SOPA / PIPA Update
Two quick follow-ups to Wednesday's online blackout:
First, in the face of tremendous opposition, both SOPA and PIPA have been put on hold. Yay Internet!
Second, the day after the online protests, the Department of Justice took down the MegaUpload file locker based on allegations of piracy and is now pursuing a criminal case, even without SOPA / PIPA. If everything in the indictment is true, things don't look good for MegaUpload.
But the DOJ's actions are extremely questionable from a due process perspective. MegaUpload was making efforts to comply with DMCA takedown notices. MegaUpload had also filed a complaint in a U.S. Federal Court against the Universal Music Group for abusing the DMCA takedown process. The allegations in the DOJ's indictment resemble the claims Viacom made in a civil action against YouTube, and in which YouTube has so far prevailed. In short, there's no good reason why the government had to pursue a criminal case and unilaterally take down the sites. These claims could have been resolved with a civil action and preliminary injunction, which would have provided for an adversarial hearing prior to shutting down the site. As it is, it gives the unfortunate impression that the DOJ is acting as a hired gun for the MPAA.