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First off today, a day after the SOPA protests blacked out sites all across the Web, the Federal government moved in and shuttered the controversial file sharing site MegaUpload citing copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit money laundering and racketeering. Authorities also arrested seven people, including the eccentric founder of the site, Kim Dotcom, and three other employees of his in New Zealand. The site, which at one time was the 13th largest site on the Web and reportedly constituted some 4% of all Web traffic, went dark following the seizure. Also seized was a variety of property owned by Dotcom, including a series of extravagant cars. According to the indictment, MegaUpload was involved in, among others, a scheme to copy almost all of the videos on YouTube, directly uploading copyrighted content to their server and working to thwart legitimate takedown notices. Most of the company’s sister sites were also offline.
Next up today, in response to the closure of MegaUpload, Anonymous retaliated by launching denial of service attacks against a variety of websites including those for the the U.S. Department of Justice, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Though the sites went down briefly last night, most appear to be up and functioning this morning though it is unclear if Anonymous is planning further action.
Finally today, Congressional leaders have announced that both the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) are being put on hold so they can be redrafted and a new compromise can be reached. The controversial bills, which would have allowed copyright holders to get court orders requiring ISPs to block access to “rogue” websites, were the subject of massive online protests Wednesday, which saw much of the support for the bills wane. However, in various statements, leaders hinted that they will be re-raising these issues shortly and are not finished with piracy legislation at this time.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.
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