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CloudNews: Megaupload: Cloud Or Crime?

CloudNews: Megaupload: Cloud Or Crime?Megaupload

Hollywood and its partners have taken a step further towards the criminalization of Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload, the cloud service which allowed its members to upload files, and then offer those files to whomever they pleased. While Dotcom calls his service a “totally legal cloud storage site”, the American RIAA calls Megaupload a site allowing users to engage in “rapid, unrestricted downloading of popular, infringing content.”

The latest in the Dotcom saga is threefold:

  •  The American RIAA is suing Megaupload for “actively and intentionally encourag[ing] their users” to upload copyrighted content “for the purpose of distributing those copies to millions of other users.” They are seeking “maximum allowable damages.” What’s new here is that the recording industry wasn’t part of the first shenanigans that targeted Dotcom, as it was the cinema industry that spearheaded the first waves.

The never-ending saga of Megaupload still bears the same question: was Megaupload a simple cloud service or was it more than that? Can Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, SkyDrive be taken down if someone uploads copyrighted material and shares it with the world? Does that mean that smaller cloud solution providers, like ownCloud and SpiderOak, are at greater risk than the larger corporations?

Ira Rothken, Kim Dotcom’s lawyer, told ArsTechnica in the beginning of April:

We believe that the claims against Megaupload are really an assault by Hollywood on cloud storage in general as Megaupload used copyright neutral technology and whatever allegations they can make against Megaupload they can make against YouTube, Dropbox, and others. And we believe that at the end of the day that the court will find their claims to be without merit and that the court will find that Megaupload and the others will prevail.”

Aereo, a video streaming website that relies on cloud storage to provide services to its customers, has recently argued that any action against them could result in putting cloud services, as a whole, at risk.

This is a complicated case, however it boils down to this:

The justices had questions about how they could rule against Aereo and not affect cloud services. If Aereo violates copyright law by providing a public performance without paying royalties, then “1,000 people who have the same content” in the same cloud locker may also be considered a public performance, said Justice Stephen Breyer. – Grant Gross (IDG News Service)

Once again, what’s the difference between Aereo and YouTube? These questions remain unanswered.

What’s your opinion? Tell us in the comments.

By Cedric Lizotte

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