Megaupload down?

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PyTom
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Megaupload down?

#1 Post by PyTom » Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:23 pm

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... 07d67b674d

claims that the US government has taken down megaupload.com. We have a bunch of links from here to there - AFAIK, all to legal content.
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Re: Megaupload down?

#2 Post by Taleweaver » Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:27 pm

This only goes to show one thing: you don't need SOPA to crack down on copyright piracy.
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Re: Megaupload down?

#3 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:48 pm

I don't see how this is going to hold up in court. Megaupload does have a lot of legal uses and files, and you see it taking files down all the time that it deems to be in breach of copyright laws or a violation of its policies. According to the article it is the MPAA that claims the majority of Megaupload's content is pirated material and they are as far removed from impartial as you can get.

This is no different than Viacom trying to go after Youtube for users posting illegal content on that site. Both Youtube and Megaupload remove illegal material when it comes to their attention, and any user is free to post material to their sites. This lawsuit was brought from Virginia on the narrowest of excuses (leased servers there contained illegal material). With the Viacom and Youtube case there is already legal precedent for this sort of lawsuit, and I see no way this won't be thrown out of court. Likely this is a play by the MPAA exercising its contacts in government and law enforcement to try and drive a company out of business with legal fees since they themselves know they can afford them and the company in question can't.

Megaupload does host illegal material because users put it there. Megaupload also removes such material when it finds it. The shady business practices going on are entirely on the MPAA's side.

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Re: Megaupload down?

#4 Post by jack_norton » Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:09 pm

Yes but all of this can be solved by simply asking for an ID for uploaders, which is NOT public, but megaupload knows it, so they can simply ban the user from accessing the site in future if they catch him/her uploading illegal stuff. Otherwise, is a bit pointless saying they remove illegal content, since for one taken down, there are 1000 illegal ones uploaded (and this won't change). Their (megaupload) fault I think and can be easily solved.
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Re: Megaupload down?

#5 Post by redeyesblackpanda » Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:03 pm

I'm raging so much right now................. GAH!!!!!
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Re: Megaupload down?

#6 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:20 pm

jack_norton wrote:Yes but all of this can be solved by simply asking for an ID for uploaders, which is NOT public, but megaupload knows it, so they can simply ban the user from accessing the site in future if they catch him/her uploading illegal stuff. Otherwise, is a bit pointless saying they remove illegal content, since for one taken down, there are 1000 illegal ones uploaded (and this won't change). Their (megaupload) fault I think and can be easily solved.
It wouldn't solve anything. Just like with Youtube, Megaupload may ban a user based on ID or IP address, but the real pirates will just make a new account using a proxy server that cycles IP addresses.

That is what makes SOPA so bad - there is no technological way to stop pirates that pirates can't get around using technology. Punishing a business or site because they can't immediately catch all copyright infringing uploaders is silly and doesn't reflect the reality of the internet. In Megaupload's case, a lot of the illegal material isn't named in any way that would raise flags. What are they supposed to do? Put human eyes on every piece of the thousands of uploads they probably get every half hour? Or what about those pirates that archive the files and encrypt them with a password they are only giving to the downloaders they send to Megaupload? Megaupload itself has no real way of knowing what is in those files - and you can't just ban encrypted files, because there are legal reasons for doing so. All Megaupload can feasibly do is remove illegal content when it comes to their attention, and they've been doing that.

Saying Megaupload can easily solve the problem of pirates using their service simply isn't true. Saying Megaupload is guiltly of hosting illegal material is true, but saying they should be held responsible for it isn't fair. You may as well say that the post office is guilty of a crime when customers mail illegal substances or material using the postal service.

This isn't like the Pirate Bay that thumbs its nose at people when they ask it to take down illegal files. If an open content host and provider moves quickly to take down illegal files when they are asked or when such files are brought to their attention, I believe that is all we can ask. Otherwise Google, Youtube, any email provider, Bing, Reddit, etc. are all criminal businesses responsible for linking to and hosting the content users can put on their servers. But if you don't let content users put files on your servers, you have no business. It is a Catch-22 not solved by requiring IDs.

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Re: Megaupload down?

#7 Post by Gear » Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:36 pm

Ugh, this is infuriating. I can't help but wonder if these people have every been on the Internet at all? Can they really not see that their efforts are futile in this manner? And they have the GALL to call us irresponsible when sites like Wikipedia black out for a day to show a VERY REAL consequence of these two wanna-be laws?!
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Re: Megaupload down?

#8 Post by Spiky Caterpillar » Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:53 pm

jack_norton wrote:Yes but all of this can be solved by simply asking for an ID for uploaders, which is NOT public, but megaupload knows it, so they can simply ban the user from accessing the site in future if they catch him/her uploading illegal stuff. Otherwise, is a bit pointless saying they remove illegal content, since for one taken down, there are 1000 illegal ones uploaded (and this won't change). Their (megaupload) fault I think and can be easily solved.
I think all uploads are already associated with an account, so they could just kill the account. (I might be wrong, of course.)

The problem's not so much the accounts as the files - it's not practical to stop a warezd00d from creating three dozen accounts, but it's technically trivial to take a SHA1 or MD5 hash of a file and block that file from being reuploaded regardless of the account used.
LateWhiteRabbit wrote:I don't see how this is going to hold up in court. Megaupload does have a lot of legal uses and files, and you see it taking files down all the time that it deems to be in breach of copyright laws or a violation of its policies. According to the article it is the MPAA that claims the majority of Megaupload's content is pirated material and they are as far removed from impartial as you can get.
I'm reasonably sure that warezed copies of my own files alone have often outnumbered legit copies of all other Lemmasoft posters' files on Megaupload. I don't trust the MPAA any further than I can throw them, but I think they're telling the truth this time around.

Their effectiveness at policy enforcement is actually likely to hurt them in the dispute - it'll be rather difficult to convince a court that checking for porn (which has to be done manually, and which they're fairly effective at) is easier than checking a checksum list would be.
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Re: Megaupload down?

#9 Post by Gear » Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:58 pm

But why shut down the website to get a few illegal files? It's not possible to perfectly handle that, but then we get back to shutting down the whole Internet because of the impossibility of keeping that in check. It's like trying to stop a mountain lion by setting a basket of kittens on fire. It doesn't make sense.
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Re: Megaupload down?

#10 Post by redeyesblackpanda » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:02 pm

Gear wrote:But why shut down the website to get a few illegal files? It's not possible to perfectly handle that, but then we get back to shutting down the whole Internet because of the impossibility of keeping that in check. It's like trying to stop a mountain lion by setting a basket of kittens on fire. It doesn't make sense.
I would say it's more like murdering a town to catch a thief. Or burning down a house to kill termites. Or razing a farm to kill weeds. Or...

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Re: Megaupload down?

#11 Post by papillon » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:09 pm

I think all uploads are already associated with an account, so they could just kill the account. (I might be wrong, of course.)
No, megaupload's not account-based, you can upload whatever you want anonymously right from the front page iirc.
The problem's not so much the accounts as the files - it's not practical to stop a warezd00d from creating three dozen accounts, but it's technically trivial to take a SHA1 or MD5 hash of a file and block that file from being reuploaded regardless of the account used.
Which is why they put them in password encrypted rars to change the hash. Pirates aren't quite that stupid. :)

Some of the bits of the specific indictment are interesting because they suggest megaupload IS capable of identifying warezed content and hiding it from view of the toplists and the like in order to promote their image as a legit filesharing site. I have no idea if that's actually true or just a crazy theory made up by the governments, nor how it's being accomplished if it is true.


Now, if megaupload actually wanted to stop pirates using their service (whether or not they were legally obliged to is a question I can't answer) there are several things they could do to work towards that goal.

They could require accounts for all uploads. That certainly wouldn't stop piracy, but depending on how non-trivial it was to create one, it could slow it, or make it easier to detect and delete large collections of warezed goods in one go.
They could limit the number of times an anonymously-uploaded file could be accessed. That would make it easy to use the service to transfer a file to your friend or friends while making it more difficult to offer warez to the entire internet.
They could apply some more sophisticated algorithms to detect "suspicious" content by name, source of inbound link, usage patterns, etc, and flag those for human review.
Last edited by papillon on Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Megaupload down?

#12 Post by mugenjohncel » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:15 pm

Layman here, technically speaking... couldn't they just move the servers somewhere "outside" the US?...

Surely, this shouldn't be difficult... right? :)

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Re: Megaupload down?

#13 Post by papillon » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:18 pm

This wasn't a US-only operation, there are people being arrested in multiple countries.

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Re: Megaupload down?

#14 Post by Funnyguts » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:18 pm

^^It doesn't seem to bother the US. Two of the people who were arrested by the FBI were in New Zealand. (They claimed that Megaupload's user rewards program counted as money laundering, which gave them the excuse to go after them.)

Edit: [url:http://arstechnica.com/business/news/20 ... ropbox.ars]Megaupload was used for a lot of corporate filesharing.[/url]
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Re: Megaupload down?

#15 Post by jack_norton » Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:27 pm

LateWhiteRabbit wrote: It wouldn't solve anything. Just like with Youtube, Megaupload may ban a user based on ID or IP address, but the real pirates will just make a new account using a proxy server that cycles IP addresses.
Well then a simple solution - not allow proxy adresses :)
Really SOPA was bad and everything, but those sites alongside with rapidshare, mediafire, filesonic, and many others exist with ONE SINGLE PURPOSE, to share illegal stuff (megaupload/megavideo in particular was famous for sharing movies). And they were making MONEY over that (by selling premium account and so on). If they shut them down, honestly I don't care.
Gear wrote:But why shut down the website to get a few illegal files?
If by "FEW" you mean thousands and thousands, then yes :)
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