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US movie studios sue MegaUpload

By | Published on Tuesday 8 April 2014


Six of the US’s largest movie studios have sued the now defunct MegaUpload and key members of its team, including founder Kim Dotcom. 20th Century Fox, Disney, Warner, Universal, Columbia and Paramount have brought their case with the backing of the Motion Picture Association Of America.

The lawsuit has been long expected, though it was initially assumed that the MPAA might wait until the criminal case against Dotcom in relation to his running of MegaUpload had been completed before making any move. However, with the US government’s attempts to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand dragging on ad nauseum, it seems the organisation and the studios it represents have become impatient. Which means the civil case could get to court before the criminal proceedings.

As much previously reported, Dotcom and his team are accused of encouraging and profiting from illegal file-sharing on the MegaUpload platform, prior to its shutdown by US authorities in January 2012.

In a statement yesterday, the MPAA’s general counsel Steven Fabrizio said: “When was shut down in 2012 by US law enforcement, it was by all estimates the largest and most active infringing website targeting creative content in the world”.

He continued: “MegaUpload was built on an incentive system that rewarded users for uploading the most popular content to the site, which was almost always stolen movies, TV shows and other commercial entertainment content. It paid users based on how many times the content was downloaded by others – and didn’t pay at all until that infringing content was downloaded 10,000 times. MegaUpload wasn’t a cloud storage service at all, it was an unlawful hub for mass distribution”.

Writing on Twitter, Dotcom responded to the lawsuit by saying: “Just like the DOJ criminal case against MegaUpload, the MPAA case is a load of nonsense and won’t succeed after scrutiny of the facts. Files above 100MB filesize did not earn rewards on MegaUpload. Hollywood claims that we were paying users to upload pirated movies. Stupid”.

He also speculated: “DOJ probably demanded that MPAA sues MegaUpload because they initiated this shitty Hollywood science fiction script of a case. Embarrassing”.

As reported earlier this week, many of the servers from which MegaUpload operated are now being stored in a Virginia warehouse, as all the parties involved in this dispute have failed to come to an agreement on how legitimate files stored by users of the service might be returned to them.