dealers were using security deposit boxes to transfer the drugs. Who the owners of the box shares a key with is in no way any business of the bank. The bank is obligated to keep the contents of such boxes private, and have NO RIGHT to inspect them whatsoever. True, that if they suspect illegal activity it is their duty to inform the cops, but it is NOT their job to go in and shut them down on their own initiative. . .in fact doing so would be illegal in itself. The only difference I see between a bank and a file hosting service is that the bank stores money, and a file hosting service stores data. In either case the criminals are the ones doing the deed, not the bank/hosting service itself. Shutting down Megavideo for "allowing" people to distribute stolen goods is the same thing as shutting down Walmart for "allowing" people to shoplift. It sets a horrible precedent, an open door to allowing them to shut down whatever they want on whatever pitiful grounds that they please. They should be going after the people actually guilty of distributing the files in question instead of hassling a company who is acting completely within the laws of their host country.
    dancer42
    megaupload is a service provider not a contint originater megaupload rutinely removed contint that copyright owhners complained about and as a carrier did all that it could be expected to do.
    nnb
    I'm curiouse to see what the US.Government stand is on the companies that advertise on these sites because more then anything they are openly supporting pirating by paying them.
    deadwingtrains
    shredder3386 wrote: The fact is if they stopped pissing about and actually tried to embrace the change, they could stop all this ****ing nonsense. What did Apple do? Did they piss and moan about downloading or did they use it to their advantage? Now they have more money then the entire US government.
    This is probably the most ignorant statement on here. You realize Apple/iTunes charge for the music right? You're not downloading from iTunes for free/illegally. And the distributors AND bands get a cut from it. Pirating/downloading for free/STEALING music isn't something those people want happening because it's just that.. stealing. You're not paying the artist for their time and effort to write/play, not paying the distributors for their production and release, etc. Very very bad argument. iTunes embraced it because they knew people would rather download and BUY the music than buy physical copies.
    iplayat11
    I don't really have that much of a with this because the FBI followed proper procedure. They researched, investigated, obtained a legal warrant and acted legally. If SOPA passes, proper legal procedures will not need to be followed in order to shut down websites. An accusation will be all that is needed, which is complete crap. SOPA is some BS
    shredder3386
    LMAO its so embarassing how many steps behind these idiots are. Remember when Napster got shut down? In all the time they were battling with Naspter dozens of other sites started up. When they attacked those, we got torrenting. If they attack torrents something else will start up regardless of whether that bullshit SOPA passes or not. The fact is if they stopped pissing about and actually tried to embrace the change, they could stop all this ****ing nonsense. What did Apple do? Did they piss and moan about downloading or did they use it to their advantage? Now they have more money then the entire US government. Whether you think Itunes is the devil or not is regardless, they have made effective use of the rapid acceleration of technology. People still sell drugs despite it being illegal, so I highly doubt some stupid bill and a few useless raids are going to change things. Pretty soon we will have Colombian warlords in heavily armed camps just to protect a few servers...../rant
    ds24601
    This was the lead story on the news yesterday in my country because that's where they've been hiding out. Apparently the main one of the four (at least, the one the item profiled) wasn't initially allowed into New Zealand but brought his way in by donating $10 mil to the government, which I found rather amusing. Regarding their arrest, while I use Megaupload myself and am sad to see it go, they were knowingly breaking the law for profit and got caught, so I don't have much sympathy for them, especially when they're chilling in a $30 mil mansion with 15 Mercedes Benz cars among other riches.
    PIMO
    Everyone get ready for a cyberwar... if things keep going like this and SOPA hasn't even passed, things are going to be crazy =/ it was great to finally see Anonymous go through with their plans for once... lately its been false promises but its good that someone did something yesterday. SCREW SOPA
    Pagan_Poetry
    Guys, you're missing the point. The guys from Megaupload are from New Zealand, where this isn't a violation. Their site wasn't just for watching shows or porn. Doctors would trade notes online with it, as well as business partners and more. It was more than just a "free movies n shit" site. They went to New Zealand, picked them up, and brought them to the states to be charged and arrested. Tell me that isn't Fucking retarded. If they were US citizens and were doing this in the states the whole time, fine.
    Eirien
    Pagan_Poetry wrote: Guys, you're missing the point. The guys from Megaupload are from New Zealand, where this isn't a violation. Their site wasn't just for watching shows or porn. Doctors would trade notes online with it, as well as business partners and more. It was more than just a "free movies n shit" site. They went to New Zealand, picked them up, and brought them to the states to be charged and arrested. Tell me that isn't Fucking retarded. If they were US citizens and were doing this in the states the whole time, fine.
    Team America - World Police
    slaveskinJACKET
    Eirien wrote: Pagan_Poetry wrote: Guys, you're missing the point. The guys from Megaupload are from New Zealand, where this isn't a violation. Their site wasn't just for watching shows or porn. Doctors would trade notes online with it, as well as business partners and more. It was more than just a "free movies n shit" site. They went to New Zealand, picked them up, and brought them to the states to be charged and arrested. Tell me that isn't Fucking retarded. If they were US citizens and were doing this in the states the whole time, fine. Team America - World Police
    America, Fuck Yeah! Comin' again to stick our nose in people's business!
    0zzmosis
    Stupid ****ing FBI. Megaupload was how I found some rare music bootlegs. Now it's back to guitar101. Or are they gonna take that from us as well?
    ZeligtheAxMan
    I have to say, I'm really pissed off about this but fact is. The site is bullshit, for years I've been getting free music from it. Now that things are getting active, I find myself wanting to do the right thing and PAY FOR THE BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS OF MY FAVORITE MUSICIANS!!!
    deadwingtrains
    And out of curiosity, when DOES it become America's business? It's not like most of megaupload's sales and use was made HERE in America. That's like saying "Tennessee police can't arrest a murderer from Texas because they're not in Texas".
    codyjt5150
    everybody needs to stop complaining, **** your porn you whining pervert. I do disagree about the youtube facebook and wikipedia crap. But musicians need to make money, and torrent sites are just theft. they need to take down utorrent, torrentreactor, piratesbay, and frostwire. and the business would be a lot better. buy the albums yourselves you lazy ****s.
    CinderellaFan14
    I agree that websites like Mega Upload and ThePirateBay that steal from musicians and actors by posting music and movies on their websites for free should be taken down. Yeah, the FBI did go to extremes to get the Mega Upload creators to the US and punish them. But honestly, they got what they deserved! If they think they can hide in another country and hurt musicians by posting their music online for free, then they deserve to have the FBI bust down their door and prosecute them! Some things like music bootlegs are one thing, but to take copyrighted material and steal from music artists is just wrong. It's not fair that the artists are getting half the money they used to because people all over the world get to steal. Some people need to know what Freedom of speech is before they use it to try and make a point. Freedom of speech means you can speak freely without censorship. So, pirating movies and songs has nothing to do with speaking freely! However, the bills being passed need to be fixed. Websites like Wikipedia and YouTube need to be left alone, because they have nothing to do with fighting piracy. If the US Government goes too far with this censoring deal, then they could have a mass uprising. Just stick to the piracy websites. That's the real issue.
    ds24601
    Pagan_Poetry wrote: Guys, you're missing the point. The guys from Megaupload are from New Zealand, where this isn't a violation. Their site wasn't just for watching shows or porn. Doctors would trade notes online with it, as well as business partners and more. It was more than just a "free movies n shit" site. They went to New Zealand, picked them up, and brought them to the states to be charged and arrested. Tell me that isn't Fucking retarded. If they were US citizens and were doing this in the states the whole time, fine.
    They weren't from New Zealand. 3 of them were German and one was Dutch. They came here very recently (judging by the profile on the main guy on the news within the past year or so), likely in an effort to avoid this kind of situation. It's not illegal to own a site that is used of piracy in New Zealand(as far as I know), but they were also arrested for money laundering so it's not like they were squeaky clean otherwise. Still, it seemed to me a classic example of America policing the world, because they raided places in 8 other countries looking for them (or it might have been other people facing similar changes - not sure).
    Pagan_Poetry
    ds24601 wrote: Pagan_Poetry wrote: Guys, you're missing the point. The guys from Megaupload are from New Zealand, where this isn't a violation. Their site wasn't just for watching shows or porn. Doctors would trade notes online with it, as well as business partners and more. It was more than just a "free movies n shit" site. They went to New Zealand, picked them up, and brought them to the states to be charged and arrested. Tell me that isn't Fucking retarded. If they were US citizens and were doing this in the states the whole time, fine. They weren't from New Zealand. 3 of them were German and one was Dutch. They came here very recently (judging by the profile on the main guy on the news within the past year or so), likely in an effort to avoid this kind of situation. It's not illegal to own a site that is used of piracy in New Zealand(as far as I know), but they were also arrested for money laundering so it's not like they were squeaky clean otherwise. Still, it seemed to me a classic example of America policing the world, because they raided places in 8 other countries looking for them (or it might have been other people facing similar changes - not sure).
    Sorry. My mistake. Still, none of America's business, as you said.
    gabrichidze
    The technology for sharing and distributing digital data is here, and trying to stop it by police action is like if someone would try to bun cars in favor of horse breeding back in early days of internal combustion... And charge car industry with "lost profit" of cabbies. If entertainment industry is so unbelievably stupid that they can not earn profit from modern technology, someone else will, it is as simple as that. You try to make profit by selling CD-s for heavens sake, it is 2012 not 1981. There are thousands of ways to earn huge profits by having ones music or film posted online and if sales people of film and music industry haven't figured it out until now only illustrates their incredible stupidity, nothing else. Some technical aspects of megaupload and megavideo.First they aren't different from you tube in their way of operation, so next logical step would be to shut down youtube as well. Youtube actually has more music then megaupload, and megaupload had more film. If copyright holders wanted to protect their copyright seriously it wasn't a problem on mega upload and isn't a problem on yourtube. Protection of data happens on programmer and developers end, not online. I am not going to discuss how justified or not the current copyright law is, but fact is to prevent exchange of digital data online they will have to simply shut the whole Internet down. Or stop digitalizing their video and audio content and go back to VHS video and vinyl discs. Porn has nothing to do with whole affair, except for pesky attempt to win some sympathy for government actions. Sites like megaupload had very small quantity of it, and porn users got their staff elsewhere. Besides there are plenty of places where one can get any kind of porn , including the live places like cams.com. It is true that like 70% of megaupload wasn't related to entertainment at all-there was lot of technical, medical and private data,same as youtube has. Accusation that content which was not downloaded by others was deleted isn't true, one had to simply pay small amount for a space and keep own cntent indeffinetely. Many researchers, independent journalists, doctors or social groups used the site to park their content. And last thing-in the past month USA justice department or FBI hadn't even made a single hint that use of megavideo or megaupload might be considered illegal. even a simple press release on FBI website, warning that certain site is performing illegal activity, and that users shall affiliate themselves at own risk cold help protect the files millions of innocent people who were using megaupload as storage space or database.Now this all is gone. Who will pay for the intellectual property of those users?
    gabrichidze
    "but they were also arrested for money laundering " I have checked the statements of both Justice department and FBI; according to both USA is considering collecting payents from site users (usially for the increasing download speed) and having the reward system for some users a "money laundering". This means that 99% of commercial sites can be charged with "laundering". They were also charged with "racketeering" which I could not figure so far.
    nnb
    Who didn't see this coming? A lot of vids have been taken down in the last few months due to copyright infringement ,so this seems like a natural next step.
    aaronni
    Typical America policing the world. They seem to have this one-way system with various countries. It scares me that they can tell another country's government who to arrest, same thing with extradition in the UK. Also megaupload isn't world's apart from youtube. Plenty of copyrighted material on there but somehow I don't see the FBI taking on Google.