The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

Summary: The Pirate Party are planning civil action against the FBI for the closure of Megaupload. Was there a point to the closure of the storage locker in the first place?

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Just a few days after the majority of the tech community were sitting smugly over coffee watching headlines confirming the temporary defeat of SOPA, Megaupload disappeared overnight from the digital radar.

After the FBI took it upon themselves to close down the storage locker, seize the domain names, confiscate over $50 million in assets and arrest the founders, the rage and confusion of users was felt worldwide.

Now, a movement has begun in Catalonia from the Pirate Party (PP-Cat) that aims to bring collective civil action against the FBI.

On the first day, over 1000 ex-megaupload users registered in Spain alone, and now collective anger is branching out due social media communication. If you surf the hashtag #megacomplaint on Twitter, you can see the campaign is gaining a degree of momentum.

Support has also flooded in from other Pirate Parties across the world -- including the Czech Republic, Russia, UK and Sweden. The campaign's website expresses anger at the 'millions of legitimate users have been crippled by the U.S. authority's attempt to enforce their own law across the world.'

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

By using the campaign website and social media links, users that have lost files which may well be legitimate can join the 'movement', make donations, voice their complaints and read the manifesto.

PP-Cat says that the FBI has potentially violated Articles 197 and 198 of the Spanish Penal Code by misappropriating personal data, and further than the takedown being an illegal action, it has caused disruption and damage on a global scale in a 'fruitless' attempt to clamp down on copyright theft under U.S. law:

However, as much of the unlawful content will still be available via other services on the web, this action not only shows us the futility of these measures but also serves as a reminder that these files are not necessarily, nor have been shown to be, illegal in any country, including the U.S.

So, in the case of Megaupload, U.S. authorities decide to close down the service on the basis of suspicion of copyright infringement under debatable legal avenues. If the law in one country can take down global services as they please, was there a point to so many attempting to stave off a bill which gave authorities the power to do such a thing?

PP-Cat, in conjunction with various Pirate Parties across the world, plan to investigate these potential breaches of law and will 'facilitate submission of complaints against the US authorities in as many countries as possible, to ensure a positive and just result.'

Andrew Robinson, Pirate Party UK Culture Media & Sport Spokesperson, supports the effort -- saying:

"We believe that the rights of ordinary people are being ignored by those intent on maintaining a flawed business model via excessive legislation. We believe that unjust laws like SOPA, PIPA and now ACTA must be fought, and that ordinary internet users should have legal recourse against the copyright lobby."

The movement is not about applauding online piracy. It is about giving legitimate users a platform to attempt to defend themselves from authorities that overstep the mark:

Regardless of ideology, or opinions on the legality or morality of those running Megaupload, actions such as the closure of this service cause huge damage to lawful users of the sites and are unacceptable and disproportionate violations of their rights.

Sure, Megaupload was a prime target to be taken down to leave music labels slavering at the mouth -- but as ZDNet's Steven J.Vaughan-Nichols noted, only a small percentage of illegal file-sharing takes place through cyber storage-lockers. BitTorrent services are, and probably will be for the foreseeable future, the easiest and most popular method of file-sharing.

It seems like scaremongering more than anything, as many similar storage services have already fled to the hills or banned users from the U.S. to stave off their own ruin. However, it won't make a blind bit of difference to those who pirate -- it will probably affect legitimate storage users far more.

Image credit: PP-Cat

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Topics: Piracy, Enterprise Software, Security

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62 comments
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  • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

    "effect legitimate storage users far more."
    "AFFECT legitimate storage users far more."

    GREAT article. And great job by the Pirate Party for wording their responses so clearly.
    Imrhien
  • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

    Have never been a megaupload user, but from reading other articles it looks like this was a big time storage location for pirated music and movies and that the owners were making big money from dues to use it. I don't like the implications of what SOPA or PIPA can do, but I've got little to no sympathy for people who are blatantly uploading, downloading and profiting from the illegal distribution of copyrighted material like this.
    boomchuck1
    • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

      I think the point is that an overseas company run by foreign nationals in a foreign country were arrested and their assists seized on the "suspicion" of violating US Copyright law. The US has no legal authority to do what it did. But, from living in a country where citizens can now disappear and be held without trial or charges for indefinite periods of time after being whisked away to unknown overseas locations, why should I be surprised. The MPAA and RIAA are nothing but robbers who bribe politicians to do their will. Sure, copy-rite infringement is wrong. But the greater injustice is what is happening to people by US Jackbooted thugs.
      M.M.Grimes
      • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

        @M.M.Grimes
        Are you listening to yourself, blaming MPAA and RIAA for this?? You may find MPAA/RIAA methods deplorable, but you cannot find anything admirable about Megaupload, can you??? Futhermore, this conglomorate was doing illegal activities, while on US soil. You don't think they have the right and the authority to do what they did???? Sorry, but I go into a frenzy too many times, trying to figure out where some people's heads are! Go ahead with your barbs but had to get that off of my chest!!!
        eargasm
      • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

        @M.M.Grimes So foreign nationals and foreign-based companies don't have to follow US law? I'm going to take a trip to Spain and start robbing banks. Based on your reasoning, it's obvious I don't fall under their laws.
        JoeBob_z
    • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

      @boomchuck1 When I come upon things that begin with a self-confessed lack of knowledge, i.e., "Have (sic) never been . . . " I stop reading.
      rttedrow@...
    • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

      @boomchuck1 [b]Have never been a megaupload user[/b] And then I stopped reading because anything after this is completely irrelevant because it's based on rumor, innuendo, and speculation - NOT personal experience.

      I HAVE used megaupload for legitimate downloads of game mods. Sure there are indeed pirated files on there however that does NOT give the FBI the right to shut down the entire site - wasn't this exact scenario the reason why so many of us opposed SOPA and PIPA?

      I have little sympathy for those who are involved in software piracy but it's moves like this that punish the innocent and not the guilty.
      athynz
    • Ehhh??

      @boomchuck1

      What they did was offer a file storage service... and yes charged for more than basic account services.... just like Rapidshare and the likes. Don't confuse the actions of individuals abusing site user agreements (and in all fairness, MU - just as any other reputable file storage site - investigated/removed any suspect content if reported) as being a business model.

      How about be penalise Google for filtering out illicit search results? Sue the daylights out of the architects of any kind of file-share technology (forgetting that many extremely legitimate corporations now make use of these technologies... including bittorrent!)?? And what exactly do ISP's think we do with all those massive ADSL's download limits that they offer for ridiculously low costs?? Where exactly would you draw the line of (in)sanity?
      kaninelupus
  • It won't matter ...

    The US generally ignores any attempt at being held accountable to foreign legal actions. Most often this crops up in Latin America, where US law enforcement agents routinely operate without permission from the local government to even be there, much less arrest (kidnap) suspects without extradition proceedings.

    Adding to that, the US has repeatedly refused to recognize any jurisdiction by any foreign power. They recognize the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice only on a case-by-case basis, meaning when it suits them.
    terry flores
  • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

    Really, I have downloaded several legitimate files from Megaupload. Usually they are pieces of software (or documents) that the authors were giving away for free and as a result couldn't afford the bandwidth to host them (or didn't have their own website).

    Just because a few use a site for illegal purposes, does not make the site illegal and Megaupload did try to police it's self, although sometimes they went too far in what they removed.
    cmwade1977
    • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

      @cmwade1977 Actually, they did the opposite of self-policing -- they concocted schemes to claim compliance while encouraging and profiting from piracy.
      qnetter
    • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

      @cmwade1977 Most likely it was a few legal users and the vast majority were illeagal
      Rdewey
      • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

        @Rdewey
        Your missing the point, completely. It is all about the US trying to enforce its laws on other countries. Countries in which the activity in question is perfectly legal. That's one of the reasons why the Teliban and other groups are so upset with the US. Such thoughtless actions are doing no more then fuel even more terrorism against the US by people that see no other way of retaliation. What next is the US going to invade the world?
        csumbler
    • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

      @cmwade1977

      This is Napster and Kazaa all over again. The precedent was set back then.
      CyberGuerilla
  • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

    I belonged to Megaupload a long time ago. It seems at that time more care could have been taken to protect copyrights
    Hometutor
  • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

    Long-live the Public Domain ~~~~~~~
    andrew.homzy@...
  • boycott

    i wonder if complete boycott of all american goods and services is on the cards? Would corporate america even notice? The dismantling of pax americana...
    walkerjian@...
    • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

      @walkerjian@... Go ahead and boycott. remember pax americana built the internet.
      kkaiser
      • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

        @kkaiser
        Exactly!! And, most of the world!!!
        eargasm
    • RE: The Pirate Party: Justice for legitimate ex-users of Megaupload

      @walkerjian@...
      Good luck boycotting American made items, corporate america outsources as much as possible to various Asian countries or Mexico.
      techrepublic@...