The life and death of Megaupload
Fri, 20 Jan 2012 6:07p.m.
By Alex Bourn
Megaupload.com has been seized and shut down by the US Justice Department as part of the investigation into alleged copyright infringement.
It is one of the biggest criminal copyright cases in the US.
Megaupload is one of the world's largest file-sharing websites with more than 150 million registered users.
Its site houses a vast volume of film, music, television programs and electronic books.
It is called a ‘file-locker’; users can upload any content they want for free. But to download, users are given two options: A basic, and slow, service at no cost, or a premium subscription for unlimited downloads.
And it is this service which has made Megaupload internationally popular.
“The premium service is for those who are doing a lot of downloading. It allows them to get the file quickly, and it would also allow them to get many more files, either simultaneously or in a day,” says Vikram Kumar, Internet New Zealand chief executive.
Megaupload is exactly the sort of website that has American politicians squabbling over the SOPA anti-piracy bill, and created an outpouring of online opposition to tinkering with internet freedoms.
And in the past, Megaupload has had support from unlikely sources - including artists like Kanye West.
But the Motion Picture Association of America estimates the majority of the content on the site has been pirated - creating more than half a billion dollars in lost revenue.
“This is a large-scale criminal-level violation and yet we're gonna have many people who fundamentally believe that the law to fight copyright violations like this is just wrong,” says Mr Kumar.
The site makes its money through advertising revenue and selling those 'premium' subscriptions.
“The convenience of quicker and faster downloads are what people are paying for,” he says.
Tonight the Megaupload site is not working. That will be a blow to millions of users, but despite today's crackdown it's inevitable that illegal file sharing will continue on the internet.
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22/01/2012 9:16:02 p.m.
Supporting Megaupload.com, all they want is the fine, half a billion is absolutely something Kim can pay, or put it on installment - so what. Indeed, look at other file sharing sites that are not cracked, and why? Just a little unlucky this time.
22/01/2012 8:44:43 a.m.
Lets make these big rich aholes pay for even thinking they can control the internet in such a manner. I have always downloaded films, and if they were any good I would also go to the cinemas to watch them on the big screen. So I have decided to never ever go to the cinemas or rent a DVD ever again because of this.
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