Yesterday was a pretty interesting day. On the one hand, The Internet, spearheaded by Google and Reddit, invoked a protest that included a site blackout (of which we were a part), enough to scare Congress and the White House into rethinking its actions on SOPA/PIPA. On the other hand, the Supreme Court handed down a decision less steeped in an understanding of copyright law and more steeped in the judicial branch’s recent tendency to nod their heads in agreement to whatever the federal government says when they don’t have a fucking clue what the case is about.
Today, another setback occurred in the War on Copyright. Department of Justice prosecutors, likely under orders from the RIAA, ordered the shutdown of cyber locker Megaupload, as well as the arrest of seven executives, including founder Kim Dotcom (a.k.a. Kim Schmitz) in New Zealand. The indictment cited over $500 million in supposedly lost revenue due to copyright infringement.
Megaupload’s tale has been a weird one. Last month, in a show of solidarity, several artists (including will.i.am and Kanye West) created “The Mega Song,” showing their love for the cyber locker. Said song provoked the ire of Universal Music, who had the YouTube video of the song taken down temporarily on the grounds of non-existent copyright infringement, adding fuel to the anti-SOPA/PIPA fire. Just yesterday, it was discovered that the song’s producer Kasseem Dean (a.k.a. Swizz Beatz) had become CEO of the site. The federal government did not name Dean in the indictment, but it is possible that such an indictment could come later.