Yesterday the internet lost Megaupload, a popular file sharing and storage site, when the US Government shut it down due to rampant piracy and copyright infringement—in the wake of the biggest internet protest in history against SOPA and PIPA no less. I don’t know about you, but I for one am absolutely outraged.
For those of you who may not be familiar with Megaupload, allow me to explain how the site works. Megaupload was a file hosting site that allowed users to upload whatever they want for either sharing or storage purposes. Obviously, while this leaves room for abuse and infringement, is completely legal. However, the site was shut down despite Megaupload being compliant with DMCA notices, removing files that were reported as abuse.
If there was any doubt that Megaupload served a legal and legitimate purpose, friend of the site Drewsif Stalin would have you know otherwise.
And with this government take down, they’ve effectively nuked a site because of its abuse on part of the end-user and not of the site itself, taking countless documents and backups with it.
We’re talking about a site whose sole purpose is based upon user-generated content. Megaupload did not purposefully and knowingly host infringing and pirated material; the site’s users did. I want you to think about that for a moment. Megaupload were shut down and arrests were made (of people in New Zealand no less) simply because they gave users the freedom to upload their own content. How is this any different from sites like YouTube, Facebook, or Reddit, where the site’s content comes from its users? There’s no way for most of these sites to police the content at all hours to make sure there are copyrighted materials being uploaded onto its servers by users.
This sort of rash legal action is exactly why there was a massive outrage against SOPA and PIPA. A site being taken down because of its user content sets a very dangerous precedent for a free and open internet. It’s like demolishing New York City because drugs and illegal weapons are being sold within its city limits. It’s just absolutely absurd. If this continues, where will we end up? Will it someday be a crime to allow end-users to upload anything out of some extreme fear that it could be owned by someone else? It sounds ridiculous, but so does shutting down Megaupload, a site that offered a completely legitimate service.
The internet is in danger by a government lobbied by copyright-holding giants, and they’d rather see the internet sink than adapt. I am scared for the future of free speech; between NDAA, SOPA/PIPA, and now this, it won’t be long until our liberties are crippled.