Archive for the ‘Rights’ Category

Gestapo Bootfuck Megaupload, Anonymous Quick on the Draw

A little over a month since the release of the Megaupload Song New Zealand police have arrested co-founders Kim Dotcom and Mathias Ortmann along with two of their underlings today. Some irony at play in that yesterday was Wikipedia/Reddit/etc’s annoying-but-effective SOPA protest/blackout.

Federal prosecutors have accused it of costing copyright holders more than $500m (£320m) in lost revenue. The firm says it was diligent in responding to complaints about pirated material.

The news came a day after anti-piracy law protests, but investigators said they were ordered two weeks ago.

The US Justice Department said that Megaupload’s two co-founders Kim Dotcom, formerly known as Kim Schmitz, and Mathias Ortmann were arrested in Auckland, New Zealand along with two other employees of the business at the request of US officials. It added that three other defendants were still at large.

“This action is among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States and directly targets the misuse of a public content storage and distribution site to commit and facilitate intellectual property crime,” said a statement posted on its website.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16642369

The good news is that the charges sound flimsy at a glance, specifically:

It claimed that the accused had pursued a business model designed to promote the uploading of copyrighted works.

“The conspirators allegedly paid users whom they specifically knew uploaded infringing content and publicised their links to users throughout the world,” a statement said.

“By actively supporting the use of third-party linking sites to publicise infringing content, the conspirators did not need to publicise such content on the Megaupload site.

“Instead, the indictment alleges that the conspirators manipulated the perception of content available on their servers by not providing a public search function on the Megaupload site and by not including popular infringing content on the publicly available lists of top content downloaded by its users.”

Although this is probably true and very common-sense sounding, Megaupload has all the plausible deniability in the world: the argument being made here is that not providing a search engine on your website constitutes criminal intent.

Anonymous was quick to take action:

Hacktivists with the collective Anonymous are waging an attack on the website for the White House after successfully breaking the sites for the Department of Justice, Universal Music Group, RIAA and Motion Picture Association of America.

In response to today’s federal raid on the file sharing service Megaupload, hackers with the online collective Anonymous have broken the websites for the Department of Justice, Universal Music Group, RIAA and Motion Picture Association of America.

“It was in retaliation for Megaupload, as was the concurrent attack on Justice.org,” Anonymous operative Barrett Brown tells RT on Thursday afternoon.

[...]

Brown adds that “more is coming” and Anonymous-aligned hacktivists are pursuing a joint effort with others to “damage campaign raising abilities of remaining Democrats who support SOPA.”

Read more: http://rt.com/usa/news/anonymous-doj-universal-sopa-235/

This promises to be one helluva show!

GoDaddy’s Latest Scumbag Move Backfires, Damage Control Failing

GoDaddy is no stranger to the ire of Internet liberty advocates but the last few days have seen what could be the registrar giant’s biggest PR blunder yet. Although GoDaddy has been involved with new American anti-piracy legislation Stop Online Piracy Act (or SOPA) since nearly its inception the media started buzzing when the U.S. House Judiciary Committee published a list of corporations supporting their legislation on the 23rd. This led to a number of Internet personalities calling for a boycott of the registrar’s services and numerous individuals began posting step-by-step tutorials detailing how to transfer domain names from GoDaddy to their competitors.

As of yesterday the number that is being thrown around the most is 37,000 transfers out; however this figure is based on the number of domains transferred away from GoDaddy using their DNS service (domaincontrol.com) and not the actual number of domains transferred out of the registrar. As this article outlines, the number of transfers in are also not taken into account. As commenter Jamie Zoch of DotWeekly points out:

One interesting stat that I found (based on data from Webhosting.info) is the total loss over the past 30 days…. in the tune of 1 Million domains. This data is from 11/14/2011 to 12/19/2011. 37,841,094 down to 36,884,911.

So the transfer out because of the SOPA deal really doesn’t mean a ton as much as the total loss over the past 30 days IMO. If my memory servers me correctly, I have not seen a loss like this for GoDaddy.

Despite this, webhosting.info reports their market share has been increasing over the same period:

Weeks Total Domains Global Market Share
12/19/11 36,884,911 32.430%
12/12/11 37,097,675 32.430%
12/05/11 37,297,640 32.428%
11/28/11 37,504,999 32.433%
11/21/11 37,667,786 32.427%
11/14/11 37,841,094 32.408%

I am prone to believe that this is due to deficiencies in their reporting mechanism rather than a decline in the actual total number of domain names. Nonetheless I don’t think anyone has accurate statistics but GoDaddy themselves and they have deemed the loss great enough to reverse their position on SOPA. Despite this, they have reminded consumers of their true colours and by all accounts the campaign to switch moves on. There are now reports of GoDaddy staff personally calling customers whom have transferred multiple domains to ask them to change their minds.

I would find all this personally very amusing if I wasn’t locked into agreements with their reseller service, Wild West Domains. Since the resale business is a relatively small club there isn’t a lot of information on GoDaddy’s ethics in dealing with reseller domains but it is conventional wisdom that if they are willing to seize one of their own they are willing to seize one of yours. If SOPA ever becomes a reality it will be easy to diversify your domain portfolio into registrars not under American jurisdiction but resellers may find themselves without recourse.

Exactly how far this will go and what effect – if any – it may have on SOPA remains to be seen. GoDaddy isn’t the kind of giant a boycott can topple; conversely they don’t have significant lobbying clout no matter what position they are forced to take. If I were an anti-SOPA activist I would be trying to look for a more meaningful way to attack the legislation – though I don’t mind seeing GoDaddy take one in the kisser. It’s a long long list of supporters and so far there’s only one down.

On a lighter note, all the hullabaloo has sparked a new meme: Scumbag GoDaddy

Megaupload Song ft. P Diddy, Will.i.am, Alicia Keys, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, Lil John, Kim Kardashian, Jamie Foxx, Chris Brown

RIAA Label Artists & A-List Stars Endorse Megaupload In New Song

MegaUpload is currently being portrayed by the MPAA and RIAA as one of the world’s leading rogue sites. But top music stars including P Diddy, Will.i.am, Alicia Keys, Snoop Dogg and Kanye West disagree and are giving the site their full support in a brand new song. TorrentFreak caught up with the elusive founder of MegaUpload, Kim Dotcom, who shrugged off “this rogue nonsense” and told us he wants content owners to get paid.

Universal is already attempting to censor this video.
UPDATE Megaupload files a suit against Universal on Monday Dec. 12

Please download your copy courtesy of foxpa.ws at http://foxpa.ws/dist/megaupload.mp4

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