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MegaUpload targeted with civil actions

By | Published on Wednesday 28 March 2012


Two independent rights owners in the US have launched civil proceedings against MegaUpload and its founder Kim ‘Dotcom’ Schmitz over the alleged infringement of copyrights they own.

The civil litigation follows, of course, criminal action against the Mega empire and its top execs, four of whom are currently fighting extradition from New Zealand to face copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering charges made against them in relation to their involvement with the controversial file-transfer and video sharing company.

First plaintiff Microhits owns music rights while co-litigant Valcom owns the copyrights in various TV and film assets, and according to The Hollywood Reporter both companies rely heavily on the charges made against the Mega business in America’s criminal investigation in their civil lawsuits, filed with the Virginian courts.

Both claimants are seeking compensation of $30,000 to $150,000 per infringement, though their legal papers do not reveal how many of their works they believe MegaUpload infringed. Both companies have copyrights in thousands of bits of content, so could well push for mega-damages if they were successful in court, though a lot of content owners will be going after the Mega fortune if copyright infringement is proven in either the civil or criminal cases in the US. It’s already thought the Motion Picture Association Of America is planning its own litigation on behalf of the big studios.

Team Mega, of course, continue to claim their operations were protected from infringement claims under American law, and that the US authorities’ assault on their empire was politically motivated.