Wozniak, Megaupload and Kim Dotcom

Here at Ethical Fan we have nothing but respect and admiration for Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.  But we feel that his statements and photograph with Kim Dotcom really illustrate the blind spot that many skilled and ethical technologists have regarding the rights of creative people and the preventable harm that some internet technology is doing to them.

Steve’s full quote is here:

“How unfair that the United States will allow him living expenses out of his frozen assets but not give him any legal fees,” Wozniak said. “The side with access to the funds spends millions on lawyers hoping the other side goes bankrupt and gives in. Shame on the system that permits this one-sided advantage. Kim is well enough liked and respected that his legal team is working without up-front payment.”

“I scratch my head wondering why the studios went after the guy doing more than can be imagined to remove the links the studios wanted removed,” Wozniak noted in his email. “Heck, I use my iDisk (MobileMe) and dropbox to share files by sending links to friends. They might even be copyrighted materials. I might even send a song in an e-mail to my son, although if I think he’ll keep it I will use the ‘Buy gift’ feature in iTunes. But there are so many legitimate uses to peer-to-peer file sharing and cloud storage.”

In this post, we provide screen shots from August 17, 2011 when Megaupload was the 92nd most popular site on the web.

It is our opinion that these screen shots show that Megaupload was a criminal enterprise selling stolen content.  Who wouldn’t want justice if their property was being stolen and someone was making millions of dollars from their stolen property?  

These screen shots clearly show that Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload was selling streaming movies that it did not have the rights to sell.  That is criminal copyright infringement.  The great majority of Americans know that if you are selling bootleg DVD’s you could get arrested. That is why Kim Dotcom was extradited, he was selling “bootleg” streaming movies on a massive and unprecedented scale.

Steve says that Megaupload was responding to take down requests.  We are not sure that Steve understands that Megaupload was paying uploaders per stream from files they uploaded to Megaupload.  That is why there were so many links that Google autopopulated Megavideo after you entered Star Wars in the search field.

Then Google estimated that there were 4.3 million web pages that had the words “star wars megavideo” on them.  Legitimate file locker sites like Dropbox, don’t allow any public links to copyrighted content.  In fact Dropbox just banned Boxopus, a torrent tool from using its API.

Megavideo let you play the first 45 minutes of Star Wars and thousands of other movies for free (after they had served you and profited from dozens ads) . . .

 

But then, to watch past 45 minutes, you had to enter your credit card and pay $9.99 a month to keep watching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let us not forget Carpathia Hosting, the CDN that the FBI raided becuase they were getting paid for caching these illegal movies for Megaupload.  Here is data from a packet analysis we ran in July 2011.  86% of the first 45 minutes of the Star Wars stream captured above came from IP address 173.245.127.21, who ARIN says is assigned to Carpathia Hosting.

IP 173.245.127.21     Packets 39,908 Bytes 60,314,666 IP Assigned To: Carpathia Hosting, Inc. % of Total Packets 86.2%

Google was making money selling ads on landing pages to Megaupload links, Megaupload was making millions selling subscriptions to content they didn’t own without paying the owners, uploaders were getting paid for uploading content they didn’t own and Carpathia was getting paid to cache the content.  Who wasn’t being paid?  The people who actually made and own the movies.  That is why we have laws and law enforcement.