Pirate Parties around the world are planning on organizing a lawsuit against the FBI over the seizure of the popular file sharing website MegaUpload.com, according to TorrentFreak.
MegaUpload, which had more than 150 million registered users, was shut down by the FBI on January 19 because of alleged copyright infringement. The site allowed registered users to upload files, which could then be downloaded by others.
“The FBI has caused incalculable damage, far in excess of the losses claimed by the content lobbies, in a fruitless attempt to prevent access to the media content hosted on Megaupload, some of which they claim to have been infringing copyright under U.S. law,” the Pirates of Catalonia, a Spanish Pirate party, said.
The site was used to illegally share TV shows, movies and other content, but it was also used for legitimate reasons, such as sharing work documents, research and other files.
“By closing the service they have impeded the access to millions of archives of both private individuals and organisations, potentially causing huge personal, economic and image damages to a vast number of people.”
“The widespread damage caused by the sudden closure of MegaUpload is unjustified and completely disproportionate to the aim intended,” the Pirates of Catalonia said.
The owners of MegaUpload claimed to work with copyright enforcement agencies to remove infringing material and said they complied with Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices. But prosecutors said they were not diligent enough and sometimes illegally shared files themselves. The prosecutors labelled the site a “mega conspiracy” that cost copyright holders $500 million.
“In exchange for payment, the Mega Conspiracy provides fast reproduction and distribution of infringing copies of copyrighted works from its servers located around the world,” the indictment said.
Seven of MegaUpload’s founders and employees have been charged with online piracy crimes. The charges include copyright infringement as well as conspiracies to commit racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering.
After the Swedish Piratpartiet was formed in 2006 to reform copyright laws and fight for Internet freedoms, various other Pirate parties sprung up across the world.
Pirate Parties International (PPI), a trans-national organization of Pirate parties, was formally founded in 2010 at the PPI conference in Brussels.
Eric W. Dolan
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