Not only were the authorities able to shut down MegaUpload and arrest its founders without either SOPA or PIPA, but the facts of the case raise even more red flags about what the government would be able to do to similar services under those proposed laws.
You can’t make this stuff up: The indictment of the popular file hosting site MegaUpload reveals a hugely profitable business run by people whose Mercedes novelty license plates included “GUILTY” and “MAFIA.” Also included are numerous juicy internal emails between MegaUpload employees and executives.
In a presentation about SOPA and PIPA, author and media theorist Clay Shirky starts with an anecdote about a mom-and-pop bakery in his old neighborhood that made custom birthday cakes for children. What does that have to do with piracy? More than you might think.
While the battles over online movie and music piracy have grabbed headlines recently, the rapid evolution of the e-book business could soon provoke new fights over copyright in the digital age. Lending libraries, at least in the U.S., have long operated under the protection of the so-called first-sale doctrine in copyright law, which allows libraries, like anyone else, to loan out copies of books they have purchased without needing authorization from the copy right owner. As with all copyrighted material on digital platforms, however, e-books occupy murky ground with respect to the first-sale doctrine. Now, with different publishers trying to impose different rules on libraries for e-books, or refusing to sell e-books to libraries altogether, tensions are starting to come to a head. Meanwhile, new types of e-books, such as the active-content apps being introduced by Amazon.com for the Kindle, are likely to raise their own questions about ownership that the current law is ill-equipped to answer.