The year 2012 has been an extremely fruity one for file sharing, however all the fuzz didn’t happen in the last Mayan year. Here we bring the top file sharing shutdowns and lawsuits of ALL TIME!
Without further ado, the first one on the list is, of course, Megaupload!
Megaupload shutdown was a huge and devastating one. Megaupload literally carried petabytes of data on its extremely powerful servers. The owner of megaupload was rather rich indeed, and that richness got him on the list of the copyrighters. Megaupload not practising “proper file security” was soon shut down by a huge raid at the owner’s home.
Apparently it took 10 attack helicopters and over 200 men to arrest one fat guy…
The second on the list is, of course, the shutting down of Demonoid
Today it’s been one month since Demonoid was driven offline by a massive DDoS attack. In the weeks that followed things went from bad to worse and the site’s Ukrainian hosting provider eventually pulled the plug on the site following a request from Mexican authorities. Despite the legal trouble, many of the site’s former users are refusing to give up hope that Demonoid will live up to its reputation as the comeback kid.
When Demonoid went down at the end of July the site’s admin blamed a DDoS attack. This initial attack resulted in a series of problems that were not easy to fix.
However, at the time the tech admin of the site was determined to get the site back online.
“You know how it goes with Demonoid. It might take a while but it will come back,” the admin told us.
The admin was referring to Demonoid’s reputation as the comeback kid, but a return became less likely during the weeks that followed. After being driven offline by a DDoS and suspected hacker attack, a few days later the news broke that Demonoid’s servers had been shut down in the Ukraine.
The action followed a request from Interpol, who assisted Mexican authorities in their criminal investigation into the BitTorrent tracker and its operators. With the site offline, Demonoid’s millions of members could no longer access the database of nearly 400,000 torrent files.
Despite the serious legal issues, many of the site’s users haven’t given up hope that Demonoid will rise once again from its digital grave to make a blazing comeback. If it did, it wouldn’t be the first time.
That is about the shutdowns, let us now talk about a lawsuit that is still contested heavily.
Yes, I am talking about The Pirate Bay
On 31 May 2006, a raid against The Pirate Bay and people involved with the website took place as ordered by Judge Tomas Norström, later the presiding judge of the 2009 trial, prompted by allegations of copyright violations. Police officers shut down the website and confiscated its servers, as well as all other servers hosted by The Pirate Bay’s Internet service provider, PRQ. The company is owned by two operators of The Pirate Bay. Three people – Gottfrid Svartholm, Mikael Viborg, and Fredrik Neij – were held by the police for questioning, but were released later that evening. All servers in the room were seized, including those running the website of Piratbyrån, an independent organization fighting for file sharing rights, as well as servers unrelated to The Pirate Bay or other file sharing activities. Equipment such as hardware routers, switches, blank CDs, and fax machines were also seized.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) wrote in a press release: “Since filing a criminal complaint in Sweden in November 2004, the film industry has worked vigorously with Swedish and U.S. government officials in Sweden to shut this illegal website down.” MPAA CEO Dan Glickman also stated, “Intellectual property theft is a problem for film industries all over the world and we are glad that the local government in Sweden has helped stop The Pirate Bay from continuing to enable rampant copyright theft on the Internet.” The MPAA press release set forth its justification for the raid and claimed that there were three arrests; however, the individuals were not actually arrested, only held for questioning. The release also reprinted John G. Malcolm’s allegation that The Pirate Bay was making money from the distribution of copyrighted material, a criticism denied by the Pirate Bay.
After the raid, The Pirate Bay displayed a message that confirmed that the Swedish police had executed search warrants for breach of copyright law or assisting such a breach. The closure message initially caused some confusion because on 1 April 2005, April Fool’s Day, The Pirate Bay had posted a similar message as a prank, stating that they were unavailable due to a raid by the Swedish Anti-Piracy Bureau and IFPI. Piratbyrån set up a temporary news blog to inform the public about the incident. On 2 June 2006, The Pirate Bay was available once again, with their logo depicting a pirate ship firing cannon balls at the Hollywood sign.
And to top it all off
In September 2007, a large number of internal emails were leaked from anti-piracy company MediaDefender by an anonymous hacker. Some of the leaked emails discussed hiring hackers to perform DDOS attacks on The Pirate Bay’s servers and trackers. In response to the leak, The Pirate Bay filed charges in Sweden against MediaDefender clients Twentieth Century Fox Sweden AB, EMI Sweden AB, Universal Music Group Sweden AB, Universal PicturesNordic AB, Paramount Home Entertainment (Sweden) AB, Atari Nordic AB, Activision Nordic, Ubisoft Sweden AB, Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Sweden) AB, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Nordic AB, but the charges were not pursued. MediaDefender’s stocks fell sharply after this incident, and several media companies withdrew from the service after the company announced the leak had caused $825,000 in losses. Later, The Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde accused police investigator Jim Keyzer of a conflict of interest when he declined to investigate MediaDefender. Keyzer later accepted a job for MPAA member studio Warner Brothers. The leaked emails revealed that other MPAA member studios hired MediaDefender to pollute The Pirate Bay’s torrent database.
And of course, let us not forget LimeWire
The Gnutella-based download client LimeWire has ceased all its operations after a U.S. federal judge granted a request from the RIAA. LimeWire was ordered to disable all functionalities in the current application to prevent users from sharing copyrighted material. The verdict is expected to have an unprecedented impact on the P2P file-sharing landscape.
A few years ago the RIAA asked a New York District Court to shut down the world’s most installed file-sharing application, LimeWire.
The record labels argued that the Gnutella-based download client might have caused billions of dollars in lost revenue and that it’s therefore one of the largest threats to the music industry’s revenue. Now, RIAA’s request has been granted by a federal judge.
According to the injunction, LimeWire “intentionally encouraged infringement” by LimeWire users, it is used “overwhelmingly for infringement” and it knew about the “substantial infringement being committed” by its users.
The evidence further showed that LimeWire marketed its application to Napster users and that its business model depends on mass copyright infringements.
The New York District Court demanded that LimeWire shuts down its entire operation, including all searches and uploading and downloading that occurs through the client. LimeWire users who start up their client will immediately notice that it is no longer usable.