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Megaupload duo will go to prison at last, but Kim Dotcom fights on… – Naked Security

Two of the four original defendants in the Megaupload case have finally been sentenced, eleven years after the infamous file-sharing site was taken down by the FBI. Megaupload was accused of generating revenue by encouraging and rewarding large-scale uploading and downloading of stolen content, resulting in charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering and money laundering, as well as copyright offences. Founder Kim Dotcom and his crew were identified as the main players in the so-called Mega Conspiracy, with Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk now having been sentenced after challenging extradition for many years. The judge’s report noted that while cloud storage and file-sharing services are not inherently illegal, the vast majority of Megaupload’s traffic consisted of copyright-protected content made available in breach of the rights of copyright owners.

The court found that the defendants knew their actions would result in legal challenges and actively encouraged illegal uploaders in order to grow their subscription business. They also disguised the publicly visible amount of infringing content and planned how to pretend to react to takedown requests without doing so. The court accepted that adjudicating the actual harm done to copyright holders in a case like this is a contentious topic, with a 2017 judgment in the English Court of Appeal questioning the often multi-billion-dollar losses claimed by large corporate copyright holders. However, the court did acknowledge that smaller producers, who may not have suffered multi-million dollar losses, were directly and personally harmed by piracy of their work.

The Megaupload case has been a long and complicated one, with various legal battles fought over the years. While some may argue that file-sharing services like Megaupload and Google are just two sides of the same coin, the FBI and US courts disagree. The sentencing of two of the main players in the Mega Conspiracy serves as a reminder that engaging in illegal activities, even if they appear to be a profitable business model, can have severe consequences in the long run. The case also highlights the importance of protecting the rights of copyright owners, regardless of the size of their business.

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