DoJ shutdown of Megaupload proves SOPA opponents were right, starts war with Anonymous

File-download site Megaupload was shut down under indictment; other sites went down under DDOS

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    The statement listed 10 sites Anonymous DDOS attacks brought down:
  • justice.gov
  • universalmusic.com
  • riaa.org
  • mpaa.org
  • copyright.gov
  • hadopi.fr
  • wmg.com
  • usdoj.gov
  • bmi.com
  • fbi.gov

“Get some popcorn… it’s going to be a long lulzy night,” one post read at AnonNews.org, a primary outlet for Anonymous news releases, announcement and updates on ongoing operations.

By early this morning U.S. time, however, AnonNews.Org was down as well.

Despite the misgivings of Megaupload's lawyer, the DoJ raid on Megaupload could not have been better timed as a way to intensify the debate over copyright infringement, censorship and the twin SOPA and PIPA bills before Congress.

As Rothken pointed out, Megaupload has been shut down, perhaps permanently, before the government has even begun presenting its case.

That might be appropriate for businesses charged with being mainly devoted to illegal operations – Bernie Madoff's investment firm, for example, which turned out to be an elaborate Ponzi scheme defrauding new customers every day it operated.

For operations like Megaupload, which host far more legal files than allegedly illegal, shutting the whole thing down and charging its main function was to profit from copyright infringement – especially before proving any infringement had taken place or even that posting copyrighted files does constitute infringement – violates the assumption of innocence and requirement that the accused receive a fair trial.

Those are exactly the issues that troubled many about SOPA and PIPA – those and the overbroad definitions of what constitutes an offense.

Combining an imprecise definition of infringement and permission for the DoJ to shut down entire sites or family of sites accused of even a small amount of copyright infringement is the alchemical process that turned both SOPA and PIPA from potentially noble efforts into weapons for totalitarians.

Rather than trying to give creators and owners of creative content control over their work, SOPA and PIPA focus on enforcement and punishment, making them instead vindictive, extra-judicial , government-sanctioned programs to punish those who don't conform to business models that have not adapted to new technologies, new customers or even old ideas of civil rights, justice and the assumption of guilt.

Photo Credit: 

Reuters file photo, Kim Dotcomm (Schmitz) 1999

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