MANILA, Philippines - At the height of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) discussion, one of Internet's largest file-sharing site MegaUpload.com was shutdown by the United States federal government.
Megaupload.com allows individuals, including artists, to download, store and share over the Internet large content files, including text.
Seven people were charged for running a $500 million worldwide piracy ring that trafficked in copyrighted movies, books and music. The seven were charged with five counts of racketeering, copyright infringement and conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. If convicted, the seven could be jailed for up to 20 years.
According to prosecutors, MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom (Schmitz) made [pounds sterling]27 million from MegaUpload in 2010. During the raid, authorities were able to seized 25 cars - mainly top-of-the range Mercedes, including Maseratis, a vintage pink Cadillac and a [pounds sterling]300,000 Rolls-Royce Phantom.
With the MegaUpload.com shutdown, the discussion over anti-piracy heats up. There's no question, piracy is not to be tolerated. Copyrights and intellectual properties should be protected and lawful owners should be properly compensated. But where do we put the line between piracy and freedom on the internet - means of distributing content online?
For some upcoming artists, software developers and for some independent film makers, uploading their materials on the web is a great way for them to be known, an affordable way to promote their work and to some, a way to earn some revenue.
But for established artists and big movie companies, having their content uploaded without proper authorization and license is considered piracy.
For MegaUpload users in particular, no doubt there are pirated contents on its servers, but there are legitimate contents as well. …