back to article Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge

America’s war on file-dump site Megaupload has escalated dramatically, with founder Kim Dotcom and three others in Auckland among seven people arrested in connection with the site. The four arrested in New Zealand include Megaupload’s chief marketing officer Finn Batato, cofounder and CTO Mathias Ortmann, and BOFH Bram van der …

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  1. Turtle

    Worth a giggle!

    "amassed a fortune that allowed him to rent a vast multi-million-dollar mansion near Auckland in New Zealand."

    Rented?

    /me giggles!

    He'd better hope that he saved lots of that money, because he is going to need it to hire lawyers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Smart thinking if anything, surely? If you're concerned that your business practices might piss off the world police (USA) why spunk your capital on a bricks and mortar asset that the government can seize easily. I bet that money is littered around the world in nice safe off shore accounts..

      1. david wilson

        >>"I bet that money is littered around the world in nice safe off shore accounts.."

        Does that necessarily help?

        You engage in lots of obfuscation, so 'they' can claim you must have loads of money hidden somewhere, do you for money laundering, and then add extra time on your sentence for refusing to give up your ill-gotten-gains, whether you actually have them or not.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Like the organized crime figures put in prison in America, they can afford to wait a few years for their money.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        WILL UTUBE

        Be next?

        I think not.

        1. Grease Monkey

          The point about renting is that it makes it much harder for the authorities to seize your assets. It's standard practice among the smarter crim. Rent everything, own nothing and bank your money where you hope they can't get their hands on it.

          Actually it's not just criminals. Well not obvious criminals anyway. It's called keeping your assets liquid and not tying them up.

      3. Richard Cartledge
        Childcatcher

        You're better of leasing/renting everything and hiding the money abroad.

    2. Anomalous Cowturd
      Mushroom

      FBI 1 : Anonymous 3

      This one is going to be interesting...

      Comfy chair and a large tub of popcorn at the ready.

      1. Danny 5
        Angel

        me2

        very very interested to see this one wind down. looking like the most massive attack ever, somebody shouldn't have pissed off anon this badly.

        get the beer and crisps out, this one might take a while :)

        Sit back, relax and watch the fireworks fly, it's like a digital new years eve!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      IF THE KIWI GOVERNMENT

      Allow this then they are as weak as the UK .

      1. h4rm0ny

        re: The Kiwi Government

        Why? I mean surely you can't believe that Megaupload *isn't* primarily a resource for copyright infringement and that its where the money comes from. So why is it weak of the Kiwi government to allow enforcement of laws against this?

        1. Danny 5
          WTF?

          excuse me?

          megaupload primarilly a resource for copyright infringement? then why are so many big artists supporting them? i know people who contacted megaupload after they found music of theirs being hosted, they took it down within 24 hours.

          Go on, give me examples of it being mostly set up for illegal content, i dare you!

        2. Mad Mike
          FAIL

          Doesn't matter

          The reality of whether Megaupload has a business model based around copyright infringement or not is irrelevant. The whole point of this sort of repository is that people pay some money and get a chunk of storage to put something. There are a lot of people who will have put non-illegal stuff up there who have now lost it. Doing this will simply result in all repository sites becoming potentially unreliable and therefore not of use to anyone. What's the point of that?

          Even BT in this country has this sort of facility. Is there any copyright infringing material on there........almost certainly. Should they be shutdown as well? Why not? They're doing essentially the same thing.

          1. david wilson

            @Mad Mike

            >>"The reality of whether Megaupload has a business model based around copyright infringement or not is irrelevant."

            Why is it irrelevant?

            If the only way to stop constant infringement is to take the site out, then the site owners are ultimately responsible for the site going dark, and if legitimate users are so unaware of the nature of where they're putting their data, or so blindly confident that 'the internet' is some kind of inviolate place, they deserve to have some kind of lesson.

            If, for example, I had stuck some important data on a warez site and deleted all the other copies, even *before* the site got taken out, that would make me a fool.

            An *innocent* fool, possibly, but a fool nonetheless.

            >>"Even BT in this country has this sort of facility. Is there any copyright infringing material on there........almost certainly. Should they be shutdown as well? Why not? They're doing essentially the same thing."

            It's only "essentially the same thing" if you conveniently ignore all the ways in which it is different.

            Read the indictment at http://www.scribd.com/doc/78786408/Mega-Indictment and even if you don't believe all of it, ask yourself how many things on there are things BT would be likely to do.

            *Then* come back and say it's essentially the same situation.

            1. Mad Mike
              FAIL

              @David Wilson

              If we consdier the business model for a repository site like this (and BTs own), you have to look where the revenue is coming from. If copyright infringement is so widespread and common on these sites, then it stands to reason a large part of your revenue is coming from people infringing copyright. Therefore, if your site is in anyway successful, you are in the same position. Is BTs site successful? Probably (take your own view here), in which case there revenue must largely be coming from copyright infringement. The owners may take removing the content more or less seriously, but the argument is always that these site survive on copyright infringement, so you must either close them all or none.

              The other stupidity around this is that there's another alternative. According to industry representatives in the UK (media companies etc.), your IP address is enough to prove you're infringing copyright and therefore get all sorts of comeback, whether speed restrictions or removing your connection altogether. Hence, lots of court cases etc. here. So, simply require these sites to keep the IP address of the uploader!! Simples. Find a copyright infringing upload, take the IP address, find connection, use existing law. Shutting the whole site is overkill and hits perfectly legal users.

              Of course, whether you believe an IP address by itself is enough is open to debate and person opinion.

              Either way, the American 'justice' organisations are fighting battle on behalf of a small subset of society and a battle they cannot win. No matter what they do and no matter how many sites are taken down, others will simply pop up or other methods get created. In the meantime, loads of innocents will be hurt, including all the jobs and business that will leach out of American to other countries.

              Everyone knows you should never fight a battle you cannot win. Talk to the people and find another way around it. This has been proven many times in both American and other countries histories...........drugs, alcohol (prohibition), Iraq (anyone who thinks that was won is living in a dreamworld), Afghanistan (ditto), copyright theft........

              1. david wilson

                @Mad Mike

                >>"If we consdier the business model for a repository site like this (and BTs own), you have to look where the revenue is coming from. If copyright infringement is so widespread and common on these sites, then it stands to reason a large part of your revenue is coming from people infringing copyright. Therefore, if your site is in anyway successful, you are in the same position. Is BTs site successful? Probably (take your own view here), in which case there revenue must largely be coming from copyright infringement. The owners may take removing the content more or less seriously, but the argument is always that these site survive on copyright infringement, so you must either close them all or none."

                You're starting off from a premise that megaupload and BT are basically the same, and then trying to argue from that to prove they're equivalently legit.

                That's logically fallacious reasoning.

                Few people, if any are saying that *every* site on the internet that stores data is making money largely from promoting or knowing tolerating copyright infringement.

                In this case, some people are saying specifically that this particular site is doping that, and giving explanations of why they think that..

                As I said, read the bloody indictment and *then* come back and tell us that BT and megaupload are 'effectively the same,' and explain why all the apparent differences are actually trivial from a legal standpoint.

                >>"Either way, the American 'justice' organisations are fighting battle on behalf of a small subset of society "

                In this case, they're seemingly also fighting it /against/ a very small subset of society.

                A subset who most people probably won't be weeping much for if they do get banged up.

                In any case, whether 'right' (like defending a company against unfair competition from some subsidised competitor or would-be monopolist), 'wrong' (like naked protectionism) or something more debatable, surely *any* government action on behalf of one or other commercial interest is 'fighting a battle on behalf of a small subset of society'?

                Just because it's related to the specific interests of a small group doesn't automatically make it 'wrong' or 'unfair'.

                >>"Find a copyright infringing upload, take the IP address, find connection, use existing law."

                Which would then inevitably get any number of responses about how unfair it was that poor little teenage Johnny was being done while the site actually making the money wasn't.

          2. Grease Monkey

            "Even BT in this country has this sort of facility. Is there any copyright infringing material on there........almost certainly. Should they be shutdown as well? Why not? They're doing essentially the same thing."

            Not quite. Not by a very big quite. The BT site like many others is supposedly for users to store their data so that they can access it themselves. That's not what Megaupload or Rapidshare or any other similar sites are about. They are about putting files where other people can get at them easily.

            Are you being deliberately obtuse or can you genuinely not see the difference.

          3. HeNe
            Flame

            Asshole-versus-Asshole

            This is just another struggle between the empowered/moneyed alpha-elites.

            Asshole "A": the RIAA/MPAA and their paid-off multi-government tools.

            Asshole "B": the prime movers of MU who made millions of dollars by hosting un-paid-for intellectual property (I'm not going into the "illegal/immoral" aspects of this).

            The apparent citizen-level issue is, "Why should US laws be enforced against non-US citizens who have not stepped foot into the US?"

            "Because they did bad things" is an insufficient answer. I'm certain many countries (middle-eastern, China, North Korea, and others) have laws "against" criticising their leaders or their leaders' actions. I'm also certain there's been at least one US citizen who has criticised one or more of those countries' leaders or actions on the web; yet, the US has not handed such persons over to those countries to be tried for their alleged crimes.

            The REAL citizen-level issue is that their governments are corrupt.

            The US-based multinational corporation International Business Machines provided technology and consulting services to the Third Reich, enabling the Nazis to better track jews, gays, Roms, and other Reich-designated "undesirables".

            Yet the US government did not prosecute IBM's officers, nor penalize the corporation.

            Clearly, "money talks."

        3. The BigYin
          Mushroom

          @h4rm0ny

          Rather simple.

          They are not pirates AFAIK, no one has been pillaged, held hostage, raped or murdered.

          As worst they are copyright license infringers. Or, rather, the people doing the uploads are.

          If there was any infringement of copyright then that is a civil matter, it's not a reason for the doors to be kicked in and people arrested. That's doubleplus ungood.

          The world has moved on, but rather than change the MPAA et al are trying to use new, draconian laws to enforce the status quo and ensure our future culture is controlled by corporations.

          This will never work, all it will do is inconvenience the honest and force them into the arms of the infringers (who tend to offer a better service).

          Why hasn't Google, Yahoo! or anyone else been shut-down for linking to infringing material? Yet a UK citizen is being extradited for what is, at worst, a civil offence?

          Why weren't Sony execs jailed for the rootkit fiasco?

          Why hasn't the RIAA been punished for torrenting infringing material?

          The questions go on.

          It is right that creators, distributors etc get a fair wage (as determined by a free market)

          It is not right to restrict free trade or attack my freedoms simply to protect an outmoded revenue stream.

          It is not right to hold our culture to ransom.

          It is not right that elected representatives act against the wishes and best interests of the electorate.

          1. david wilson

            @The BigYin

            >>"Why hasn't Google, Yahoo! or anyone else been shut-down for linking to infringing material?"

            Because what they do is not directly comparable.

            For example, they don't go out of their way to do it, nor do they make most of their money from doing it.

            >>"Yet a UK citizen is being extradited for what is, at worst, a civil offence?"

            If there wasn't a criminal offence they could at least *claim* he would be guilty of in UK law, they wouldn't be able to put an extradition case together.

            Whether he could have been realistically charged with a criminal offence here if all the actions and supposed victims had been local does seem to be at least debatable, though I guess the devil might be in the detail.

            One person might say "What he did is basically the same as what X did, and X's actions were found not to be against the law!", though that would probably need a good look at exactly what X did to see how much 'the same' it really was.

            1. The BigYin

              @david wilson

              "For example, they don't go out of their way to do it, nor do they make most of their money from doing it."

              Wrong, they do make money from it. Ad revenue.

              1. david wilson

                @The Big Yin

                >> >>""For example, they don't go out of their way to do it, nor do they make most of their money from doing it.""

                >>"Wrong, they do make money from it. Ad revenue."

                What part of the word 'most' is causing problems here?

                If someone gave Google a magic algorithm for detecting any links to illicit uploaded content, and they implemented it, how much difference would it actually make to their income?

                If someone gave megaupload a magic algorithm for detecting any illicit uploaded content *that they were hosting* and they implemented it, how much difference would it make to their income?

                You seriously believe that the answers are 'effectively the same'?

                1. The BigYin

                  @david wilson

                  "What part of the word 'most' is causing problems here?"

                  Most of Google's money comes from ad revenue (if not all), so the amount they raise from ads placed beside links of infringing material is going to be pretty substantial. Perhaps not in relative terms, but certainly in absolute and possible on a par with (if not greater than) Megaupload. Have you asked yourself why Google opposed SOPA? Do you think it was really about freedom?

                  "You seriously believe that the answers are 'effectively the same'?"

                  Pretty much. Just because Google is big is no reason that they should avoid the law (even though I do not agree with said law). Actually, the best thing that could happen is someone going after Google in exactly the same way, then the law might get changed. But no, they would much rather chase down teenagers and get toadying governments to kowtow to them.

                  As I said at the start, I do not agree with depriving the artists/creators of income and I think they do deserve a wage (as determined by a free market, which might not be as much as they think they are worth). But the fact remains that the majors have not got their shit together and that is why the infringing services exist on the scale they do.

                  It is these services that are proving the people what they want. Ready access to content with no bullshit. And you know what, some creators do rather well by following such a model. Most of the infringing could be stopped almost overnight if the majors started playing fair (time an again surveys have shown that the biggest infringers are also the biggest legit customers, they are simply trying to by-pass the artificial barriers; e.g. region-lock).

                  There will always be some, such is life.

                  Attacking our on freedoms is NOT the answer to anything.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Whose laws?

          It's New Zealand, not the USA, an independent, sovereign nation with its own parliament and laws. Or are you saying any law made anywhere in the world applies everywhere?

          Silly, gullible boy.

        5. LarsG

          simple

          : The Kiwi Government → # h4rm0ny#

          It would show that New Zealand doffs its cap to USA and that you will become a slave nation to them.

          Whatever you say master we will do as we are told!

      2. Msan
        WTF?

        If busting an organised crime ring is weak ...

        then you live in a very strange world.

      3. Peter Murphy
        Stop

        Extradition is quite appropriate for the Megaupload Four.

        Kim Dotcom is German-Finnish, both Mathias Ortmann and Finn Batato are German, and Bram van der Kolk is Dutch. So the Kiwis have every right to expel them in a USA-bound direction. Roughly speaking, all countries should have the right to get rid of undesirable foreigners. None of these guys are Gary McKinnon, or that poor dude who got told last week that he could be extradited to the US.

        However, I do not know about the other three. If any of them is a NZ citizen, then they should not be extradited. At worst, they can be charged and serve the crime in their own country. People know it's wrong to extradite people in such circumstances.

        There's a word for people who betray one's own countrypeople for financial or political gain. It's called "treason". It's why people get angry about Gary McKinnon. But the New Zealand government is not doing anything treasonous with the Megaupload Four.

        Yet.

    4. toadwarrior

      Did you read the article? He rents because he's not legally allowed to buy otherwise he would have bought. I fail to see the lol in that.

    5. Heynonynonymous

      why?

      In the article it explains that he rented the mansion as his previous convictions prevented him from buying it. Why is that funny?

  2. Christopher Rogers
    Big Brother

    oh dear.....

    This is the start of some kind of disaster. Get the bomb shelters built...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or, more prosaically,

      get downloading EVERY damn thing you vaguely thought you 'might do, some time'. While you can.

  3. 404 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    4G

    This story is SO three hours ago..... (yeah not funny)

    In any case, law or no law, this Administration will do whatever it wants, when it wants.

    Bastards.

    8|

    Btw: icon should be "I hear the distant sound of drones....yada"

  4. Skydreamer
    Thumb Down

    Lame song

    Can't they be charged for that too?

  5. John Sanders
    Big Brother

    Esentially this is the end of the freedom on the net

    First megaupload, a few years later every single eCommerce site will be infringing into someone else's "Intellectual Burp" (IB, you heard it here first pun intended) and either they pay the extortion fee or Uncle SAM will nuke them.

    1. david wilson

      >>"First megaupload, a few years later every single eCommerce site will be infringing into someone else's "Intellectual Burp" (IB, you heard it here first pun intended) and either they pay the extortion fee or Uncle SAM will nuke them."

      Sure, because it's not possible that 'they' could ever do anything without it being the thin end of an enormous wedge which will obviously end life as we know it and/or subjegate the entire world.

      Just like all the other wedges in the past were.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Updates...

    At first, reading the BBC article, it seemed the site was hosted and run out of Hong Kong. Now this article is saying that servers on US soil have been snatched. If they were stupid enough to have a single item of kit on US soil I, in the words of B.A. Baracus, "pity the fool". That mistake will be their jurisdictional undoing.

    1. Grease Monkey

      Spot on. If the operation was purely run out of Hong Kong it's likely the US wouldn't touch it. Fucking with the Chinese not being something the US would want to do given the US reliance on Chinese manufacturing. It's the infrastructure on US soil that has allowed this to happen.

      1. John Lilburne

        Don't be so sure

        @Grease Monkey China might not happen to have much in the way of its own IP at that moment, but it is going around the world and buying it up, and producing it at home too. Give it a year or two and China will be as willing as the rest of the world to enforce IP claims.

        You are probably better of in a US gaol than some Chinese Laogai.

  7. Wombling_Free
    Black Helicopters

    Nice to see...

    The US CEO is not mentioned, as clearly is it ALL EVIL FOOORNERS who do all this... evil.

    Also nice to see them going after the GRAPHIC DESIGNER, because he is clearly a lynchpin of the whole organisation of evil; although if he used Comic Sans fonts he might be liable for Crimes Against Humanity under UN Human Rights Laws.

    It doesn't matter that SOPA didn't get through, the Merkins will just do whatever they want anyway.

    Black Helicopters, because I am certain that reading subversive FOOORN TEERRST publications like El Reg will make you a drone target soon enough....

    1. Josh 15
      Big Brother

      "...It doesn't matter that SOPA didn't get through, the Merkins will just do whatever they want anyway...."

      Yes, and that's the important bit - it doesn't matter if SOPA and/or PIPA fail; what cannot be done via the front door can always be achieved via the back door, bit-by-bit, until the government/police/corporations have rearranged the internet in exactly the way they would prefer to see it, right in front of our indifferent eyes. We're like bugs, sinking on a peach.

      SOPA and all the distracting hot air around it is ultimately meaningless; governments and government agencies will never stop, they will never give up, they will always be seeking new ways to wrestle the web away from ordinary people, using sensational scare tactics, bogus statistics and blatant disinformation.

      "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face— forever."

      -G. Orwell, 1984

      1. Grease Monkey

        "...It doesn't matter that SOPA didn't get through, the Merkins will just do whatever they want anyway...."

        The point about SOPA and PIPA is that the US administration are admitting that there are foreign websites which they can't touch. Megaupload is an example of a foreign website that they can touch.

        There are still plenty of countries in the world with which the US does not have a cosy relationship. Sites hosted in these countries are clearly outwith the control of the US authorities. So what SOPA and PIPA aim to do is to restrict access to those sites from the US either by technical means or by making it illegal to reference those sites from within the US. It is largely the latter that is upsetting so many people.

        I read much of SOPA/PIPA as being about saving money. No doubt the operation against Megaupload has cost the FBI an awful lot of money. If, however, the feds could have blocked access to Megaupload from within the US or made it an offence to link to or even to access the site then that would have been cheaper. That would not, perhaps, have resulted in the king pins being arrested, but the loss of the US market would have been a big dent in Megauploads income. But it's more than just the US. In their usual arrogant way the US administration seem to believe that all the countries with which they are friendly will enact their own versions of SOPA/PIPA.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

    Kim Dotquack

    See Attrition.org* for some fun facts about Kim Schmitz , AKA Kim "dotcom", AKA Kimble; and this "secret hacker army" of his. No tear will be shed this side of the discernment line.

    Although the response does seem a bit heavy-handed. Wasn't Kim supposed to be BFF with the FBI? Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer. And above all keep your "friends" closest!

    * http://securityerrata.org/errata/charlatan/kimble/

    Post edited to avoid El Reg'ing Attrition.org's primary server.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A prison cell awaits you

    DotMoron.com and his supporters who hack should know that a prison cell with their name on it awaits. This should be good media fodder for a couple years as the clueless get hauled off to prison.

    1. Shades
      Stop

      Is that...

      ...you again "Morris D"? You really should change the record... tape, CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, MP3, MP4 or whatever next format you're going to try and spout the same old shite to us in!

  11. Mephistro Silver badge

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but...

    I thought Megaupload and related sites were protected under the DMCA safe harbour provisions, by providing a way for content owners to have infringing files removed.

    1. Jan Hargreaves
      Mushroom

      Yeah they are. But only if they actually take down content on request. YouTube supposedly does... MegaUpload ignored the requests... hence the shut down.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        From what I heard

        It has more to do with intent and the site knowingly encouraged and profited from the infringement while making it difficult for rights holders to get their content off the site (i.e. the same file could be referenced by hundreds or thousands of links, and a DMCA complaint had to be filed for each link).

        Apparently you can lose your DMCA safe harbor under certain circumstances (that didn't apply to the YouTube case).

        IANAL of course, just passing along what I heard.

      2. Stephen 2

        @Jan and @AC:

        I'm not sure where you're getting your facts about megaupload. They've always been VERY fast to respond to DMCA requests and to remove content that allegedly infringes copyright.

        1. spodula
          Meh

          Probably the Ars-technica article

          which seems to go into a lot more detail.

          After reading that, i have a lot less sympathy. Of course, all these claims of could all just be bollocks, as the feds have a track record of making stuff up if its convenient.

          Besides, they made the RIAA look like (bigger) Fools with that Video. As i'm sure the RIAA have told the honorable members of the senate they purchased, MegaUpload have to die.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Yes, the Ars article has more info

          ...as to what is *alleged*. There was also mention of financial rewards to top uploaders (who pretty much always posted infringing content). There were not any mention of failure to honor a takedown request other than the link not file angle I mentioned earlier (which, I don't think is a clear violation FWIW).

          So if I had to summarize the government's case, it would be that MU worked to maintain the appearance of legitimacy and compliance, while actively working behind the scenes to encourage and profit from infringement on their site.

          I'm not saying I agree with the allegations, of course.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why should they have to give a shit about DMCA

      (whether they're legit or not) if they're Kiwis?

      1. Grease Monkey

        "Why should they have to give a shit about DMCA?"

        Because they had servers in the US. Startlingly dumb move.

        If you do business in any way in a country then make damn sure that your operations comply with the law in that country. Advertise in the US? Sell to US customers? You are, at least to some extent, dealing with US law. The same goes for any country too. You might think your home country will protect you, and they might, but can you be sure the same applies to any other country you visit?

        Look what's happened to people who run gambling sites.

  12. Chad H.

    What kind of tool changes his name to....

    Never mind.

    1. Chris 228

      Yes he IS an Arse...

      But I like the house.

      1. BlueShiftNZ
        Pint

        Have a chat with the landlord, I think the current tenant may be moving to smaller accommodations.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Perhaps with a view...

          ...from behind Iron Bars?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          In fairness I think his new accomodation will be larger. I will concede that the individual rooms are likely to be smaller, and he won't have a say on who's sharing the property. But at least he'll still have a gym, and pool, and a plasma TV.

          And probably a 200lb buddy who says "you're my little puppy now!!!"

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wish I was so comfy with this.

    Kim Dotcom doesn't sound like a terribly cuddly person, still Megauploads is exactly the place I'd put records if I were, say, the Red Cross. It's cheap, many people can access it at whatever download speed they can get. It's also out of the prying eyes of net bot indexing. There is a chance, very remote I admit, that the tough guys in the Entertainment Industry may be telling some kid "See, now you're an orphan, just like Bambi" in the near future.

    The speed with which the take-down happened indicates either that no unintended consequences were possible, and we know how that works out, FBI, or that they simply did not care who was hurt (a RIAA/MPAA calling card).

    I think revenge is not the best choice here, Anonymous. Better to turn over every last f'ing rock in Asia looking for signs of collateral damage these industry maniacs may have caused with their reckless pursuit of profit.

    1. Grease Monkey

      You really think that a large international organization would be dumb enough to keep important data on Megaupload? What's it like in your head?

    2. blackcat
      WTF?

      "Better to turn over every last f'ing rock in Asia looking for signs of collateral damage these industry maniacs may have caused with their reckless pursuit of profit."

      And megaupload wasn't in reckless pursuit of profit??

      Its laughable all the whining limp lefties going on about how information should be free and shared, how its evil for the big corps to make profit and other such claptrap. Megaupload wasn't sharing, it was profiting, a LOT.

  14. Stephen 2

    Like youtube

    They're as guilty of copyright infringement as youtube, mediafire, rapidshare etc.

    The real deal: http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/onplj/feds_shut_down_megaupload/c3in8qx

  15. MontaraMike

    Anonymous took down the website of the MPAA and the RIAA, but who visits those sites?

  16. zen1

    wow

    someone simply gets charged with breaking the law, mind you, not convicted and "Anonymous" takes it out on RIAA and MPAA? Based on actions like that, I honestly don't know who's the bigger scumbag in this whole equasion: RIAA and MPAA for missing the boat on pretty much everything, dot-knuckle head for being stupid enough to get busted for alegedly breaking the law or Anonymous for being a bunch of self-righteous douchebags, who feel they are the judge and jury?

    As the author reaffirms, most people simply don't respect others intellectual property or copyrights. Piss and moan about net neutrality all you want but if people continue to pirate (and I mean profit illegally from others work by distributing it without permission or paying royalities) then there's virtually no reason to invest in product development.

    Everybody who has a job, has it because they need shelter, food and other basic necessities to survive, not simply because of the sheer love of it all. And maybe if there's enough after covering living expenses, one can splurge on materialistic things.

    This includes the selfish bastards who had the foresight to copyright their products, with the intent of selling it over the web.

    Once again, I agree with the writers assertion that SOPA was just shoddily written, we actually do something need in place to protect those who, god forbid, want to profit from their labors. But there still needs to be a mechanism in place to allow people who wish to distribute material they own, should they wish to make it available as a preview... Like the recording artist who doesn't have a contract with a label...

    Here's an idea... if people actually stuck to their words and agreed to pay for material they previewed and kept, then maybe there wouldn't be a need for dickheads like the RIAA, MPAA or the pricks who attempted to pass SOPA.

    Flame away.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's not just the charges that upset Anonymous

      it is the fact that Megaupload has been taken down.

      Whenever I am finding out about Anime that has not made it to the UK, I come across references to various streaming websites that nearly always point to Megaupload in one way or another. Generally, I tend to ignore them, because I do respect copyright and the right of content creators to benefit from their own work (and have spent many hundreds or maybe even thousands of pounds buying DVDs of series that are not shown on TV), but on rare occasions, I have actually watched material that I could not get in any other form (often the older Anime series that are not even published in Japan any more). I feel guilty as sin for doing it, but find it difficult to sympathise with the distribution companies (not the original producers) when there is no effort to make the content available. I know that the fact that such material is not published any more is actually no excuse to break copyright, but...

      Megaupload being pulled is a serious loss to people who make a habit of watching Anime on-line, but is probably the right thing when dealing with copyrighted material.

      I have always wondered how Megaupload have got away with it for so long. I could not imagine why the publishers and distributors didn't issue take-down notices, as long as they were being acted on. Maybe they are not completely blameless in this either.

      1. david wilson

        >>"I could not imagine why the publishers and distributors didn't issue take-down notices, as long as they were being acted on. Maybe they are not completely blameless in this either."

        If the indictment is to be believed, very large numbers of notices were issued, but Megaupload were doing things to frustrate the taking down of material

        For example, on uploading, they detected the uploading of already-existing copies of the same files and didn't store copies but gave new uploaders new links to the 'old' data, but on 'takedown', they only killed the complained-about link to the infringing data and not the data itself, leaving all the other links to the same data working even though they had effectively acknowledged it was dodgy.

    2. Msan
      Thumb Up

      @ Zen 1. Better to be right than popular and with you a 100% on this one

      The defense of thieving pricks, and I used to be one, by the majority of commentards is corrupt at every level. If you lot came round to my house I'd be counting the silverware after they left.

      I'm pleased my Government has co-operated with the U.S Authorities to help take this crowd down , but my fear is that this will be a one off rather than a sustained assault, property crime being largely driven by perps' cost benefit analysis of risk and reward.

      Lesson learned from your comments? 'Internet freedom' is a euphemism for unchecked criminality and the defense of that 'freedom' the cynicism and greed of thieves and accomplices.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Actually...

    The RIAA and MPAA are just business entities protecting their copyrights. No one is entitled to illegally take or distribute copyright protected works. If you want it you pay for it or go without. Saying the price is "too high" is ignorant. I could say the price of a Ferrari is too high at $450K and demand they sell it to me for $50K. What do you think the chances of that happening are? It's the same flawed logic used by those in denial over copyright protected music and software.

    Many folks are simply out of touch with reality and live in a delusional state of entitlement.

    1. Mad Mike
      Meh

      Anon - Not the same thing

      I'm not sure what the law is in the USA, but in the UK, there are laws that say you can only make a 'reasonable' profit and not operate a cartel etc. There must also be competition in most markets. The last thing obviously helps to ensure a reasonable price. So, it's all about operating margin and profiteering. I fully accept this sort of thinking and laws may not exist in the USA and I don't know about NZ or Aus either. That's why people like Tesco have to be careful in the UK. Just because you can (whether through market penetration, buying other companies or whatever), doesn't mean you can in the UK.

      There are too many examples of this to list. Insurance companies have regularly been hit by accusations and actions for lack of competition/profiteering. Supermarkets the same. Any hint of price agreements and the fines roll in. Again, numerous examples recently, one of the latest being on milk.

      So, in the UK, you cannot use a copyright to make unreasonable profits. Just because you're the only person who can sell it, doesn't mean you can charge anything you like. Of course, what the definition of 'reasonable' is, is open to some debate!!

      1. david wilson

        @Mad Mike

        >>"I'm not sure what the law is in the USA, but in the UK, there are laws that say you can only make a 'reasonable' profit and not operate a cartel etc"

        [...]

        >>"So, in the UK, you cannot use a copyright to make unreasonable profits. Just because you're the only person who can sell it, doesn't mean you can charge anything you like."

        IANAL, but I think that's complete bollocks, legally speaking,

        A cartel is where something is being made or a service is being offered by multiple people but is having its price artificially controlled.

        When it comes to IP, there is typically only one entity which can authorise the making of the product, so there is no 'competition' to artificially control. No competition - no cartel.

        Protected inventions are effectively made into monopolies, and monopolies might only attract state attention if they are actually controlling something important like water, rather than the price of Disney DVDs.

        Someone can just buy a different film or do something else with their time, but if there's no practical alternative to water, or steel, or electricity, then a monopoly in *their* supply might be looked on as being bad enough to do something about.

        If I was a pharma company with a patent drug, while it's in patent, I could *legally* charge whatever the hell I wanted for it, even if many people die as a result, though if I charged ridiculous amounts for something with a big market, I'd be giving a big incentive for someone else to find a legal way round my patent (different but similar compound, different process, etc) and I'd also be possibly not doing myself any favours in the PR department.

        Likewise with copyright.

        If I take a photograph, even if I charge a million per print, that doesn't give anyone else a legal right to sell copies of my photograph cheaper than me because I'm being 'unreasonable'.

        The only place 'reasonable' might come in is with regard to what damages I might expect to get if someone did breach my rights and I took action against them.

        If I was being a complete bastard, I might get relatively little.

        1. Grease Monkey

          ""So, in the UK, you cannot use a copyright to make unreasonable profits. Just because you're the only person who can sell it, doesn't mean you can charge anything you like."

          IANAL, but I think that's complete bollocks, legally speaking,"

          I raise your bollocks and call your bollocks bollocks (legally speaking).

          The reason the net price agreement for books collapsed was that it was, in effect, illegal. It did take 97 years for the authorities to reach that conclusion. However the case of the NBA alone demonstrates that the OPs point was, in essence, correct.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Aaargh!!!

      When will people stop comparing the costs of manufacturing and selling a physical good (a high end car in this case, but could easily be a loaf of bread) with the cost of selling a stream of data? The costs are a lot lower and the original is still retained by the seller. If I somehow copied all of the iTunes catalogue how much would Apple et al have lost? Nothing, not even lost potential sales to me as I don't buy stuff from there anymore (yep, old fart here buys physical CDs and creates FLACs from them).

      I'm not in any way claiming that makes downloading copyrighted content for free acceptable, just that your analogy is crap.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: Aaargh!!!

        You know, the films and music you enjoy still have to be manufactured in the first place and that costs money to produce.

        All the production staff, writers, actors, directors, stuntmen, special effects teams, sound artists and everything do not do this so you can have a free copy. Their wages need to be paid so the comparison with a Ferrari still holds because the product is still physically manufactured with a very real production cost attached. That it can be reproduced afterwards at low cost is irrelevant as that initial production cost must still be met. (and lots of films make a loss and are not hits, just like music)

        The real issue with copying is that it devalues the original product with the laws of supply and demand, much the same way as counterfeiting does.

        While I agree the costs for buying a film on DVD can be a bit steep the creators still have a right to get paid for producing their works.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re:Re:Aargh!!!

          Whilst I don't think that 'illegal' copying is necessarily right, in a moral sense, your analogy is still a steaming heap. Very few of the people involved in producing a film earn royalties on DVDs. Most of this is clear profit to the companies which own the rights to the film.

          For example, when a blu-ray copy of the original Star-Wars trilogy is sold, how much money do you think David Prowse gets? How much do you think George Lucas gets? What about all of those peopl in the credits? The Key Grip? The Gaffer? The post-production staff?

          Nobody is saying thet actors and studio staff should not be paid, but in general, they get paid when the actual work is done. What people find repugnant is being fleeced when they buy a DVD for a sum which is a high multiple of the actual cost of the DVD. The difference between the cost of purchase and the cost of production is a (small) profit for the shop selling it, a (small) profit for the people making the physical item, and a (large) profit for the studios.

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        FAIL

        Also fail

        > If I somehow copied all of the iTunes catalogue how much would Apple et al have lost? Nothing,

        Easy to say, but it fails on two counts:

        1) If *everyone* took that attitiude, there would be no iTunes, so it clearly can't work as a general principle.

        2) If there was absolutely no, zilch, zero, way for you to download stuff for free, can you really put your hand on your heart and say you would never, never, pay? If not, then inevitably you're creating a loss for the owner at some point by downloading stuff.

    3. Quinch

      Content is manufactured once, then reproduced into copies according to demand. Material goods are manufactured for each unit created.

      Reversing your analogy, it would be a delusional act of entitlement to demand content for less than its development budget.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "pay for it or go without."

      Sadly the whole concept of "go without" is alien to a large part of current society. Even paying for it often means borrowing someone else's money, and who the hell cares if they can't pay it back, it's 'only the banks' that lose. Hard to see a way to fix it, at least while bleeding-heart governments always work to provide a 'safety net' for the poor wee darlings who've screwed up their lives through their own profilgate habits, rather than making it harder for them to screw up in the first place.

      Start with the children, I suppose. Hammer financial common sense into them from primary school? Can't see today's lefty teaching systems helping much with that, though. Maybe the next generation will figure it out?

      1. Lamont Cranston

        "pay for it or go without."

        All well and good, but the only material I've ever taken from sites like MU was stuff that I couldn't pay for, even if I wanted to, because the owners were not willing to distribute it.

        To echo the sentiments issued previously in this thread, if the big media companies were offering the service that people wanted, piracy would go down considerably (I'm not going to claim that it'd be eliminated).

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Many folks are simply out of touch with reality and live in a delusional state of entitlement."

      Best description of the RIAA/MPAA I've read.

  18. sueme2
    Pirate

    Next?

    How about youtube? Or is that a protected animal?? Briefly reading the story, they are in the same business with vids. Then again, youtube dont have a catchy tune to distinguish them do they? Did they talk to a judge before they whacked the site?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What Loss On Sales?

    I have, in the company of others paid for and sat through some of the products of the motion pictures association of america. How can I claim compensation for having wasted 3 hours of my life and had money extorted from me in the pretense I was going to be entertained?

    I have no interest in watching it for free via some dodgy link to some equally dodgy site watching, or rather sitting through much of this cr*p would be payment enough.

    Who would notice if the RIAA or MPAA web sites were taken out, would anyone visit them anyway? Disabling a deceased zombie sounds like a waste of time and effort.

    However, disabling the thieving g*ts who steal and abuse credit card details and other financial matters IS a good idea, disable them permanently - please

  20. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Megaphone

    Filesonic, Mediafire and Hotfile....place your bets on who's next!

    1. Grease Monkey

      Not forgetting Rapidshare

      1. Mad Mike
        FAIL

        Those who don't do as they're told.

        I'm not going to defend this idiot or many of the people involved, but let's be honest about the reason why this site was taken down and not others. Megaupload had copyright material being pirated over it (just like every other online repository of files), but took it's time taking it down. if they got a request, the material did disappear, but not very quickly. Other sites were quicker at it. So, they were considered to be beligerant and this caused the takedown. Others are considered to be 'co-operating'.

        So, this is nothing to with whether material is being pirated through the website and everything to do with if you do what the USA says. Youtube does what it's told. So do some of the others. They actively try to help the USA. Other sort of go along in a slow sort of manner. That's the difference between being taken down or not.

        So, over time, sites will simply move away from countries like the USA and now NZ and Aus as they have done what their master (USA) says. They will be hosted in places unreachable by the USA. The more the USA does it, the more business they will loose. Eventually, the USA will become a place where it's too difficult to do anything at all. They will loose in the end. It will take years, but it'll happen.

        I'm not defending pirating, but simply saying you don't cut off your nose to spite your face. Sometime, someone has to acknowledge the issues and problems around Hollywood and the music companies and deal with them. Eventually, someone will realise that no matter how compliant the population seems to be and no matter how much they seem to dance to your tune, there is a line. There are so many examples around the world of what happens when that line is crossed.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now if they can only interview Guy Goma about this,...

    to get the "IT support job interviewee" perspective on all this.

    PS. For "not good enough character", read "not politically connected enough".

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SOPA

    I can imagine the spin on this...

    "See, this is why SOPA is important. Had SOPA been in force, we could have taken megaupload down, and stopped the resulting DDoS with a click of a button!!!"

    I bet ya. Any time soon once Washington DC wakes up.

  23. introiboad
    Holmes

    Indictment

    The indictment is an excellent read:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/78786408/Mega-Indictment

    They were pretty reckless in their emails talking about piracy, but I feel for the people who have personal files stored in MU and are now without those.

    Not sure who to line with on this one, on the one hand this Kim muppet probably went too far, on the other hand cyberlockers are useful to many people for legal purposes, I don't want governments to shut them down without due process.

  24. Cunningly Linguistic
    Big Brother

    Commentards in lynch-mob fervour...

    ...why is it in the post-9/11 world people are automatically assumed to be guilty?

    Has the "innocent until proven guilty" mindset in this world of terrorism disappeared for every big media bust?

    Is it any wonder that the US is the most reviled nation on Earth?

    1. Josh 15

      "...Is it any wonder that the US is the most reviled nation on Earth?.."

      Also happens to have the world's largest prison population. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison

      Not bad, for a nation styling itself 'the land of the free'. *facepalm.jpg*

    2. Paul 129
      Facepalm

      Well yes but

      If you read the legal documentation then you will see that the prosecution appear to have emails with the parties discussing issues about and swapping links to copyright content.

      It looks like even Master Gates wouldn't be able to duck this one.

  25. Tegne
    Megaphone

    What about the people who have paid for, and are using this site legitimately?

    They just got stiffed by the US legal system. Will they be compensated?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Auntie's Bloomers

    Just been listening to BBC Radio 4 news while getting ready for work and it occurred to me what a metaphor for the current 'state of the world©' this morning's running order was:

    1: Long snore-fest about what the voters of Moosejaw Creek, Arkansas think about various people you've never heard of, who are in the running for, being in the running for, President of the US of Merkins [and, by extension, Ruler of Britain, so I suppose the Beeb files that under 'local politics']

    2: Brief article on the latest SOPA, Megaupload and Anonymous skirmishes, wherein John Humphries cuts to the heart of the matter with; "If I'd written a book, I'd want to get paid" and Rory 'I taught Stephen Fry everything he knows about tech' Cellan-Jones explains a Denial of Service attack 'without going into too much technical detail' along the lines of; "You click a button on an internets and somewhere a kitten dies"

    [Needless to say, not a word on what some might consider the fairly newsworthy other implications of these stories; namely that the FBI seems lately to have become the military wing of the American motion picture industry and that US legal jurisdiction now applies globally]

    3: Interview with the former head of Egyptian state television, which Humphries opens, without a trace of irony, by lambasting the interviewee for his role in having kept the Egyptian people in the dark about events in Tahrir Square.

    [Joke icon, because I think I'm living through one at the minute!]

  27. Anonymous Noel Coward

    I recently read a news article a few days ago that says the U.S. Congress wants to re-copyright works in Public Domain.

    1. Grease Monkey

      Where did you read it and what were it's sources? Or are you just spreading FUD?

      The only thing I've heard is that the US are under pressure from some countries over copyright issues because works go public domain sooner in the US than some other countries. For example a written work will remain under copyright in the UK for longer than it does in the US. There are plenty of US sites which host UK written/published work and will allow you to download it for free, because it is no longer in copyright in the US.

      The US seems to think that it's copyright laws should be applied outside the US. If they really believe that then surely they should see that other countries have a right to complain when US sites are breaching their copyright laws.

      How would the US feel if the EU enacted it's own SOPA/PIPA laws and started blocking access to US sites? Or better still how would they feel if EU authorities shut down US sites and arrested their owners and operators?

      Take project Gutenberg for example. There are plenty of works on there which are still subject to copyright in other countries. The best you get from project Gutenberg is a warning that some works may still be subject to copyright outside the US and it would therefore be a bit naughty of you to download them in those countries. If the copyright owner were to issue a takedown notice under DMCA do you think they would get anywhere?

      The internet is truly international and that is a good thing, but that fact of itself means that countries need to work towards a truly international regulation of copyright and other IP issues. That doesn't just mean the US imposing its IP laws on the rest of the world, but some sort of compromise being reached. The US can hardly complain about countries not taking a hard line on IP infringement when the US itself has no regard for IP laws in other nations.

      1. Anonymous Noel Coward

        http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/01/18/2247223/us-supreme-court-upholds-removal-of-works-from-public-domain

      2. Oninoshiko
        FAIL

        Source:

        The dissenting opinion of Justices Breyer and Alito.

        (warning: PDF containing both the majority and dissenting opinions.)

        (The dissenting opinion starts on Pg. 45 of the PDF)

        http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-545.pdf

        It Cites US caselaw, the act in question, the Berne convention, The Statue of Anne, and makes careful note of the differences between English copyright (on which the US copyright was modeled) and mainland - European copyright.

        So, I've listed my source, what's your's?

    2. Gannon (J.) Dick
      Thumb Up

      Wednesday

      I read that too.

      The Supreme Court ruled that Congress may re-Copyright works.

      Here is the PDF: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-545.pdf

  28. MyHeadIsSpinning

    Optional title used

    Not to play down what Anon can do in any way, but how effective is shutting down the websites of the MPAA, RIAA etc going to be?

    Do many people visit those sites?

  29. phil mcracken
    Trollface

    Dot Com? What a stupid surname...

    I would have changed it to Jong Il for the lulz.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is Russia the only real safe place left to live?

    More and more people resident in (or citizens of) countries that are not the US seem to be being arrested and deported for crimes under US law, but what may not be crimes under the country they are resident/citizens of. See cases like O'Dwyer and others. Im getting very disppointed with the seemingly happy attitude of countries to hand over their own citizens (or residents) to the USA for 'crimes' which were not a 'crime' in the country they were performed in. This seems to me like a projection of US law to the rest of the world. OK in the context of megaupload, there was a lot of piracy - but the deeper issue here is the ability of the US to have local authorities arrest and extradite people on their say so.

    As we all know, ignorance of the law is no excuse - but do we now need to know all the laws of our own country, as well as those of the USA as well - or face deportation to the USA when we break one of their laws (that no one outside the USA voted for or had a say in) and become annoying for the authorities or their corporate paymasters?

    Russia has it right - they stick two fingers up tot he USA when they ask to arrest & extradite people who broke no Russian laws. Even countries like Switzerland are extraditing people to the US - just recently day a russian visited Zurich and was arersted/deported to the US. OK fair enough, he made a lot of money conning and scamming people - but the point is the same. He was not arrested in the country he perofrmed the crime in. Why then can another country project its laws to the other side of the world and bring people to its own land for trial?

    There are valid arguments for this - for example yeah the Russian in question made life am isery for a lot of people by ripping them off - however its Russias job to prosecute their citizenry. for crimes commited inside Russias borders. Same for the UK. Same for New Zealand.

    I always wondered why my wifes university Law degree was taking all of its students for a 30 day visit to the US to study their legal system in action - now I know. In future, we are all going to be expected to follow local laws as well as those that the US projects beyond its borders.

    Good luck everyone, this could get bumpy.

    1. Anonymous Coward 15
      Black Helicopters

      In Soviet Russia,

      law follows YOU. Everywhere.

    2. david wilson

      @AC

      >>"Why then can another country project its laws to the other side of the world and bring people to its own land for trial?"

      That depends what extradition agreements might exist, and how much they might be stretched in a particular case.

      If there's a 'dual criminality' clause, what's done needs to be sufficiently seriously illegal in both nations.

      In some cases (murder, etc), that's a pretty trivial thing to evaluate.

      The trickiest cases are where something might be /arguably/ illegal in the country someone is in, but might be rarely, if ever, prosecuted even if an activity is common. Or, if you like, where the local law really *should* be clarified, and either used or repealed.

      It could be that someone does something that is (or *arguably* is) illegal where they are but which pretty much everyone tends to get away with. In that situation if a request for extradition is made, the country where they are might not have the same leeway with regard to extradition it would have if deciding whether to prosecute locally (ie deciding whether to enforce its own laws or not).

      If a request is made properly, then "yes, but /we/ wouldn't normally prosecute someone here for doing that!" /might/ not be a valid reason for refusal.

      So it's not necessarily a case of 'having to know US law', but of knowing local law well enough to be sure you're not breaking it even in ways which rarely attract local attention. If you're operating internationally in any meaningful (or even arguable) sense, you may require a better knowledge of local law than someone who's only being local.

      >>"Is Russia the only real safe place left to live?"

      Not, it seems, if you do stuff the government doesn't like.

      Like opposition politics, or journalism.

    3. Chris Hance
      Windows

      "one of their laws (that no one outside the USA voted for or had a say in)"

      You'll find that precious few of us, the irrelevant masses (formerly, "We, the people"), inside the USA voted for or had a say in them either.

  31. BRAINPLAN
    Facepalm

    Regardless of your opinion of the MU execs

    It feels a lot of people miss the point... why should they be tried as copyright infringers or anything else for that matter?

    They provide a service that allows people to upload files and receive a unique url to share that file, just as imgur allows people to upload an image and soundcloud to upload an audio track.

    There is no traditional crime such as money laundering, human trafficking, extortion or anything else.

    The onus lies with the user, not the execs nor the service.

    As with the physical world, people will always abuse things. Just because thieves use a crowbars to break in to homes doesn’t mean you shut down the manufacturer.

    1. introiboad

      Apparently because they knew that copyright was being infringed on their site and willfully resisted doing anything real against it.

  32. Bill Cumming
    Trollface

    one point no one has made...

    ...or if they did i missed it!

    Now people who used "megaUpload" to store LEGAL files have now lost them and that same data is now effectively owned by the US government.

    I can see a few Class Action lawsuits in the future... ^_^

    1. Grease Monkey

      Megaupload wasn't advertised as somewhere to store your data securely. As such anybody trying to take action against the US authorities for the loss of their data would be on a hiding to nothing. All the authorities would have to do is to point out that Megaupload did not advertise they would keep your data safe so the uploader had no reasonable expectation that their data would be protected. And anybody uploading important data to a site like this would be an idiot if they did not have secure backup copies.

      As such I can't see there being any such lawsuits at all. Certainly not successful ones.

  33. Doug Glass
    Go

    Optional

    Ooh-rah! The fat lady just cleared her throat again. All the thieving little shits world wide will be up in arms. Popcorn ... where's the popcorn.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, let's ignore the real issue here, in favour of having a pop at the freeloaders. Let's not disucss the fact that Holywood's paramilitary wing ( sometimes called the FBI, I believe ) can stomp all over the planet demanding everyone else falls into line, regardless of local statutes and laws?

      1. david wilson

        >>"Let's not disucss the fact that Holywood's paramilitary wing ( sometimes called the FBI, I believe ) can stomp all over the planet demanding everyone else falls into line, regardless of local statutes and laws?"

        Well, the FBI can't *extradite* people 'regardless of local statutes and laws'.

        That's why it might have to wait for someone to be in one place rather than another.

        Whether you (or I, or anyone else) might think they *ought * to be able to extradite someone in a particular case is a very different question to whether they legally *can*.

        1. Mad Mike
          FAIL

          Legality has nothing to do with it

          As various organisations around the American legal system have shown in the past, whether they can legally do it, is not always relevant. Maybe not the FBI, but American state organisations have previously carried out extreme rendition, kidnapping (in Italy), torture (both within their definition of torture and outside), illegal arms shipments (Iran Contra) etc.etc. So, I'm not sure that legality has an awful lot to do with it. If the political masters are paid enough by someone to want to do it, they simply order it done and deal with the minor issue of legality later.

          1. david wilson

            >>"Maybe not the FBI, but American state organisations have previously carried out extreme rendition, kidnapping (in Italy), torture (both within their definition of torture and outside), illegal arms shipments (Iran Contra) etc.etc. So, I'm not sure that legality has an awful lot to do with it."

            Legality has a lot to do with it.

            Especially since the AC was effectively suggesting that the FBI was demanding that every other country should ignore their own laws when it came to copyright matters, which doesn't seem to be what is happening in this case, or in general.

            It's poor logic to say that because some entity or a related one has engaged in some illegal acts that that has any bearing on whether a particular act, or acts in a particular 'cause' are legal.

            It'd only be if someone was suggesting that the acts must be presumed legal because the entity was of impeccable character or presumed illegal because they were such a consistent lawbreaker that their other behaviour history might be relevant to making a guess, and even then, the guess would rapidly become irrelevant in the face of actual evidence.

            As it is, illegal behaviour by the CIA et al doesn't *seem* to have been directed in any meaningful way at copyright infringers, so appears of even less relevance.

            >>"If the political masters are paid enough by someone to want to do it, they simply order it done and deal with the minor issue of legality later."

            Though in the examples you give, it's not obvious that many would likely have some external agent prepared to pay bribes to politicians for them to be done.

            Many (if not most, or even all) seem to be fairly easily blameable on misguided politics rather than profit.

            Who would conceivably pay US politicians or political appointees bribes to get the CIA to snatch someone suspected (rightly or wrongly) of terrorism offences from a foreign country, or to torture them?

            Even if some other country wanted the supposed information very badly, they could likely get co-operation by mutual usefulness to the CIA, with no bribery needed, they way they would do if requiring some lawful assistance from the CIA.

            1. Mad Mike
              FAIL

              @David Wilson

              It is amazing how you are willing to defend organisations that have acted illegally so many times before. If you want to be specific about the FBI, let's try the communist witchhunts of the past and J Edgar Hoover. As has been coming out for sometime now, Hoover ordered many illegal acts personally as part of these witchhunts. A very large number of American citizens were wrongly accused during that time and effectively had their lives ruined on complete rubbish evidence, the testimony of others under duress and illegal wiretaps etc.etc.

              So, now we've established that the FBI cares nothing of the law (except when it suits them), a large part of your argument disappears. I can pretty much guess your next attempt to justify Americas laughable action will be to claim the communist witchhunts were years ago and everything is different now etc.etc. The irony of this is quite good though, as many in Hollywood were on the receiving end that time.....

              Whether a company is paying them to do it directly or through politicians is irrelevant. Many politicians and companies have made a fortune out of the Iraq and Afghan wars........companies such as Blackwater. Construction companies are making a fortune as well. If you really believe American (and UK and other) politicians aren't owned by big business you really are stupid. If you really believe they aren't making money out of everything politicians do, the same applies. They don't give politicians jobs after they finish in politics for nothing you know.

              This action is a great over reaction to a problem they will never defeat (which makes it pointless, whether morally right or wrong) and simply brings American into more disrepute in the world. If these people have committed crimes, have them prosecuted in the countries they reside in. If they have broken NZ laws, fine. However, applying a law from one country to another and then trying to enforce it makes a mockery of international law.

              Why don't we simply enact a law in this country making it illegal to have ginger hair. Pop over to America, find a ginger and try to extradite them. Any luck? Thought not. I'm sure Iran has laws against people defaming Mohammed and Islam. I'm sure they could find plenty of people in America (and elsewhere) to extradite. Any luck.....thought not. It's a complete one way street, where America gets everything it wants as it's the most powerful. End of story.

              Most people around the world consider America (and rapidly other countries) as hypocritcal and bully boys. They wonder why they get attacked all the time. Perhaps it's time to keep their noses out of other peoples business. By wanting everything on their terms and bullying everyone to do it, they make the whole world hate them. This is just a another example, where there is a problem and they use the legal equivalent of a nuclear weapon to deal with it when a small precision weapon would have done. Their military have been doing it for years. Look at the Gulf wars, Vietnam etc. Just bomb everything flat, opposing military, civilians the lot. Who care. Then, they wonder why everyone hates them!!

              Americans (and I assume you are one) need to grow up.

              1. david wilson

                @Mad Mike

                >>"It is amazing how you are willing to defend organisations that have acted illegally so many times before."

                I'm not saying that they're *right* in this case, or defending them as an organisation in general.

                I am saying that concluding that the FBI *are* wrong or even *probably wrong* in this case because of some past wrong activity would be deeply retarded if someone is focussing on a cherry-picked fraction of their past activity and ignoring the rest.

                FFS, the UK police break the law on occasion, some of which we hear about, and a dela of which we likely don't, but if someone claims that that means they must be or probably are breaking the law on some specific occasion when they're doing something the person doesn't approve of, that person would be being an idiot.

                All it would mean is that they can't *automatically* be trusted, something which people who have grown up past black/white with-us-or-against-us reasoning would already know.

                >>"So, now we've established that the FBI cares nothing of the law (except when it suits them),..."

                You haven't established that at all, though given your apparent limited grasp of logic, and the way you seem to mix it with hyperbole, I can see why you might *think* you have.

                What you've established is that at some points in time, some people in the FBI ignored some laws, and you're trying to conclude that that means that it as a body, (and/or the people within it as individuals) don't feel obliged to obey the law in general, except where obeying it is no real inconvenience.

                I think you're conveniently forgetting what organisations *really* look like when they pay no real regard to the law.

                For a start, they seem to generally end up with a death rate among people who don't agree with them rather higher than the FBI seems to achieve.

                >>"I can pretty much guess your next attempt to justify Americas laughable action will be to claim the communist witchhunts were years ago and everything is different now etc.etc. "

                Then you guess wrong.

                McCarthyism was a shameful episode in history for a country which likes to claim 'freedom' as a founding principle, just as the various interventions in South America were the height of hypocrisy for a country claiming to be a bastion of democracy.

                But just as it's not at all obvious what those behaviours would have had to do with an extradition case at the time they were happening if that case wasn't meaningfully related to Communist or similar politics, it's not immediately obvious what they, or any of the other things mentioned (or not yet mentioned) necessarily have to do with the merits of a specific current extradition case, where the legal arguments will be put forward in court, and people will have the opportunity to see if they agree with the eventual decision or not,having learned more than they probably currently know about the relevant laws

                Though it seems highly likely that many people would be likely to agree or disagree not really based on any legal case, but on what they wish the law was in one or both countries, rather than what the law actually is.

                If faced with 20 US extradition requests they personally didn't want to happen, if 10 were approved and 10 refused, there are *some* people who would conclude that the 10 refusals were down to a country having a 'brave independent legal system', and the 10 approvals down to 'corruption or undue influence'.

                That'd basically be the arrogance of the conspiracy nut - "I'm such a bleeding genius and so obviously in the Right that anyone who disagrees with me must be being *paid* to disagree with me!"

                >>"Whether a company is paying them to do it directly or through politicians is irrelevant. Many politicians and companies have made a fortune out of the Iraq and Afghan wars...."

                So, you're backtracking on your previous claims about 'political masters being paid' to order things like the kidnapping of [rightly or wrongly suspected] terrorism suspects, or torture, and trying to change it to a far weaker (and blindingly obvious) argument about companies making money out of the Iraq war, while not having the decency to admit your previous claim was one you couldn't really defend as it was?

                >>"If you really believe they aren't making money out of everything politicians do, the same applies."

                So who's making money out of the CIA waterboarding innocent (*or* guilty) people?

                A conspiracy of bucket and towel manufacturers?

                Please don't try the pathetic tactic of making a stupid point, and then trying to pretend while failing to defend it that I claimed something I never claimed.

                I never even came close to suggesting that companies don't make money as a result of *some* political decisions, or that they don't try to influence decisions.

                I merely asked who would pay for the decisions in the cases which you chose and suggested (rendition, torture, etc).

                The fact that *you* chose a crap set of examples is your problem, not mine.

                >>"This action is a great over reaction to a problem they will never defeat (which makes it pointless, whether morally right or wrong) "

                So you think it would *necessarily* be pointless to do something even if it was morally justified, if it was thought unlikely to make a great practical difference?

                >>"Why don't we simply enact a law in this country making it illegal to have ginger hair. Pop over to America, find a ginger and try to extradite them. Any luck? Thought not. I'm sure Iran has laws against people defaming Mohammed and Islam. I'm sure they could find plenty of people in America (and elsewhere) to extradite. "

                So by that attempt at making an analogy, you're making the assumption that in this case:

                a) there's no NZ law equivalent to the US ones which are alleged to have been broken

                and

                b) none of the alleged offences took place meaningfully in the USA despite that being where a lot of the business mentioned in the indictment actually happened?

                Or are you just no chuffing good at making up relevant analogies?

                >>"Americans (and I assume you are one) need to grow up."

                Then you guess wrong (again), and I guess you probably haven't meaningfully read much of what I have written.

  34. Grease Monkey

    Speaking of which. I always thought the FBI operated within the US and the CIA outside the US. That being the case what are the FBI doing operating outside the US?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I always thought the FBI operated within the US and the CIA outside the US."

      You are lost.

    2. Daniel 4

      Roughly speaking, the CIA are the spies (Central Intelligence Agency) and the FBI are the more conventional police (Federal Bureau of Investigations). While the CIA isn't supposed to target citizens (and thus generally not domestically), the FBI can operate domestically, or with the cooperation of local authorities, abroad.

      -d

  35. Grease Monkey

    Have any of anonymous' attacks ever resulted in a victory? Other than a perceived moral one? IOW have any of their attacks over arrests ever resulted in the arrestee being released without charge? Have they ever succeeded in getting the law changed?

    I think that they are hopelessly naive if they think these attacks do anything other than harm their case. Taking the MU case as an example it seems that Anonymous are playing right into the Fed's hands. So the Feds have shut down the site and arrested some of the owners and employees. The anonymous start attacking the Feds and various media industry sites. And what will be the general public perception of this? Well as far as Joe Public is concerned a hacker is a criminal and probably not too far from being a terrorist. So the public perception of MU is now that these guys are best buddies with criminals and terrorists, even if they're not.

    Politically speaking therefore what we have is a neat little spin on the SOPA/PIPA issue. The US authorities have, with the aid of anonymous, demonstrated to the great unwashed that the file sharing sites that SOPA and PIPA are targeted at are clearly a bunch of anti-American crooks.

    And surely the timing of this is not coincidental.

    Now before you start flaming me I'm not saying that hackers are necessarily crooks or terrorists. Or indeed that file sharers or the facilitators thereof are so affiliated. I'm just pointing out how this will be spun politically and why this makes the members of Anonymous hopelessly naive.

    1. Mad Mike

      I agree with a lot of what you're saying, but I'm not sure that the general public thinks a hacker is a criminal and not far from a terrorist. I think the publics perception of hackers is mostly determined by who they attack and given the targets of these attacks, probably think hackers are Robin Hood. The rights and wrongs of the action don't come into it. They simply 'like' which ever side is considered 'least bad'. Both sides could be bad, but they would side with the least bad one. In this case, I suspect most people hate RIAA etc. more and therefore the hackers are the 'good' guys.

      Large elements of the public are becoming very disillusioned with anything that even smells of big business or politics. Politicians are at an all time low in public perception largely due to Iraq, Afghanistan and matters such as this where they are deemed to have lied or used dubious means. Media companies and their representatives have made themselves some of the most hated companies on the earth with their actions, such as Crossley prosecutions in the UK etc.

      So, compared to these two groups, hackers seem almost morally righteous and clean.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Headmaster

    tsk tsk

    "Dotcom nee [sic] Schmitz"

    Since Kim Dotcom is a male, it should be written "Dotcom né Schmitz" instead of "née" or doubly wrong "nee".

  37. John Savard Silver badge

    Extradition?

    They should be tried in New Zealand for any breaches of New Zealand laws they committed. If they haven't set foot in the United States, and they don't vote in U.S. elections, why should U.S. laws have anything to do with them?

    After all, New Zealand does have copyright laws, and it does have laws which forbid its citizens, for example, from amusing themselves by launching missiles at Australia.

    It is distressing that the U.S. has apparently pressured many countries into ceding an important element of their sovereignity to it.

    1. GrantB
      Boffin

      Never going to be prosecuted in New Zealand

      The local police have already indicated that they won't be tried in New Zealand as they have no operations here and have broken no local laws worth taken them to court (though I am surprised Kim managed to legally own weapons and number plates like STONED)

      As I understand it, NZ has an agreement in place with the US for extradiction so simply went along with the normal arrangement as if a local had murdered somebody and jumped on a plane to the US. In such cases ( and there are recent examples), the FBI will hunt for the person and hand them over to the US.

      That being said, something like 70 local police involved in the raid along with helicopters etc is an extraordinary amount of effort from NZ police for somebody not seen as dangerous to society.

      I can't help but feel that some of the zeal from governments involved is that knowledge that they will find the operation quite profitable; I presume assets seized will be pocketed by the US and NZ governments. Could you imagine the same effort being applied if Kim was just another broke ex-dotcom CEO?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Skip the trials...

    Just shoot them on sight. It's a shame to waste a good bullet, but it's the best for society so we'll just have to make the sacrifice.

  39. Graham Wilson
    Flame

    Bastards!

    It's bastards such as this that empower those other bastards, the MPAA and RIAA, making it difficult for everyone.

    Trouble is, their existence is just the very excuse the Copyright Industry thugs need for their 'justifiable' overreaction, SOPA/PIPA being the result.

    We ordinary users end up caught in the crossfire.

  40. Chris 228

    They can run...

    ...but they can not hide. Ask TPB and Anonymous members behind bars.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope they enjoy prison life

    The shitze people do in their lust for money. I hope they all spend a long time in prison.

  42. SleepyJohn
    FAIL

    Beware the Ides of March

    There seems little difference to me between what Megaupload does and what the Media Industry does - by and large both take the work of artists and sell it, giving little or nothing to the artist.

    I don't see the Media Industry having the moral high ground here, especially as the sole reason they want to destroy Megaupload is clearly jealousy - they can read its balance sheet and want it all for themselves. It is a pity they are not equally capable of reading how the UK government finally solved the 'problem' of pirate radio ships in the '60s. Here is a clue: they allowed legal stations to supply the public with what the public wanted - as the pirate ships did.

    If the cretinous US Media Industry could run an operation as efficiently as Megaupload seems to have done there would be no need for Megaupload. Or if Megaupload could devise a simple way of recompensing artists for their work, there would be no need for the Media Industry. Either way there would be happy customers paying fair sums for their entertainment. Instead of which we have millions of ordinary, law-abiding folk throughout the world who utterly despise and revile the US Media Industry, to the point where the slightest excuse will have them kill it off like cockroaches in the kitchen. Incompetent management or what?

    In the meantime the most incredible marketing opportunity the world has ever known, or could even have dreamed of a few short years ago, is being thrown down the pan by people too blinded by short-term greed and a criminal's contempt for the customer to muster a single coherent thought on the subject. And the likes of Google trundle quietly on making mega-fortunes by giving people what they want, simply, efficiently and freely, without feeling any need to imprison babies or bankrupt old ladies. The mind boggles. Monty Python couldn't dream it up.

    Good luck to Y Combinator - http://ycombinator.com/rfs9.html

  43. SleepyJohn
    FAIL

    The Ratnerisation of the US Media Industry

    I have just thought of a new word - ratnerise. It means to destroy your business by showing contempt for your customers.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not so fast

    The RIAA and MPAA are not showing contempt for their customers. In fact most of the world has no issues with the RIAA, MPAA or copyright laws. The majority of people in the world who are law abiding citizens actually pay for digital products and services everyday. The only ones who really have an issue with copyright laws are pirates and those who falsely believe in entitlement.

    Obviously if the charges are proven against Mr. Dotcom then he's up the creek without a canoe for intentionally violating copyright laws.

    1. Mad Mike
      FAIL

      @Anonymous Coward

      And you evidence for most of the world not having a problem with RIAA and MPAA? Absolutely none. If the number of pirates and the amount of content being passed around is as great as these wonderful organisations suggest, it rather makes the majority pirates and therefore, by definition, you argument is wrong. Either these organisations are guilty of grossly overstating the problem and therefore dishonest (as they've been told long enough this is the case), or your argument falls. Either way, your argument is rubbish.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inconspicuous Pad

    At least Dotcom picked a nice, inconspicuous pad to live in. Duh!

    His new "home" is likely to have less of a view.

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