The world has been in stormy days. Events are still unfolding with this weeks universal storm of protest against the upcoming SOPA/PIPA legislation and MegaUpload.com’s takedown yesterday evening. HardwaReviews felt it was time to add its voice to the brawl and decided to do a one-off in the English language.
With MegaUpload going offline, one of the greatest file upload services did leave the stage on a high profile when it appeared the men and companies behind the website were laundring money and gaining large profits. Mr. Tim Kuik (from the Dutch Stichting Brein) responded accordingly on the Facebook wall of ‘Digital Agenda for Europe’.
Interesting that people offer opinion based on what the owner of Megaupoad has said his business is and have not read the charges. He said he is legal because he has a Notice & Take Down. The charges are that Megaupload was cooperating with illegal uploaders and distributors and deliberately cheating on its own NTD policy. Such behavior should indeed be laid bare by to criminal investigation and prosecution. It is beyond civil litigation to do so although injured right holders undoubtedly will claim damages. However, the ultimate aim of taking down illegal digital platforms is to stimulate innovative legal platforms that reward content creation.
HardwaReviews agrees with Mr. Kuik action should be taken if a service provider does indeed cheat its own policy. That’s a matter of principles. HardwaReviews places own gain in that context higher than Mr. Kuiks argument, but both are valid in this case. What has been mostly disturbing, is the way the FBI acted. It has permanently shut down MegaUpload, with immediate effect. That is not the way to go. There are several examples of selfcorrecting behaviour buying out crime without a major intervention of the law of its executors. One of these is Valve Software. Gabe Newell (co-founder and managing director) has made interesting notes on this one in an interview last year. Valve, one of the greatest players in digital software distribution, entered the Russian market, one of the greatest copyright violating countries where illegal software flourished. With Steam, a legal service for games, it managed to decrease that level of infringement by a very large scale. With what? Service and competitive pricetags.
This happened without doing anything about the copyright infringers themselves and that is a very important fact both Mr. Kuik and Stichting Brein are overlooking. Another fact is the killer ethos the FBI used here. There should be a more peaceful solution where (in this case Megaupload) the legal users can retrieve their documents which they stored on this service. Innocent people are being hit, simply because one decides to push the button. Uncalled for. That is a major flaw in the thoughts of organisations, they MUST take it into account.
This is one of the reasons HardwaReviews is against SOPA/PIPA as well. Copyright infringement should be taken care of, no doubt about that. But not in a permanent and damage inflicting way like this, while hitting normal end-users in the face and/or pinning them onto bad alternatives. We all share the same end goal but we aren’t if we look at the evolving strategies. The solution is to manage a good alternative, not use scare tactics like the FBI did yesterday. Then grey markets will deteriorate quite quickly over time as Valve proved already.
You can add your points of discussion or protest, or follow the current events at: