Yesterday, the website of MegaUpload was shuttered for good by the US Department of Justice over copyright infringement aka 'piracy' and various criminal charges (see the domain seizure graphic). This was done regardless of the many non-infringing files that people were also using it for, so for anyone that had their only copy of a file on the site, this is very bad news. It's also arguably even worse news for the site's operators, as they have been arrested and face extradition from New Zealand to the USA for criminal trial, all their assets seized, including all the domain names and computing infrastructure to run them, plus many personal belongings of very high value, such as fancy cars like Maseratis and Rolls-Royces and huge 100 inch TVs to name just a few.
However, this story, isn't really about this and we have linked to reports below which cover this in great detail (hot beverage recommended). MegaUpload was one of the biggest file sharing sites out there and in fact, one of the biggest sites
out there, period. This means, that an awful lot of people all around the world have very much noticed its sudden demise (especially those with their only copy of a file, because they didn't bother to back it up, tsk) and are met with that highly unwelcome Department of Justice graphic, instead. Hence, the chances of an almighty backlash against this shutdown not
happening are slim to none. In fact, Anonymous have already hit the websites of the DOJ, RIAA, MPAA & HADOPI (French three strikes) and others in retaliation, with likely much more to come, which is good or bad, depending on one's point of view and how effective one believes it will be.
What's of much greater interest here however, is the call for a truly massive boycott of all media products, but crucially without
pirating them. Started yesterday by an anonymous user with a graphic at imgur.com and comments on reddit
, it calls for a 'Black March'
protest for the whole of March over efforts to censor the internet with bad laws such as SOPA & PIPA and the heavy-handed closure of sites like MegaUpload, which will be made child's play with these laws in place. Ordinary citizens are encouraged not to buy any media products whatsoever
during this month: "Do not buy a single record. Do not download a single song, legally or illegally. Do not go to see a single film in cinemas, or download a copy. Do not buy a DVD in the stores. Do not buy a videogame. Do not buy a single book or magazine."
The idea is to "leave a gaping hole in media entertainment companies' profits for the 1st quarter, an economic hit which will in turn be observed by governments worldwide as stocks and shares will blip from a large enough loss of incomes."
And finally, the statement of intent: "We will not tolerate the Media Industries' lobbying for legislation which will censor the internet."
That's right, the bottom line – profit, lots of fat profit - is the only thing that these companies understand, so this kind of totally legal voting with one's wallet, but crucially without pirating, is the one thing that this reporter has been saying for some time to do and it's heartening to see that it's going to be used as a protest strategy. Extending this protest far beyond March would be way better and more effective, too. Watch out for the statements of denial by Big Media in the press as the protest starts, while it's in progress and afterwards when the financial accounts have been presented, complete with big holes showing in their profit margins.
The Black March banner can be downloaded at http://imgur.com/pPDak
MegaUpload shutdown story, at TorrentFreak
The full text of the DOJ indictment, at the Los Angeles Times
. (Long attention span required)
Much more readable summary of the DOJ indictment, at TorrentFreak
Details of the fancy goods seized can be seen at c|net
Websites attacked by Anonymous reported by c|net here
The MegaUpload DOJ takedown banner can be viewed in all its original 'glory', at the defunct website: www.megaupload.com
And finally, try viewing this happy-sounding music video/advert for MegaUpload without at least a hint of sadness or a tear in your eye (users who lost their only copy of a file will no doubt be crying their eyes out by the end of this).