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.

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Companies: megaupload, mpaa

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Comments on “Hollywood Piles On: MPAA Sues Megupload, Even Though They Already Got The Feds To Kill It”

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45 Comments
John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Yet another reason...

If your intention is to deprive MPAA studios of revenue, Silverscarcat’s position is the better one. With product placement and other ads that are integrated into the movies, you can bet your bottom dollar that they count pirates as viewers when they are setting the amount they charge for that kind of advertising, so you’re still providing a revenue stream to them.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Yet another reason...

“Just pirate the stuff. It’s not like you would be supporting the people who deserve it”

Erm, no. Pirating stuff instead of paying for it doesn’t support the people who deserve it. Seeking out independent content from non-MPAA members and paying for it does, as does using other forms of entertainment not affiliated by them.

Not that it probably matters, since they’ll blame piracy whatever the reason for their revenue loss, but at least by supporting independent cinema you make sure some people get the money they deserve.

David says:

Re: Re: Yet another reason...

Hold on, buddy. That’s going too far, don’t you think?

Just pirate the stuff.

That’s like breaking the stranglehold of distilleries on society by distilling window cleaner.

That’s actually increasing the revenues of distilleries by turning people into drunkards that could not otherwise afford it. So their aspirations are focused on being able to afford higher spirits.

Just say no. Then not just your purse but also your brain will thank you.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I would guess that with the accounts frozen due to the funds being ‘part of the investigation’, all that money would be untouchable no matter what the judgement was in the civil suit.

However, given the whole thing has been a farce from the get-go, it wouldn’t surprise me if, upon the default judgement should it go that route, the judge found that since the civil and criminal cases are ‘linked’, that the assets from one can be used to pay the fines of another.

Alternatively, they could order Dotcom to pay the millions the *AA’s are sure to demand, and should he refuse/be unable to, and the assets ever get unfrozen, order them to be seized to pay for the fines(with a hefty ‘penalty’ tacked on to make the sum even more).

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

your talking about comity and as far as New Zealand courts are concerned at the moment a default judgement by some civil court in the USA would have no bearing on any monies from NZ assets that are not already seized. For monies to be seized to allow the payment of any judgement in a civil case (default or otherwise) in the USA at the moment in most countries is basically null in this present climate. NZ courts specifically have a very low regard at moment (have for decades actually) for any so called civil judgements coming out of the USA be they federal circuit based or state based

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You would have thought that the civil lawsuit would have been filed in the country location of the company which is in Hong Kong or even filed in New Zealand the country where Dotcom (named in the civil lawsuit) is a resident of so that the company and Dotcom are aware of it and can then defend themselves against the civil lawsuit.

Me thinks that the intention of filing the civil lawsuit in the US by the MPAA is so that the MPAA can get an easier victory with the fact the neither the company or Dotcom will be in the US to defend the civil lawsuit and therefore the MPAA will have more chance of an easy win through default.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Actually under Berne, which nearly all countries are a party too, the legally appropriate place to file this is in the jurisdiction where the alleged infringement occurred. In this case New Zealand.

Just because they were USA works is irrelevant. Otherwise the case in Australia in regards to iiNet could of been filed in the USA with an absolutely totally outcome. Instead it HAD to be filed here in Australia for the simple fact being that then they can recover equitable damages if they win the case. Otherwise it’s just for show and political purposes since a ‘win’ elsewhere means basically squat under current reciprocity situations.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Eh, they could weather through that without too much trouble, now, extend that to a month, and you’d get their attention.

Alternatively, and more effectively, just do what several people here do, and never go to the movies, refusing to give money to people so determined to screw everyone over to ‘protect’ their control/profits.

Anonymous Coward says:

perhaps it’s more obvious now why the DoJ broke the law and removed the HDDs from NZ and took them to the USA. once there, they were given to the MPAA who have been scouring them to cherry pick what they want to make a case against Dotcom without him being able to defend himself because he has been stopped from having access to the same HDDs. this whole episode has been a complete fabrication. it was done with the cooperation of certain members of congress and the government, doing favours for ex members of congress. the whole aim is to keep all the money that they reckon has been generated by copyright infringement, ignoring the legal ways that the business was operated, and get Dotcom into prison, not for having done anything illegal but for having the nerve, the balls, the audacity and the funding to fight back, something that the DoJ, the MPAA and the RIAA didn’t expect after seizing all the funds, something else they were not legally able to do but, as is usual with any security force from the USA thinks that laws are made for everyone else, not for them!

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