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The Podium

Friday, January 20

Speaking of Piracy

By Brad

While Congress is taking a step back on bills aimed at tackling the issue, the Department of Justice and the F.B.I. are being more active. As Ben Sisario of the New York Times reports:

In what authorities have called one of the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought, the Justice Department and the F.B.I. have seized the Web site Megaupload and charged seven people connected with it with running an international enterprise based on Internet piracy.

Megaupload, one of the most popular so-called locker services on the Internet, allowed users to transfer large files like movies and music anonymously. Media companies have long accused it of abetting copyright infringement on a vast scale. In a grand jury indictment, Megaupload is accused of causing $500 million in damages to copyright owners and of making $175 million by selling ads and premium subscriptions.

In response, the online hacker group Anonymous reportedly attacked a number of websites, including the Department of Justice. Meanwhile, at TechDirt, Mike Masnick questions the timing of the action:

Is this really the message the US DOJ and White House want to be giving the day after mass, widespread protests happened concerning a fear that this new law would be used to take down websites?