by Garret Ean
Jan 20 2012
Authorities in New Zealand yesterday raided the offices of MegaUpload, a file hosting service with servers based in Hong Kong. The remarkably successful business allowed anyone to upload digital media, and based on the amount of traffic that the item received, would either remain online or be replaced with new content. 20 search warrants in eight countries allowed agents working in collaboration with the United States federal government to seize $50 million in assets. The FBI asserts that its has e-mail correspondence from within the company that confirms knowledge of copyright infringement.
Another assertion of US officials is that MegaUpload has caused “more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright holders”. Their brand of logic assumes that any time a person downloads media for free, that they would have paid full price for the same content from the original distributor. Over the course of their run in the market, MegaUpload has generated $175 million in advertising revenue.
In response to the raid, Anonymous hackers launched the largest cyber attack in the history of the internet on the US Department of Justice, the RIAA, and the MPAA. This Techdirt article ponders both the ethics and effectiveness of DDoS attacks. Some speculate that the raid was intentionally timed to follow the January 18 blackout protests of SOPA and PIPA, in order to associate resistance to congressional restriction of the internet with computer hacking.