Robot 6

Comics A.M. | FBI shuts down Megaupload file-sharing site

Megaupload

Legal | The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI on Thursday shut down the popular file-sharing site Megaupload, seized $50 million in assets and charged its founder and six others with running an international enterprise based on Internet piracy that’s cost copyright holders at least $500 million in lost revenue. The FBI has begun extradition proceedings in New Zealand to bring company founder Kim Schmitz, aka Kim DotCom, to the United States. He and three other associates are being held without bail until Monday, when they’ll receive a new hearing. Three others remain at large. They face a maximum of 20 years in prison.

News of the shutdown was met with retaliation by the hacker collective Anonymous, which attacked the websites of the Justice Department and the Motion Picture Association of America.

Founded in 2005, Megaupload allowed users to anonymously transfer files like movies and music and, certainly on a much smaller scale, comic books. The Hong Kong-based company, which reportedly employed as many as 155 people, is said to have made $175 million from ads and premium subscriptions. According to the indictment, DotCom, whose assets apparently include a fleet of cars, took in $42 million from the operation in 2010.

Before Megaupload was taken down, the company posted a statement on its website claiming that allegations it facilitated massive breaches of copyright are “vastly overblown”: “The fact is that the vast majority of Mega’s Internet traffic is legitimate, and we are here to stay. If the content industry would like to take advantage of our popularity, we are happy to enter into a dialogue. We have some good ideas. Please get in touch.” [USA Today, The New York Times, CNET]

J.M. DeMatteis

Piracy | In response to recent conversations about the Stop Online Piracy Act, comics writer J.M. DeMatteis shares his thoughts on comic book piracy: “The bottom line — my bottom line, anyway — is this: If you’re enthusiastic about a particular creator, buy his or her work and then let others know about it. If you spread the word via file-sharing, it’s not much different than loaning a friend one of your books or CDs. Just as I once became an obsessive fan after taping my friends’ vinyl albums, many of your friends will become fans who’ll spend their hard-earned money on actively supporting that creator’s work.” [Creation Point]

Creators | Lynda Barry will be the spring artist in residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. [University of Wisconsin-Madison News]

Creators | Movie producer and former Marvel Studios President Avi Arad chats briefly about his new manga The Innocent: “I’ve been in the world of comics all my life, and specifically into Japanese comics in the early days, before manga attempted to penetrate this market. I wanted to do The Innocent a long time ago. It stayed with me quite a while. Once I got out of Marvel Comics, it was one of the things on my bucket list to do a manga. I had an idea and I followed it, and here we are.” [Graphic Novel Reporter]

Dancer #1

Creators | Nathan Edmondson discusses Dancer, his upcoming Image Comics miniseries with artist Nic Klein about a retired assassin and his ballerina companion on the run from a sniper in Milan. [USA Today]

Creators | Jennifer Anderson spotlights Oil & Water, the new Fantagraphics graphic novel by Steve Duin and Shannon Wheeler that examines the impact of the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf. [Beaverton Valley Times]

Creators | Collaborators Kurtis J. Wiebe and Tyler Jenkins talking about their upcoming Image/Shadowline series Peter Panzerfaust, which reimagines Peter Pan and the Lost Boys as Nazi resisters during World War II. [USA Today]

Publishing | Dave Ferraro and Patrick Markfort discuss the small publisher Sparkplug in their latest podcast. [Comics-and-More]

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Comments

64 Comments

JMD is pretty much the coolest and most rational dude. I’ve always loved his writing. Also, Kraven’s Last Hunt is tops.

Busting Megaupload is ridiculous for three reasons
– The US shouldn’t be busting chops about the World Wide Web and trying to extridite a New Zealander who has most likely never set foot in the US is stupid. The Internet transcends national boundaries and shouldn’t be caught up by one nation trying to set the agenda for the rest of the world
-This precident of blaming companies for their users is madness but I can see why. The problem is too big to be policed and they are desparate to find some part of the chain to break but this is completely unenforcable. This opens the floodgates for suing, Photobucket, tinypic, tumblr, twitter, facebook and youtube because their users upload copyrighted material. Their membership is too huge to police and all of them, like megaupload try.
– People will just find another host, one with servers not on US land for the same thing. Pandora’s Box is open and its futile to put the evils back in, its time to deal and adapt.

I live over 100 miles from a comic shop. If I can’t find a free preview online, I have no problem downloading a new comic before I buy it. it’s no different than thumbing thru it at the comic shop. I’ve spent lots of money on comics that I otherwise would never have tried this way. Like DeMatteis says, people did this with music for years. It’s how a lot of musicians created a following.

If Big Media, Big Business and Big Government all want to collude to prevent me and others like me from doing this, I will spend far less of my $$ on new comics. That doesn’t hurt DC or Marvel. I already know that I like Batman. It hurts indy creators whose work I will never see in person and can’t find previews of online. At $3.50+ a gallon for gas and $4 a pop for most comics, I’m just not willing to spend scarce dollars on something that might be crap. It hurts comic shops that I’d order from. I’m not going to suddenly move my indy budget to MORE Batman. I already buy enough to satisfy me. It will be less money spent on comics in general.

What about downloading older comics? This kills that. I have a complete run of many comics on my laptop that are long out of print. The old legendary 1970s UK weekly “Action”? Got it. Miracleman? Got it. I have three complete sets of the EC Comics library. The Russ Cochran B&W hardcovers, the color annuals from the 90s and a complete run of cbr files for my laptop or tablet. I’ve spent $1000s on ECs over the past three decades, and I won’t apologize for downloading them electronically. Frankly if EC’s current reprint publisher offered them as an e-library I’d probably buy them again. Especially if they offered the crisp B&W pages from the Cochran library (which really are the best way to read EC so you can see the craftsmanship of their linework) as well as original 1950s Marie Severin colored pages as well as the new computer colored pages from the Archives library.

This is a napster and pirate bay witchhunt all over again. SOPA needs to fail and the US needs to give those men their freedom back and apologize.

If the publishers were to make back issues available as c2c instead of just the from cover and story pages, there would be more of a chance of seeing less scanning. C2C is cover to cover. Also back issues should be available under $1.00 instead… 0.50 or 0.75 would garner more sales for books. And stop the insane multiple covers. One cover is fine. Digital comics are going to downgrade collecting as a whole. Why sell Justice League v2 #1 for 6 bucks when I can buy it online for 1 dollar?

Think about it.

TAZ

Man that is some crazy ass stuff with megaupload, I think piracy is the world we live in, people should just figure out how to benefit or work with it. There is always going to be sharing of some kind.

I for one like the Megaupload news. Piracy is stealing, which is wrong. At least I believe so.

And so what if they find another site. They should still be stopping these intellectual thefts when they can.

As a bonus, at least it shows that they can stop these criminals without SOPA, so we don’t need the new legislation.

@Scot,

The problem here is twofold:

One, MegaUpload was widely used as a legal way of sharing files. Software patches, documents (I routinely used it to move around my own stuff), legal software (Many small developers use Megaupload to distribute their software).

Two, the precedent it sets. There was no warning, no due process, nothing, the US government just went in and shut them down out of nowhere. That’s scary, no matter how you cut it. The basic idea this conveys is that if the government doesn’t like what you’re doing, they can come in and shut you down without any trial or due process. It basically conveys the point that with or without the draconian and awful legislation that were SOPA and PIPA, the government can still apparently do whatever the heck it feels like, which is a terrifying concept in regards to the future of the internet.

Do yourself a favor and read up on the whole matter more. It’s not just about piracy, it’s about the US government potentially using piracy as an excuse to broaden censorship. The pirate community will survive MegaUpload’s death, but freedom of speech on the web may not.

People who don’t want to pay for something won’t; no matter how many laws you enact. People who do want to pay, will; no matter how many opportunities for pirating there are.

FYI: The link to the story about Nathan Edmondson’s ‘Dancer’ comic isn’t working.

“Two, the precedent it sets. There was no warning, no due process, nothing, the US government just went in and shut them down out of nowhere. That’s scary, no matter how you cut it. The basic idea this conveys is that if the government doesn’t like what you’re doing, they can come in and shut you down without any trial or due process. It basically conveys the point that with or without the draconian and awful legislation that were SOPA and PIPA, the government can still apparently do whatever the heck it feels like, which is a terrifying concept in regards to the future of the internet.”

Right there. That is exactly my thoughts on the matter.

“People who don’t want to pay for something won’t; no matter how many laws you enact. People who do want to pay, will; no matter how many opportunities for pirating there are.”

This, absolutely. The government is kidding itself thinking these kind of things will stop pirating. The people using MegaUpload will just move to RapidShare, when they shut down RapidShare, they’ll move to Usenet and so on and so forth. Savvy internet pirates will always be a step or two ahead, especially after such a drastic measure. The problem will never be solved by essentially taking a sledgehammer to the internet.

The only way to completely stop piracy is to basically eliminate first amendment rights unilaterally. Since it can never come to that constitutionally, the government will eventually need to stop kowtowing to the media conglomerates and let them sort it out themselves. iTunes did untold amounts of good combating music piracy by offering consumers a convenient and viable method of getting content legally. Netflix, Steam, DC and Marvel’s day and date initiatives and others are going a long way toward doing the same for other media. You’ll never get rid of pirates, but if you make legally acquiring IP as easy as pirating it, it will certainly cauterize the wound.

MU was pretty much the best fileshare site on the web. It’s disconcerting to see this happen so randomly without any real warning/notice on it beforehand. I JUST visited the site around 11AM CST and it was working. I get home at 3 and suddenly I’m swarmed with tweets and FB statuses talking about “It’s a shame about Megaupload.” That means the government shut down one of the biggest and most well-known fileshare sites in four freaking hours.

And people REALLY think they need SOPA?

Rich, there’s something wonky with the USA Today site. If you reload, the article should appear.

“That means the government shut down one of the biggest and most well-known fileshare sites in four freaking hours.”

To be honest, it’s indicative that MU will likely be back in time. Pirate Bay getting shut down was practically an annual event for a while and other big pirate destinations like Demonoid have been shut down only to come back after a couple of months.

To me, it seems that the FBI may be overreaching with this one unless they’re pulling an Elliot Ness style “tax evasion” type charge here where they’re trying to shut it down by focusing on unrelated charges (The whole conspiracy angle). In either case, all it’s going to amount to in the end is teaching other sites how to mitigate the damage.

So many little thieves commenting in this section

If someone steals your car, if someone breaks into your house. Don’t go to the cops. In fact, don’t even get upset or complain in the least. You’re thieves too

“So many little thieves commenting in this section”

Consider re-evaluating your reading comprehension. This isn’t about piracy, this is about the government massively overreaching the boundaries that are supposed to keep them in check. If the government can go and shut down MegaUpload because some of its users are pirating material through it, that opens up the floodgates to shut down things like YouTube, Facebook and Google. Read up on the problems with SOPA and PIPA before putting your foot in your mouth.

Brian from Canada

January 20, 2012 at 9:42 am

If I’m not mistaken, John Fogerty used MegaUpload to give away his free song associated with The Finder.

Personally, I am even more impressed now with JM DeMatteis. Not only does he hammer the nail dead on, but it explains how countries like Sweden and Canada — with laxer approaches to downloading — have higher sales on music.

But let us not forget that Congress has *technically* outlawed TiVO and DVD Recorders too over copyright without realizing any of the legitimate — or beneficial — results from it.

An example of how to do things wrong:

Get the government to shut down every site that may have ties to piracy.

An example of how to do things right:

Post nifty sales on comic downloads and then advertise it all over Twitter:

For those paying attention, Uncanny X-Force’s first four issues (Which you all should be reading anyway) are on sale for a buck a piece on ComiXology right now. ComiXology: doing it right. Pirates will always learn how to pirate, the most effective way of combating piracy is by enticing consumers with fairly priced products available through convenient means.

“So many little thieves commenting in this section

If someone steals your car, if someone breaks into your house. Don’t go to the cops. In fact, don’t even get upset or complain in the least. You’re thieves too.”

But you would let your own government steal your own freedom from you. Just because it can! I agree… Think about what you say before inserting your foot in your mouth. Hoof-n-mouth disease is not funny!

TAZ

sez Marc C: “People who don’t want to pay for something won’t; no matter how many laws you enact. People who do want to pay, will; no matter how many opportunities for pirating there are.”

I don’t think this is true at all… If it were, then comic sales would have remained unaffected by the rise of downloading, but this has not been the case. Clearly, there have been readers who were glad to pay before and stopped paying once they found a free source.

Personally, I am even more impressed now with JM DeMatteis. Not only does he hammer the nail dead on, but it explains how countries like Sweden and Canada — with laxer approaches to downloading — have higher sales on music.”

He absolutely gets it. Who honestly thinks that people still get into comics by spotting a neat cover on the rack at their local convenience store?

Comic book companies need to go with more drug dealer style incentives. Drug dealers were pretty much the pioneers of cable companies’ “new customer discount” stuff. Offer the first issue of a story arc for free or at a discounted rate and let the product sell itself (Much like that UXF promo I just mentioned).

Imagine the continued success the New 52 line could have if DC pushed a massive promo prior to DKR advertising opening arcs to all Batman family New 52 comics for 75% off on ComiXology or their own app.

Bringing in new fans has been hard despite continued film success because of how tough it is to get fans into comic book shops, but if you’ve got an ad leading into DKR advertising how easy it is to get this content right on your phone now, I have trouble believing it wouldn’t bring in more than a few new customers.

Obviously, ‘hollywood’ leaned on some gov people they’ve given money to, to make this happen.

i think the lesson here is if you’re making money with piracy….then do what other corporations do and buy yourself some government officials to cover your @$$.

” If it were, then comic sales would have remained unaffected by the rise of downloading, but this has not been the case. Clearly, there have been readers who were glad to pay before and stopped paying once they found a free source.”

The same happened with the music industry when Napster showed up. Then cam iTunes and sales started to level out.

Piracy is one part free stuff, two parts convenience. By and large, people don’t LIKE to steal. Society has, by and large, programmed us to fear the repercussions of theft and most people are honestly scared of potential consequence, especially with stories of single moms in the middle of nowhere getting sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars for sharing an album or two.

As was the case with iTunes, if you make your content easy to access without gouging the consumer, customers will more often than not pay for the product. DC have come out and claimed that their digital sales have been a massive success lately. iTunes, Steam, Netflix and so on have all been incredibly successful, proving that people don’t mind paying for things as long as they can get their instant gratification.

If it were all about getting something for nothing, iTunes, Steam and Netflix would’ve all gone under long ago.

Here’s me issue with this. Not getting into whether the shutdown of Megaupload was without warning or not, there is a difference of making a copy for someone and putting a copy of something online, and it’s a question of scale. You can get entire catalogs of artists work for free without ever having to buy a single thing, and I know lots of people who do just that. I love Dematteis; he’s one of my favorite writers. I just think that, in this case, he’s wrong.

According to the indictment, Megaupload was made aware of copyrighted material over and over, and they disabled specific links, but left the files up with new URLs. This isn’t the same as having multiple copies that were impossible for them to track…the actual specific copy of the file was still in the same exact place on the server, just retagged. To me, this means that nothing was without warning. They were told they were breaking the law, and they continued to do so, and more importantly, to profit off of doing so, via advertisements. This is framed as big business vs. the little guy, but it’s actually one big business operating somewhat within the law against another big business that was allegedly breaking the law.

Now, the case can be made that piracy helps artists, but if the artists (or, unfortunately, the companies who hold the copyrights) not only do not ask for the help, but specifically say not to help them in this way, then the argument falls a little flat. They may be practicing bad business, but they are allowed to make bad decisions. And we are allowed to boycott them for it.

This is, of course, assuming the allegations are true. I’m not really addressing the guilt or innocence of Megaupload, but the ethics of piracy.

I wrote about it on the music blog I write for (plug, plug), where I pull some specific quotes from the indictment, but if the accusations are true, then Megaupload are not the heroes of this story. I’m not sure there are any heroes in it, actually.

Jonathan –

iTunes leveled things out a bit, but music sales are still nowhere close to what they were pre-Napster. So it’s obvious that a LOT of people who were buying music previously are no longer doing so… and I don’t want to believe that they just stopped listening altogether!

I agree with you that by and large, people don’t like to steal… But they DO like to get stuff for free, and if they can, they will perform all manner of mental gymnastics and semantic reconstruction to avoid defining their enjoyment of free stuff as “stealing.” You see it all the time in debates about downloading; the downloaders resent their activities being described as theft and try to characterize it as a natural consequence of some moral failing by the corporations.

Other than that, I agree with you about the success of iTunes, Netflix et al… I just don’t buy the simple argument that most people would not “steal” if given the option to pay a reasonable price. As consumers, most people instinctively look for the best price available… and as prices go, nothing beats free!

“iTunes leveled things out a bit, but music sales are still nowhere close to what they were pre-Napster. So it’s obvious that a LOT of people who were buying music previously are no longer doing so… and I don’t want to believe that they just stopped listening altogether!”

Honestly, I think a lot of this has more to do with services like Spotify, Grooveshark and Pandora. I haven’t bought an album in years, nor have I been pirating my music, because why bother jumping through the self gratifying justification hoops when I can pay a few bucks a month to get access to a gigantic library of stuff that I can access from my computer or my phone, especially considering the fact portable music is much easier to do through these services than through outright owning the tracks.

The future is in licensing media to convenient subscription services like Spotify and Netflix that can get you insanely large libraries of instant gratification material at a fraction of the cost of buying something you may watch or listen to once or paying out the nose for rentals.

But I stand by my statement, if you make accessing your intellectual property convenient and easy while maintaining a competitive price point, people will give you money for it rather than run the risks associates with stealing it.

To the thieves who responded to my first comment. Why would you get offended by what I said unless you are a thief

Keep making excuses for piracy. Keep purporting that “piracy is part of life now”. Keep living with no personal code of ethics, and making excuses for those who do likewise

So is the USA turning to communism now? Because that is how they are acting.

“People who don’t want to pay for something won’t; no matter how many laws you enact. People who do want to pay, will; no matter how many opportunities for pirating there are.”
This is the truest statement that could ever be said on the matter. Piracy will never go away nor will we suddenly be in a state where nobody pays for anything. Honest people are honest, criminals are criminals, and nothing will ever change that. And, as stated, my issue isn’t so much THAT they shut them down, it’s HOW they shut them down. The first problem is: if it’s a Hong Kong based company and the founder is in New Zealand, why did the US have anything to do with it in the first place? Yes I’m aware some of the pirates are in the US, but the pirates are not who they arrested. This is about as stupid as the strategy of trying to get rid of drug use by getting rid of dealers. That doesn’t curb drug use, it’s just opens up an opportunity for some one else. Same thing here. Maybe if they spent that money educating people on the effects of piracy, instead of arresting anyone they can think of, they might actually deter some pirates. At the very least, it would work better than their current plan.
On a side note, it’s no surprise that J.M. DeMatteis is the voice of reason.
Here’s one more: maybe if they didn’t charge full print price for digital copies (when no one in their right mind pays full retail price for the print versions) they would have more sales and less pirates. They get, maybe $1.20 from a $3 comic and out of that $1.20 they still have to cover production and distribution, per issue (not including creation, because that cost is there either way, and I’m just talking about per unit). For digital, I don’t actually know what percentage they get, but it’s sure as hell higher than 40% and have zero cost for production and distribution. So they are expecting people to pay more when they, themselves, are paying less? Gee, I wonder why some people pirate. Personally I don’t, and people that do annoy me. I’m just saying that reasons exist as to why someone would be tempted to.

Eric, claiming that there’s no cost of production and distribution is a fallacy. They still have to pay the creator to make the book, they still have to color it and they still have to pay to store it and have someone provider reasonable bandwidth for the volume of comics they’re putting out there. Sure, the overhead MAY be cheaper (I won’t pretend to know for sure one way or the other), but there are costs associated with online content that there aren’t with direct shipping. That aside, there’s the aspect of having to appease the brick and mortars. The comics industry is not ready to cut the cord on comic book shops as the industry isn’t stable enough online yet to survive without them, but if you start charging something like half price for day and date digital sales, you’ve basically biting the hand that feeds you.

It’ll probably find its level eventually (Particularly once the unfortunately inevitable occurrence of brick and mortars going extinct occurs). In the interim, however, you can always use the method I adopt for things like Steam and comics: wait for sales. If you don’t want to pay the retail cost, I completely understand, but that’s your choice and your consequence. If you’re fine with waiting, buy stuff when it goes on discounted rates. You’d be astounded by some of the deals you can get by waiting. For example:

As I noted above, the first four issues of UXF are $1 a piece on ComiXology.
Marvel does free lunchtime reading every day, which is regularly advertised on Twitter (I’m sure DC does something similar, I just don’t know what since I’m not really an avid DC reader).
Steam has huge sales regularly. I got Arkham City, a title that just came out a few months ago for $25 after Christmas on their holiday sale (A game that’s still going for $60 in brick and mortars). Older stuff like Borderlands was going for like $5.

So Realist do you know where I can buy a digital copy of New Comics #1? Surely DC doesn’t have it. Oh wait they can’t sell a true digital copy of that book! There are features in it that DC no longer owns the copywrite to! DC cannot sell what they do not own!

There are always exceptions that people that are close minded don’t consider.

“So is the USA turning to communism now? Because that is how they are acting.”

Actually, this is pretty much the complete opposite of communism. Communism dictates common ownership of everything by a collective. By its very nature, intellectual property as a concept is the complete antithesis of communism.

If the US were turning communist, they’d shut down the RIAA and tell them all their music belonged to the state now and if they had a problem with it, Canada’s just up the road.

“There are features in it that DC no longer owns the copywrite to! ”

Worry not! In case you hadn’t heard, the US Supreme Court decided that public domain is no longer a permanent concept, so maybe they’ll get the copyright back.

(No, folks, this isn’t a joke, this actually happened)

If the comic companies are smart they would leave the digital offerings alone and not put out another digital comic. After all there is no resale value in a digital comic.

I would love to sell my Justice League Of America vol 1 #1 (1960) for a good price and know that the buyer is getting a good deal on it. Instead of having a digital comic that I can get no resale value for.

Mr. Fate: It’s not turning to Communism; it’s turning to Feudalism.

Jonathan: I hadn’t heard that. I wonder who Disney had to buy to make that happen!

Taz: Well, the comic book companies make no profit off of resale, so it makes sense to go the digital route.

“I would love to sell my Justice League Of America vol 1 #1 (1960) for a good price and know that the buyer is getting a good deal on it. Instead of having a digital comic that I can get no resale value for.”

Digital comics don’t affect the resale value of collectible issues. All a person downloading JLA #1 will be doing is reading it and no one’s going to pay a hefty price just to read a 20 some odd page comic.

The resale market for non-collectibles has been virtually dead for the better part of a decade anyway with the ease of access through places like Amazon for trades. Digital comics simply make it easier for people to simply read the comics, which is the actual point of the medium, not to fuel speculation, which is what nearly killed the industry in the first place.

“I hadn’t heard that. I wonder who Disney had to buy to make that happen!”

Honestly, a company like Disney is absolutely the last company that would want public domain to go away. They basically make their living off of concepts that they’ve never owned a real copyright for. In fact, one of their major films (The Huncback of Notre Dame) is one that was pulled straight from the realm of public domain.

The whole thing is mostly to get in line with European concepts of copyright law, but it does potentially open a can of worms.

Sorry, stealing is still wrong. There is nothing that changes that fact. The reason why so many people are up in arms about this is because it ultimately stops their “free lunch” lifestyles. How did you make your purchase choices before the internet exsisted?

It really makes a difference in my personal appreciation level of the art form when I have to pay to enjoy it. I actually have to work at a job to get my fix instead of sitting at home in front of a monitor scratching myself and stealing something that I “claim” to appreciate. If you support the art form. BUY IT!

And for the third post here by Micheal, let me just say that I think anyone that admits to going to their LCS and actually picking up a book on the shelf and “thumbing” through it before buying it are indeed stealing. All too often, I see people ran out of my LCS for standing around and reading a book that they have no intention of buying. If I spend $4 on a book and I don’t like it I don’t buy it again. I make my purchases based on word of mouth, previews made by companies, and writer/artist loyalty. I rarely buy something on a whim.

Reading something while standing in a store is like going to a grocery store, pulling a 2 liter coke off the shelf, drinking half of it, putting it back and saying it didn’t taste good enough to buy. You might as well piss in your LCS owners face the next time you see him/her.

“Sorry, stealing is still wrong. There is nothing that changes that fact. The reason why so many people are up in arms about this is because it ultimately stops their “free lunch” lifestyles. How did you make your purchase choices before the internet exsisted?”

The reason people are so up in arms about this is that they’ve taken fifteen minutes out of their day to actually read up on some of the stuff that’s been going on. The US Government having full autonomy to take whatever they see fit off of the internet because they think it may be potentially posing a problem is a bad thing.

Do yourself a favor: before assuming we’re all disgusting little thieves out to rip off the poor starving conglomerates go out and take a little bit of your day to read some of the potential implications of this behavior and educate yourself on why a person can be outraged by this stuff without being a thief. I’d also consider reading up on the concept of glass houses, as every morally superior joker going around the web casting judgment on everyone else they’ve never met typically has about a dozen moral ambiguities they need to reevaluate themselves.

Jonathan – all hyperbole aside – you’re painting with just as wide a brush as others are

The US government having “full autonomy”. Come on

And are you honestly arguing that these sites don’t facilitate pirating?? If so, you’re kidding yourself

PS – “moral ambiguities” = “I’m making rationalizations for my own unethical behavior”

I’ve heard all of that garbage before – “I steal Microsoft Office because Microsoft charges so much for it” – Tommyrot!

@ Jonathan- I read the article. Long story short, Megaupload helped pirates, Megaupload was shut down. Not sure how much more I need to be informed.

I agree with you that the government has too much power. There is nothing you can do about that by yourself. The only way things are gonna change is by all of us banding together and throwing these bums out of office. But since we can not agree on a simple moral absolute (i.e. stealing is wrong), then I seriously doubt we can ever work together as a body of one.

But realist thats like saying allowing you to breath is contributing to societies snide remarks…

Yes its true, but that is not the principal or purpose its creators had for it. I see both sides and agree that the charge is outrage and blow out of proportion. Claiming and ceasing all assets sure but 20 years in prison is going to correct what? That habit of allowing users to abuse a system they made?

But attacking it was going to happen. I do not pirate per say but I do abuse loose copy rights with reading certain manga because of inability to get access via region/shipping issues and the fact fan scan and translations are there, but when the copy right comes both I and the fan group related close up shop. Even with this practice that was still targeted but through regular cease and desist letters. A FBI raid…thats like swat kicking in the door because you modified xbox’s with no intent to sell.

Great news. The guys described themselves as pirates, one had been indicted for credit card fraud, it was a vast criminal operation.
It’s hilarious to see how many have gone blind to basic morality. Liek “some of the trafic was legal” Imagine an employer that pays some of hos employees but not the others “well, some of my employees were paid, they wxeren’t all ripped off” Stop the double standards.
Excuses are just that. The classic rationalization of the thief is that he steals from thieves–banks, people he considers wealthier than himself. He makes that rationalization because he knows stealing is wrong. So everyone rationalising knows –even unconsciously–he’s done something wrong.

We should capture and extradite USA government for their infringement on human rights:

1. Killing people in Islamic Worlds without humanity-affected reasonings, just the profits of their oil barons and death dealers.
2. Stopping honest and legal businesses without good reasonings except the profits of their “creative industries”
3. Preventing access to real democracy.

And oh, you can tell megaupload that a hosted file is infringing, and they will erase it ASAP. Happens all the times.

And it’s not stealing if your item is still in place.

For a site aimed at comic readers, people sure do have a lot of trouble reading here. Let me sum it up in simple terms for those of us too lazy to bother researching the implications:

Not the problem: That MegaUpload itself as an entity went down. Though it does stink for the legitimate users that were out there (And oh the naivete of people who think this is going to amount to squat with pirates, they’ll just move to another file hosting site like RapidShare or any of the other five or six dozen well known ones out there).

The problem: That the United States government seized a domain that was run outside of the United States and shut it down without following due process of any sort.

The entire Pandora’s Box people have been rallying against SOPA because of? Well, the US just went and opened it anyway.

@Jonathan – a pandora’s box for what??? Shutting down more sites that allowing piracy, ie stealing

Yes, let’s all go march on Wall Street in the name of thieves’ rights

The part that jumps out at me is Megaupload being a Hong Kong company and being seized by the FBI, which is not only a foreign organization but an internal one. I’m a Canadian and expect to be governed by the laws of my municipal government, my provincial government, and my federal government, with the United Nations handling international matters. Not by the USA. The Canadian government has its own laws to deal with thieves. If the USA government can enforce laws in other countries, then yes, they’ve passed the litmus test for too much power.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Asia pirates a lot of American intellectual property – movies, music, etc

Anyone who thinks Mega Upload got busted because of file sharing or SOPA ought to read the indictment. (i know, facts have the nasty habit of getting in the way of conspiracy theories)
http://www.scribd.com/doc/78786408/Mega-Indictment

Here’s the TL;DR version:

Payment processors and ad networks informed the company about links to illegal content. Not only did they not take them down, but one of the people in charge expressly told employees to ignore the emails.

In an IRC chat, one of the people in charge said that MU was like modern-day pirates, to which another responded, “no, we just provide shipping to pirates”.

MegaUpload uses MD5 hashes to detect matches on theirs servers, in which case they create a URL to the file they already have on their server. When a DMCA request is made, they don’t actually take down the media – they just remove the link specified.

Despite having the ability, knowledge and mechanisms to match content (and having stated they could do so to keep porn off their website), they have not used this to block copyrighted material from being uploaded.

They do not ban multiple offenders (and in-fact continue paying them with their rewards system if they upload other material,)

This isn’t file sharing, it’s racketeering.

The Ethnic Squirrel

January 20, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Maybe if the government looked at some of our own *internal* problems, more of us could find work and wouldn’t have to worry about pirating.

All kidding aside, as I know this is a real issue, but unemployment and poverty seems to be something that is far more pressing. Maybe socialism isn’t such a bad thing after all. Fascism sure seems a lot worse.

“So many little thieves commenting in this section

If someone steals your car, if someone breaks into your house. Don’t go to the cops. In fact, don’t even get upset or complain in the least. You’re thieves too”

@realist Hey, if someone has the magical ability to make an exact duplicate of my car and drive away with it, I’d say good for him. There’s no way I’m telling the cops some magic man had the means of replicating my car.

Quote Travis: ” And for the third post here by Micheal, let me just say that I think anyone that admits to going to their LCS and actually picking up a book on the shelf and “thumbing” through it before buying it are indeed stealing.”

That’s true, because people have optic blasts like Cyclops and when you look at the contents of the comic book, your eyes superheat the air in between you and the comic book and then the comic book itself and this process ends up making the book unreadable to anybody else.

Or maybe if a comic book were to suddenly fall to the floor and the visuals in it happen to be visible to anybody within viewing distance, these people are in essence stealing as well. So, remember, if anybody, even the wind opens a comic book in your presence, be sure to immediately avert your eyes lest you be accused of taking some content from this comic book that you have not paid yet with your hard-earned dollars.

@ Travis

“And for the third post here by Micheal, let me just say that I think anyone that admits to going to their LCS and actually picking up a book on the shelf and “thumbing” through it before buying it are indeed stealing.”

That’s an absolutely ridiculous, offensive, and incredibly ignorant statement.

I buy about 30 comics a month. Now and then I will see a comic on the shelf I have not ordered and will thumb through some pages quickly to see the art/ characters etc to determine if I also want to pick it up. After spending between $100 – $150 a month (not counting the odd tradepaperback and action figure I will also buy; I often pick up about $20 – $30 of back-issues as well) I refuse to “take the risk” of buying a comic that may not be value for money. This is the REASON comics are placed on shelves – they’re there for a quick look to determine if you want to buy it. Most LCS that bag their comics on the shelves sell less than those that allow you to quickly peruse them.

Many websites place up to 8 pages of comic content for readers to peruse to determine if they’ll buy it when it’s released. Are they stealing? Are those accessing these preview pages released BY THE COMIC COMPANY stealing? No, they’re not.

Like pissing in you LCS face? What a stupid statement.

Notice how the people who DON’T steal DON’T have to make excuses for their behavior

While I most of the time I have nothing but respect for J.M Demattias. I will say that he is way off on the issue of piracy . why? yes in the old day it was cool to share a comic book with friend and hope that is increased the comic series shelf life, file sharing in not the same thing . When you share a comic book with a friend it is sharing it with one friend one time and you can have it back. file sharing is not like lending to any one it is like giving out 10,0000 free copies to people who are to cheap to pay for it them selves, people who while they may like the series will just wait a month to down load another issue . it does not cost more then 3.99 if someone lends a pamphlet to a friend. but 10,000 friends looking at the same comic book is a major loss in cash

@ realist

We get it – you couldn’t care less about the topic – you’re just trolling. Please find something meaningful to do now.

@ realist

If you call yourself realist, how come all you say is nonsense?

I’m sorry. Do you want me to justify your pirating lifestyle by spouting the oft-used and utterly stupid excuses for why “it’s not really stealing”

Grow up.

If you truly disagree with me – I’d love to see you logically defend pirating

If you truly think Megaupload wasn’t facilitating prating I’d love to see you explain how not

Good luck doing either

Brian from Canada

January 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Andy, I hate to break it to you: according to Wikileaks, C-32 (our revised copyright law) was written by agents of Congress, not the Canadian government… and it was OUR government that came up with the “filming in theatres” scare to help sell the idea we need more stringent copyright laws.

Give Obama his due: he promised to fix American foreign policy and he did — first, he made all the Middle East hate America, and now it’s pretty much the entire world that looks at them as big bullies that don’t want to play nice any more. :-/

Brian from Canada

January 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm

And in one paragraph, Philip, you’ve come up with the best counter argument for the industry to make: instead of screaming “stealing,” what the entertainment industry should be screaming about is the lack of boundary control. Television stations limit their free content by geographical ISP — yet, thanks to the Internet, networks like BBC can claim over a million people are watching their shows in other countries that don’t get BBC. [Top Gear, for those who don't know, is the most downloaded show internationally.]

But DeMatteis is right: for decades now, we’ve had tape trees and other networks for passing content along to other areas so that they can see/hear things that they wouldn’t normally get, and the same continues to happen with the Internet, just at a faster and more international pace. That power can be harnessed for good or bad — it’s up to the industry to figure out how to use the market in a good way.

Bottom line: if you like it, buy it. If you’re not sure, try it. And you’ll find most people — even the most anti-pirate people — accept that philosophy. Hell, most food companies INCLUDE their reimbursement policy on their products!

Brian – you’ve written a “smart-sounding” argument that totally ignores many of the facts of the issue

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