Megaupload.com seized

Vadim Antonov avg at kotovnik.com
Fri Jan 20 15:19:57 CST 2012


>>>   "Without the permission of the copyright holder" _is_ contrary to
>>>   statute, and thus 'against the law'.  As such 'illegal' is _not_
>>>   an incorrect term to apply to the situation.
>>>
>>>   It may not be a _criminal_ violation, but it is still proscribed by law.
>>>
>>>   "Illegal" and "criminal" -- _these_ are different things.
>>>

Storing copyrighted material in *any* place, file-sharing server or not, 
is _not_ illegal under the current law as it stands.  There is no law 
which dictates the location of file with a legally obtained content I 
keep for my personal use.  I have no obligation to prevent unauthorized 
access to copyrighted material by any third parties. I don't need 
permission of copyright owner to make copies for my own personal use, 
and I don't need permission to entrust keeping of these copies in any 
place by any agent - as long as that agent does not *use* these copies.

What is illegal is the act of publishing this material (making a public 
performance) and making copies for use by other people without 
permission from copyright holder.  In the digital world it is, 
basically, publishing a reference (and a decryption password) in a 
public forum or otherwise sharing it with others.

That's the dirty secret behind all that PIPA/SOPA lawmaking - as it 
stands now, as long as file sharing services refrain from *publishing* 
the material (as opposed to merely storing it and allowing the rightful 
owner(s) to download it - but without any obligation to actually verify 
that the posession of ownership rights) and have a procedure for dealing 
with takedowns they are in the clear, legally.

This  places the burden of finding infringing content and proving 
infringement to the copyright holders.  They cannot efficiently do that, 
and so they want to off-load that burden to the user content hosters.

The less charitable interpretation is that PIPA/SOPA is a massive 
shakedown attempt by Hollywood; by basically threatening to shut down 
social networks and user-generated content hosters they'll be able to 
hold hostage the business of some very wealthy companies.  If the law 
passes, these large companies will have to come to terms with Hollywood 
and music industry by means of purchasing blanket licenses (it is 
impossible to monitor all user content for copyright violations), 
resulting in transfer of billions of dollars from high-tech to Hollywood.

The worst part is that companies like Google and Facebook may end up 
seeing PIPA/SOPA or future bills of the same nature as beneficial to 
them - after all, they already have enough money to pay copyright 
extortionists off, but their upstart competitors won't be able to get 
into the field at all.  Paying a portion of their income in exchange for 
exclusion of future competition may be looked at as a good bargain, 
without negative P.R. normally associated with explicit attempts to 
cartelize.

--vadim



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