A quick word here about the Megaupload thing;
Megaupload was a place where folks stored stuff. Data. The problem was, they say, that no small part of the data was copyrighted – movies, music, all kinds of things – and was being widely shared in violation of copyright law, so the law shut it down and froze the company’s assets. But wait. In among the illegal material was a bunch of perfectly legitimate stuff too. Some folks were paying to use MegaUpload as a storage facility for their own material – photos, films, all kinds of things – that were not in violation of any copyright restrictions.
Now this, from TorrentFreak;
From work-related data to personal photos, the raid disabled access to hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of files that are clearly not infringing. A recent announcement by the US Attorney now suggests that these files may soon be lost forever.
“We received a letter very late Friday from the US Attorney that declared there could be an imminent destruction of Megaupload consumer data files on this coming Thursday,” MegaUpload lawyer Ira Rothken told TorrentFreak.
Rothken explains that MegaUpload is determined to protect the interests of its users, but that its hands are tied without help from the authorities. The looming data loss is linked to unpaid bills at Cogent Communications and Carpathia Hosting where MegaUpload leased some of its servers.
“We of course would like to think the United States and Megaupload would both be united in trying to avoid such a consumer protection calamity whereby innocent consumers could permanently lose access to everything from word processing files to family photos and many other things that could never practically be considered infringing,” the lawyer told TorrentFreak.
If it does end up that the whole data cache is wiped, that kinda reminds me of the old Stalinist Grammar School I was made to attend as a boy. If anybody in class misbehaved in some way that the culprit could not be identified, the whole class would be punished – a time-honored method of inducing compliance much admired more widely in military institutions and indeed military occupations the world over. In the case of any resistance at all, shoot the whole village.
But the implications here are interesting. One of the newer developments in computing is “cloud storage”. Mac owners have all probably received marketing mail about it, since it’s where Apple is headed. They are replacing “MobileMe” (the previous piece-of-shit host for this website, actually) with the “iCloud” sometime later this year, and the new “Lion OS” is all geared up for it. The idea is that any data you store in the “cloud” – photos, movies, music, your latest novel in progress – will be accessible to you via any device you use, ie your home computer, your laptop, iPhone, iPod, etc. But if the whole damn storage cache is vulnerable to being wiped as a result of legal actions being brought for copyright infringement, just how confidence inspiring is that for potential users?
The solution for this particular mess, I suppose, would be for the users with legitimate data be given the opportunity to d/l their material and make other arrangements for its storage. But they can’t do that if MegaUpload is offline, and they can’t get back online if their assets are frozen and they can’t pay the hosting companies to get the servers back up. Let’s hope they work something out, but it’s another area where technology is outrunning the law enforcement mechanisms.
There will be more of this; the internet is unhinging a lot of things, hence SOPA and PIPA, now on the back burner mercifully, but now comes something called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which is complicated as hell, international is scope, and largely being “negotiated” in secret. There’s a pretty decent stab at explaining it here on Washington’s Blog, if you have the fortitude for it.
The degree to which the freedom of the internet proves useful, going forward, to any resistance to the steady march of corporatism and evisceration of the democratic process, that is precisely the degree to which it will be under assault from here on out. Steadily and constantly, using all kinds of “reasonable” alibis too.
Bet on it.