Megaupload: International IP Enforcement Without SOPA But With Critics

After Congress and the rest of us saw a show of power by Internet players on Wednesday, Thursday saw indictments unsealed in the United States, arrests in New Zealand, and Hong Kong based Megaupload.com shut down. That’s not all. Search warrants executed in the US and 8 other countries led to seizure of about $50M of assets and 18 domain names. The accused individuals were alleged to be involved with Megaupload to carry out a criminal conspiracy which harmed copyright owners to the tune of half a billion dollars.

The story is widely reported today, but not much is known beyond the details in the Justice Department’s news release yesterday. http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/January/12-crm-074.html. The New Zealand police website likely has information, but I couldn’t access it. That may not be entirely an accident. There were also reports today of Anonymous claiming responsibility for attacks against the Justice Department’s website and several entertainment targets.

In the bipolar view of Hollywood v. Silicon Valley, it was a good day for Hollywood which has no love for Megaupload and its massive 4% of Web traffic. That puts it in the Pirate Bay class of websites major content owners want closed for good. Silicon Valley was not so happy. Many commentators saw the enforcement effort as an effort to win Hollywood back after the deathwatch on SOPA and PIPA began last Saturday with the Obama Administration statement and effectively ended with Wednesday’s powerful stands such as the black redaction block over Google’s logo and Wikipedia turning off the lights.

The best news today in my opinion is a New York Times story “Dodd Calls for Hollywood and Silicon Valley to Meet.” The headline says it all. Former US Senator Chris Dodd was speaking as the head of the Motion Picture Association of America. He makes it clear that representatives of copyright owners were as startled by Wednesday’s events as members of Congress, and Hollywood is “rethinking everything” including the relationship with Silicon Valley.

Who can disagree that the creativity and success of American entertainment and internet technology must both be protected? And who seriously imagines that website attacks will end government copyright enforcement and allow one side to win? Hollywood and Silicon Valley need each other, and our culture and economy need both. An important spokesperson saying out loud that they need to talk is music to my ears.

About Craig Pinkus

Craig Pinkus is a partner in the Intellectual Property Group. He also is a member of the Litigation and the Sports, Entertainment and Media Groups. He assists clients with a broad range of disputes and transactions involving all areas of intellectual property, entertainment, and other complex business arrangements. He has conducted trials and arbitrations throughout the United States and has argued appeals before the Seventh, Sixth and Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, the Indiana appellate courts, and United States Supreme Court.
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