Hollywood studios line up to kick Kim Dotcom
Valcom, Microhits launch civil suit
In what could almost be seen as a vote of no-confidence in the FBI’s battle with Megaupload and founder Kim Dotcom, two content owners are filing civil lawsuits against the company and its extravagant boss.
According to Hollywood Reporter, the two litigants are Microhits (owner of recordings by Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone and others) and Valcom (whose TV holdings include shows by Denzel Washington, Bill Murray and Jackie Chan).
As Hollywood Reporter puts it, the complaint “rehashes Megaupload’s popularity, its operations … and some of the alleged conversations among Megaupload employees”.
In the grand tradition of litigants’ content valuations, the complaint – filed in Virginia – seeks between $US30,000 and $US150,000 per infringement.
Dotcom, who after a court decision last week has to subsist on a miserly $NZ47,000 per month, is resisting American attempts to extradite him from New Zealand. On Tuesday March 27, his lawyers in New Zealand reported that Hollywood heavyweights including Disney, Warner Bros, Fox and Turner Broadcasting had all held discussions with Megaupload with a view to setting up commercial agreements.
Last week, the MPAA asked for data about Megaupload users to be retained, sparking speculation that it would launch suits against individual users. The MPAA has since denied that it intended any such action. ®
I hope you're sitting comfortably...
This guy's provided a storage platform, and those that used it placed illegal material on it. So what has this guy done wrong, that every Cloud/Online backup/Online file respository provider has not?
Shouldn't the emphasis be on the people who stored, or more precisely, used his platform to distribute the material, or maybe just those who downloaded in the knowledge that they were doing so illegally? It could be argued that MegaUpload have the responsibility to ensure that no content on their site infringes copyright, or is being used for distribution, however how do they know that someone downloads it illegally? Surely you can store copyrighted material online, and it is those downloading who have to ensure they do so legally (as you can download copyrighted material legally after all).
I could legitimately put some MP3s on there, and then share them with my friends. It would be their moral/legal responsibility to ensure they actually owned the tracks in some form prior to downloading, and perhaps I shouldn't have shared the link if I was unsure. It just seems to be a witch hunt and they've chosen to persecute the guys running these sites for the behaviour of their users.
On the same token then, should Cisco be prosecuted for providing the network infrastructure on which this crime can take place? What about the ISPs? How about EMC, IBM or other storage vendors for providing the arrays on which a lot of this data is stored? How about Google for providing search results to torrents/protected content etc? How about Twitter and Facebook for sharing links to copyrighted content? How about YouTube? They need to catch the guys actually sharing the data specifically to bypass the copyright, not the people providing the tools as you can extrapolate the farcical nature of this to some extreme lengths. It's almost impossible to enforce and those seeking prosecutions are looking desperate in their attempts to prosecute. I mean, should gun manufacturers be prosecuted for every murder committed with the tools they provide?
If you want to stop piracy, why not prosecute every single PC/laptop/phone/hardware vendor as ultimately they are providing the means (as Kim Dotcom did) to conduct online piracy? In my eyes, piracy is down to the person downloading (as only they know for sure that they are committing a crime), not the distributor nor the service provider. I can share content, it's up to the end user to ensure they download it legally. As this is nigh on impossible to enforce, in their hissy fit of not making as much money as a small country, they decide to prosecute anyone who's name is associated in the practice.
Just my two cents, maybe I'm totally wrong. Flame on!
Re: I hope you're sitting comfortably...
"So what has this guy done wrong, that every Cloud/Online backup/Online file respository provider has not?"
Not to mention any postal service that has transported packages containing unauthorised copies of copyright material.
What he's done wrong is not toady up to the "authorities" while flaunting his wealth. He's done things like paying for a personal car plate "POLICE" (although why that was allowed by the registration authority is hard to imagine). For all I know he's also not made appropriate political contributions. While I'm not at all certain he's somebody I'd want as a friend, there's a strong flavour of vendetta about the attempted extradition. The press says he'll be mounting a substantive defence.
The small joke is that due to the extradition attempt, his wife just had twins in NZ (planned to happen elsewhere) so they automatically get NZ citizenship, although his own residence visa is being questioned. Unintended side effect.
...in a few years time, when all this has blown over and he's written a book about the whole thing, will these same studios then be fighting over the film rights?