MegaUpload Taken Down – Prison Planet – A Sign of Things to Come
In January of 2012, Kim Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato were arrested in New Zealand as part of a copyright infringement case being pursued by the United States.
The US is attempting to use a United Nations treaty that was designed to fight against Internet piracy to go after the partners, who operate MegaUpload.
The case is likely to end up in New Zealand’s Supreme Court and it will likely result in a very long legal battle.
Pressure from the entertainment industry in the United States has largely fueled the enthusiasm of lawmakers to attempt to pass stricter and stricter laws regarding Internet piracy. The extradition element means that even foreign nationals working for companies that are not based in the United States could find themselves being extradited to face trial over copyright infringement charges.
A Sign of Things to Come
Is this a sign of things to come? The recent attempts by the US legislature to pass the SOPA and PIPA laws were thwarted by massive Internet protests, including Wikipedia, the Cheezeburger Network and other Internet powerhouses shutting down their sites for a day in protest.
This pressure got the US Congress to relent, but Spain has already passed a law with similar provisions to those found in SOPA and PIPA. US pressure is said to have played a role in Spain passing that law.
The entertainment industry has come to believe that Internet piracy is the greatest threat to its profits. That industry has the ears of lawmakers and, increasingly, governments are being given extraordinary powers to shut down sites, prosecute suspected pirates and, now, even to reach beyond their own borders and to send elite police teams to raid the homes of Internet entrepreneurs in nations across the world.
Governments around the world have been putting more and more pressure on the Internet and its users to limit the sharing of information that threatens their political goals or financial allies. Internet sites that provide genuine services, under some of the proposed laws, could be taken offline permanently for being accused of copyright infringement, with the burden being upon the site owners to prove their innocence rather than upon the accuser to demonstrate the guilt of the site owners.
Judges—who may not even understand the workings of the Internet—have enormous power over whether or not Internet sites stay online in Spain due to their law. These laws could set dangerous precedents for Internet freedom.
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