Mega site a serious concern in fight against piracy, warns FAST
New site shifts responsibility from operators to file users
In a new twist in the fight against piracy, Megaupload creator, Mr. Kim Dotcom (Kim Schmitz) has announced the launch of a new site called Mega, which appears to shift the responsibility of accessing content onto the users. Dotcom claims the new site, Mega, will allow users to encrypt and decrypt data transparently within their browser, consequently relinquishing control to the user.
Therefore ensuring files are not pirated falls to the user rather than Mega administrators. Already being pursued under American law for £175 million for alleged online piracy, racketeering and money laundering, this move aims to make Dotcom immune to further legal repercussions of copyright infringement. However the potential legal impact upon the user is an area of debate.
Responding on this new twist in internet piracy, Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Counsel at Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), states:
“The last few months have seen advances in the fight against internet piracy with cases such as The Pirate Bay, Surfthechannel.com and UKNova being brought before the courts. However, it is unsurprising that characters such as Kim Dotcom would attempt to gain clear water by using clever technology to exploit legal hurdles in order to operate. To a degree, a similar move was announced by The Pirate Bay in looking to move to the cloud.
“What is interesting here is potentially pushing the liability onto the site users rather than the provider or simply not being able to pin it on the site founders so readily. It is a bold move in order to escape legal repercussions which are more these days being aimed at site in order to use economies of scale.”
Antony Gold, Intellectual Property partner at Eversheds LLP, adds:
“In the last few years, copyright owners have been making slow but steady progress in their trench warfare with operators of file sharing sites. The latest move by Kim Dotcom is evidently intended at keeping litigation focused on users rather than the site itself. There are a number of issues which this form of structure raises but I suspect that copyright owners will still see the operators of the file sharing site as the most obvious target for legal action.”
“Whilst the use of such technology could provide a challenge in the short term, I expect methodologies and the tools to develop at speed to discover to the source. The copyright industries seem more determined than ever to push back on the Wild West Frontier. They know what’s at stake. It is a different environment from when technology which was exploited for infringing purposes, ruled OK,“ Julian Heathcote Hobbins concludes.