In a generation of file-sharing, we may find that the lines that separate innocent enjoyment and online piracy to be a bit blurred. First, it was Napster that took a major hit in 2001 when record labels went after the file-sharing giant for copyright infringement that eventually resulted in its bankruptcy. Now Megaupload, a company that started in 2005, was charged for allegedly operating as a business dedicated to copyright infringement in January of 2012. Like YouTube, Megaupload was a website where users could upload videos and share them with friends. Unfortunately, the videos that were uploaded weren’t always legally owned by the users. Megaupload faced many criticisms about online piracy that eventually led to Kim Dotcom, Megaupload’s owner, being arrested.
You can watch Vice‘s mini-documentary on the Megaupload case here:
This controversial case surrounds the argument of whether it is ultimately the service provider or the end-user’s fault. Kim Dotcom argues that it is not the company’s responsibility to monitor and track the activity of its users in its entirety.In his defense, YouTube offers the same service and gets much less slack for the same type of activity. Albeit, YouTube does a mediocre job at monitoring the activity on its site, there is still plenty of copyright infringement happening without any real consequence, it seems.
The topic of online file-sharing has been a tricky one for years. If I’m sharing a song or video with a friend with the sole intention of expression, should it still be considered a crime? It seems clear that when files are shared for the purpose of making money, it is a crime. What if it’s not? At what point does it become illegal? Who is to blame? As a form of Social Media, what should businesses be aware of to avoid criticism in copyright infringement?
In the case of Kim Dotcom and Megaupload, what are your thoughts on how the trial should pan out?