Kim Dotcom and his defunct Megaupload faces new legal pressures, as MPAA and RIAA launch separate civil lawsuits
More than two years after file hosting website Megaupload was taken down by the U.S. government, the music industry and Hollywood's copyright lobbies have both decided to sue the site and its owners for copyright infringement.
Hot off their recent success against Hotfile, a website that offers similar functions to Megaupload, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has filed a lawsuit against Mega owner Kim Dotcom and others in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The MPAA has asked for a jury trial, and $150,000 for each act of infringement, which could add up to tens or even hundreds of millions in damages.
The MPAA's actions comes after the Department of Justice secretly obtained a court order that allowed them to share data obtained from the Megaupload investigation with Hollywood's major lobbying group.
With the confidence gained from the Hotfile settlement, with Megaupload's assets being frozen by the DoJ, and with the defendants in this civil trial engaged in a bitter defense of the DoJ's criminal charges, the MPAA seems to be in a very favorable decision to win a case that many may see as unnecessary, due to the fact that Megaupload stopped operations two years ago. But the MPAA's SEVP and global general counsel Steven Fabrizio reiterated the importance of "taking down" Megaupload.
"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 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."
And only days after the MPAA lawsuit, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) also filed its own multi-million dollar civil suit against Megaupload's founders, making similar claims of wide spread infringement.
Despite these latest legal threats, Kim Dotcom's U.S. attorney Ira Rothken was defiant.
"The RIAA, MPAA, and DOJ are like three blind mice following each other in the pursuit of meritless copyright claims and [an] assault on copyright neutral cloud technology," said Rothken.
"Megaupload strongly believes it’s going to prevail."