Hollywood Piles On: MPAA Sues Megupload, Even Though They Already Got The Feds To Kill It
from the because-money dept
In news that will come as little surprise to just about anyone, the MPAA has announced that it is piling on and suing Megaupload and Kim Dotcom for copyright infringement, in an action separate from the criminal charges he currently faces. Two years ago, the MPAA had indicated it was likely to do this when it asked for some data to be retained for such a purpose. Also, a few months ago, the DOJ (secretly) got an order from the court (without letting Megaupload know) that allowed it to share information with the MPAA so that the MPAA could file its own civil suit against Megaupload.
So you had to know that a lawsuit was coming — and it had to come soonish, given the three year statute of limitations on infringement claims. The MPAA’s press statement simply parrots the DOJ’s highly questionable assertions:
“When Megaupload.com was shut down in 2012 by U.S. law enforcement, it was by all estimates the largest and most active infringing website targeting creative content in the world,” said MPAA global general counsel Steven Fabrizio. “Infringing content on Megaupload.com and its affiliates was available in at least 20 languages, targeting a broad global audience. According to the government’s indictment, the site reported more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and cost U.S. copyright owners more than half a billion dollars.”
The MPAA is using its favorite law firm for these kinds of cases, Jenner & Block. Of course, there’s a (pretty strong) argument that if the MPAA was so upset by Megaupload, it should have filed this lawsuit years ago, rather than convincing the DOJ to twist and turn things to pretend that it was a criminal issue. Megaupload has a pretty strong defense to a civil suit in pointing out how the DMCA works and the fact that the company complied with DMCA takedowns. But, now, with Megauploads’ assets frozen, Kim Dotcom separately having to fight extradition charges and the criminal charges, it just makes it that much more difficult to also fight the civil case — which is exactly how the MPAA likes it.
Really, this is perfect for the MPAA. There’s no reason at all for this lawsuit. Megaupload is about as dead as can be — and, in fact, much of the data has been deleted already thanks to the DOJ’s actions. But at this late stage of the game, the MPAA can pile on, likely get some sort of court victory and will then crow about how it fights copyright infringement hard. And those lawyers at Jenner & Block will certainly be paid nicely.
Of course, what none of this will do is help the MPAA or the studios actually deliver more good content in a format people want. That’s too much work.