Stephen S. Wu-- SL: Legal Writer,, (408) 573-5737, 50 W. San Fernando St., Ste. 750, San Jose, CA 95113

MegaUpload Case-DOJ Seeks to Stop File Sharing Service

Last month, in January 2012, the government indicted MegaUpload, a file storage service, and its operators, including a man who named himself Kim Dotcom, for alleged copyright infringement and money laundering on a massive scale. In the indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the government contended that people were uploading massive amounts of copyrighted content without authorization and that the company and its operators were making millions from premium memberships and online advertising. The government also alleged that the company paid and encouraged people to upload copyrighted content.
The government’s indictment asserted charges against the defendants for conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and criminal copyright infringement. People could upload any electronic files. Accordingly, the indictment said that the copyrighted content included movies, television programs, music, electronic books, images, software, and, of special interest to readers of our 3D Internet blog, video games.

Media companies are happy to see the indictment, given their recent defeat in the battle in Congress to pass the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) or the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). These bills where aimed at cutting off access to rogue sites offering pirated content. MegaUpload would appear to be an example of such a rogue site.

The flip side of the government’s action is an increasingly common tale of woe from people who used MegaUpload to store their family pictures and home movies. The government shut off access to the site and seized the domain for its main website,, and other domains. Accordingly, people were afraid they were going to lose their treasured family photos and videos forever.

Nonetheless, the lesson for the video game community is starting to sink in. Legitimate companies that do not want to be swept up in a government prosecution are now redoubling their efforts to build and maintain robust initiatives to ensure that their users are not submitting or uploading copyrighted content to their applications or sites. YouTube, for instance, has spent a lot of money ferreting out infringing videos using sophisticated systems.

Other companies would be wise to follow its lead in the context of their individual businesses. Please contact us if you would like to speak with us about helping your anti-infringement polices.