Megaupload Takedown: The Real Meaning

George Washington's picture

The Feds’ takedown of Megaupload shows beyond the shadow of a doubt that SOPA, PIPA or any similar legislation is wholly unnecessary.

As the Atlantic’s Dashiell Bennett correctly notes:

The shutdown inadvertently proved that the U.S. government already has all the power it needs to take down its copyright villains, even those that aren’t based in the United States. No SOPA or PIPA required.

Indeed, that might be why SOPA’s chief sponsor – who said he’d still push SOPA even after Wednesday’s web blackout – backed down right right after megaupload was taken down. (Granted, it could have also been because Anonymous’ hacking spree showed that draconian legislation won’t stop techies, or because of increased political pressure from other areas.)



Every day, criminals use storage lockers to stash drugs, stolen jewelry, etc. When the Feds raid, they seize the ill-gotten loot, and throw the criminals in jail … as they should.

They don’t shut down the entire storage company, or the train station where the locker is located. We can all agree that that would be absurd.

But the Feds say that Megaupload was basically a criminal enterprise, focused on illegal conduct. In other words, their response to the storage company analogy will be that the storage company gave money to people who stored dope or stolen property there, and that the whole thing was a criminal enterprise. (The Feds also point out that a grand jury found that Megaupload probably did bad stuff.)

I don’t know enough about Megaupload to know whether or not that is true. Numerous top entertainment celebrities endorsed Megaupload (major stars like of the Black Eyed Peas sung Megaupload’s praises)… so it’s not like the entire business was criminal. On the other hand, some people accuse Megaupload’s founder as being a serial criminal.

But the take down of Megaupload was wrong. It should have gone through the normal court process, and a judge should have ruled on the site before anything was done to kill the business. This is especially true because the. countries involved are signatories to international copyright and extradition treaties, not “rogue” nations.

It should be the courts which examine the evidence and determine whether the business used a criminal business model, or was mainly a legitimate business. Whatever happened to due process of law?



Even if the criminal company analogy is accurate, the honest customers of a storage company would normally get their property back. They wouldn’t say “60 percent of the customers are crooks, Mrs. Jones, so we threw away your priceless family heirlooms, too.”

Indeed, if it were easy for the Feds to arrest the criminal owners of the company and to give people notice that they could pick up their property, they would probably do so, and give a specific timeframe to pick it up.

The Feds would not shut down the storage company and throw out all of the property stored there by honest people.

As Ernesto at TorrentFreak writes:

Do the feds realize that hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people used the site to share research data, work documents, personal video collections and much more?


What will happen to these personal non-infringing files?


People are outraged on Twitter and are demanding access to their files immediately.

  The Real Meaning

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By mindlessly shutting down the site, the Feds have made a very stupid move, indeed.


Did the Feds Just Kill the Cloud Storage Model?

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Azannoth's picture was enforcing Copyrights (to some degree) often when I tried to watch a new Hollywood movie there I got a 'Content deleted because of Copyright infringement' notice

but obviously with 1000s of people uploading copyright infringing content all the time it's impossible to enforce it all. will be sorely missed and it's shutting will get the fury of many people who used it legitimately(and not so legitimately)

agent default's picture

Missed?  Hardly. For every Megaupload shut down, two or three will spring up, more sophisticated nad taking many more precautions.  Just look at the p2p scene.  In the beginning thare was napster, they went after that because it was fairly centralized, then there where the kazaa/gnutella  type networks, they went after them with less sucess mind you some of these are still running, but are considered dated by many, now we have bittorrent and some other gizmo over Freenet and some other minor(for now) stuff. Observe the trend, it is becoming more decentralized, encryption is now pretty much end to end, and the use of Tor networks is becoming more widespread.  Megaupload is just media hype.  In reality it is not even a blip.  In six months time, it will be right up there in memory lane with Napster, WinMX, iMesh and others.  The total impact will be negligible.

PeaceLover's picture

Never met a real smart cop or agent..

They just do the bidding of the elite..

Most aren't even smart enough to know they are.

Kind of spooky.

Seem like the only thing that may help is Maybe Ron Paul??
He is the only one that may make us a country to be proud of again..

Take the time to watch this.. Its who is doing it all!

non_anon's picture

the United States Fed gov and state govs M.O., war on drugs, war on property rights, war on piracy, et al, is not to prosecute crime but to take the gotten and/or ill gotten gains from either legal or illegal activities. The central powers are desperate for cash and will do whatever it takes to keep afloat.

i-dog's picture

   "The central powers are desperate for cash"

It's not that they're short of cash (after all, they print the freaking stuff!), it's that they don't want you/me/us to have any.

Serfdom doesn't work if the serfs have their own means of survival.

fromthebleachers's picture

i-dog, you're on fire. actually made me post for first time in months.

Azannoth's picture

'War' seems to be the first and last response to any and all problems concerning the USA

non_anon's picture

amen, Johnsons war on poverty also comes to mind

john39's picture

one of the goals there seemed to be to destroy small independent black businesses...  NWO needs all on the welfare tit afterall.  you must love big brother.

CH1's picture

Perhaps so, but they don't like the white guys any better. I think we're all targets.

thegreatsatan's picture

child please, megaupload was a fucktasticaly shitty way to store work or personal files of original content or licensed material. there are far better, far easier to use cloud based apps for file storage of a personal nature. 

seriously, there was no legit content on megauplod you ignorant fuck

Fred Hayek's picture

Psychologists call this projecting.

css1971's picture

Oh it's worse than that.

Megaupload and Google shutting down services have brought Counterparty Risk to computing. Nobody in their right mind can now rely on cloud services being there tomorrow. Nothing of value will be risked.

The Cloud is officially dead.


DarthVaderMentor's picture

You are right. The Cloud is dead.

Unless, of course, the government offers a cloud where you have no rights of privacy.

A new revenue stream?


PeaceLover's picture

Your right as big as Google is they aren't big enough
and the problem with googles whole philosophy was based on truth or let you find what is really there..

Well the government doesn't seem to be real happy with that model anymore. ie..wikileaks

The Media lost billions give me a break if your making 150k a year you buy it because the time to download and risk of virus is to high..
If your a kid or collage student buried with a student loan you may watch a copy.. because you have time and no money.
But if it's not free guess what. your not going to buy it because you can't get a crappy copy off the internet.. you will watch something that is free!

the other thing I the Big guys thought about it and dropped the prices to where they where cheap enough they would have more money.. volume.. Apple backed off and started cheap down load and now there stock it hot?

i-dog's picture

Did you pen the original of that in some intergalactic language that Google Translate had difficulty with? No problem ... just curious.....

lincolnsteffens's picture

The first time I learned about cloud computing I thought to myself " who would be stupid enough to put anything sensitive or important in cyberspace. Criminals could hack it or Govs. could gather data on users. Not for me, never will be. I'm even beginning to regret signing up for facebook.

GernB's picture

The article uses a flawed analogy. If the owner of the storage lockers knew organized crime was usingnthier lockers for large scale drug operations and were doing nothing tonstop it, the FBI would absolutely shut them down.

Ryan Langemeyer's picture

No way that the FBI could "legitimately" take innocent storrers property. Key word there is "legitimately". 

Montgomery Burns's picture

People have rights (supposedly) Property does not. Thats how police confiscate property and cash from people who are frequently not even charged with a crime.

DaveyJones's picture

If property is sezied in an investigation and the client is not charged within the statute of limitations, a client can get it returned assuming it is not contraband or the officers have not proven its title is with someone else.

hidingfromhelis's picture

Police departments do it all the time and get away with it.  There is no recourse for the people that have their money or posessions taken from them.  No charges ever have to be filed.  

DaveyJones's picture

not saying they don't do it. Saying a court and prosecutor will agree with you and they will release it when you take those steps. Prosecuted for a decade

thegreatsatan's picture

if you are in posession of stolen goods, pretty much most governments will confinscate it. just because its digital doesn't change the rules. 

DaveyJones's picture

WIth clear stolen property, you can never have title however in drug forfeiture hearings, the government must demonstrate the property could not have come from "legitimate" means.  If the defendant can show the property either belonged to someone else or was obtained through legitimate means, it is not fofeited. Don't see how the government can retain folks legitimate property if it was not the byproduct of their or the site's illegal process  

Sancho Ponzi's picture

Confinscate? 'Pretty much most governments'? Go back to school, dummkopf.

Careless Whisper's picture

Maybe it's the record labels that are the criminals? They have a long history with payola and organized crime.

GernB's picture

Sure,but one crime does not excuse another. Megaupload must surely know thier site is being used to traffic stolen goods. That makes them an accessory to the crime. Everyone here is mad at the government. To me that is shameless condonation of the theft of the work of hardworking artists and members of the entertainment industry ( who coulld mabye employ more unemployed people if the public paid for thier work). Where is the condemnation of Megaupload for not at least attempting to have a minimal policy to police thier site for stolen goods and stop those distributing them?

onebir's picture

But should copyright legislation be as tight as it already is? The reason for copyright is to make production of intellectual property worthwhile for the good of society as a whole. Copyright legislation worldwide has got stricter and stricter under corporate lobbying, and some quite sensible people think it goes way beyond that goal now.

And yer, it turns out MU was flagrantly breaking the law. But some proportion (minority?) of it's users (who just used it for file transfer and backup) weren't. And they also have rights - which have been totally ignored.

Zero Govt's picture

What a (PR) fuck up for the United States (of Retards) Govt

This is a 20 Ton tank to hammer a 3" nail into some light plywood

All the tekies now see the US Govt as a bunch of left-footed thugs and anytime Anonymous attacks they'll cheer their lungs out

But anyone that uses Cloud is an idiot they know why ...Cloud RIP

csmith's picture

Why is this RIP for, say, the Apple or Amazon clouds? They've built their business on it. Confiscating everything on it would generate a firestorm and wreck their businesses. "Reputable" cloud services will continue to grow.

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

This is a 20 Ton tank to hammer a 3" nail into some light plywood

Sounds very affordable and appropriate... </sarc>

HungrySeagull's picture

3 inch nails dont even penetrate a tire of my 18 wheeler. With that said I would not want to try it.

At 40 tons, one tire and wheel carries the weight of two family cars or one car built before 1875.

The ground pressure of a 20 ton scout tank will go where I will get stuck.


Anyway, enough fun.

Colud computing is bullshit. Many times I simply entered my home IP from School and remotely retrieved and sent the teacher in the classroom my homework which I left at home. All of it was recorded in real time.

As far as backups and data. I have so many hard drives that it is easier to consolidate them into one tera drive and throw that into the fire proof safe.

At the end of day there is nothing left to go through, even if the house did burn down. We would not mind building a new one.

nah's picture

the government is too big, it is just claiming powers in front of failed legislation


somehow its the law

gravedestruction's picture

What is really disturbing are not those on the other side of the camera but the real creeps on the other side of the microphones that eavesdrop on just about any and every conversation at home (yes in your home!), at work, on the phone or the web.

These slimy federal toads literally coerce your next-door neighbors into allowing them to eavesdrop into the false sense of privacy that you think you have in your own house without any warrants! I know because I set up my own surveillance years ago in learning about the harsh reality that these toads represent.

"Maybe the only privacy you have is in your head, perhaps that is enough" as John Voit so aptly stated to Gene Hackman in the movie "Enemy of The State".

john39's picture

your data is all belong to us now....     (better rethink cloud computing people)

Ahmeexnal's picture

Al Gore invented the internet, it belongs to him and so do any and all files and emails that transit through the net.

DaveyJones's picture

so do girl parts in portland

onebir's picture

Here's a google search proxy:


Rynak's picture

Who cares about google? You can twart their datamining, just by configuring your browser to kill cookies at every exit of the application.

Whom you should be concerned about, regarding surveilance, is your very own ISP.... and a plain normal webproxy does not address this at all.

Your primary enemy isn't somewhere far out there on the inet.... but instead the company that connects you to the internet..... a class of companies, which not only is THE ideal point for a "man in the middle"-attack, but which also in many countries BY LAW is FORCED to keep backups of all your surfing for months (read: they not only can track you - they legally MUST do so ALL THE TIME!).

Spastica Rex's picture

I think the strategy is to shepherd people into internet ghettos (Facebook, etc.) and then lock the gates.

Ranger4564's picture

First there were phone books, now there are social networks.  Just another mechanism for tracking people.  The old method cost money, the new one costs less.

HungrySeagull's picture

Nice! Thirty thumbed up for you.

I am one of the few who walked away from Facebook. It was a amusing exercise and a bit of learning which of your classmates are still alive or dead and how.