Online storage / cyberlocker web site Megaupload has been hit with a lawsuit for operating an international criminal enterprise with Megaupload, profiting from copyright infringement and piracy; it comes at a time when copyright is a hot issue with the SOPA and PIPA bills moving through Congress and exploding in online protests. Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (born Kim Schmitz) and six others were arrested in New Zealand, reports the New York Times, and for now Megaupload movies and Megaupload songs have been taken offline, along with the entire site at Megaupload.com.
But that's not all ... the online battle then progressed as the hacker collective Anonymous launched an attack on the web sites of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Justice Department in response. Does this story sound juicy yet?
Search sites like Megaupload, RapidShare, Mediafire and Hotfile provide the ability to do an anonymous upload of files, then allow for others to download the files from a Megaupload.com web address that can be given out by the users. Although there are a million legitimate uses for a service like Megaupload, they get caught in the trap of users uploading copyrighted material like movies and songs. The issue here isn't whether copyrighted content should be freely shared -- the issue is that Kim Dotcom and his associates were leaving Megaupload vulnerable to copyright infringement with the sharing of files that equaled copyright infringement while profiting from that kind of a service. They offered Megaupload premium accounts for higher end services and provided an ad-based service for Megaupload free users. Megaupload was also sued by Universal Music Group recently in a big controversy over a promo video with Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas. Megaupload vs UMG will be happening in the future, but for now, the Megaupload lawsuit filed this week will probably be bigger.
Check out more about steaming music sites in the Spacelab Streaming Music Guide.