Joined: Oct 2010
Dude, chill out. Everyone on the internet has an opinion, and there are stupid people on the internet, it's a fact of life. I'm not even sure who you're talking to lol
The fact is, legal vs. illegal is a lot more complicated than people here are making it out to be.
Here are some things to consider.
Nothing about Megaupload's business model is illegal (to narrow the focus of discussion, we'll stay within the US court system). It is not illegal to host a copy of a copyrighted work. It IS illegal to continue hosting that copy once you have been properly notified that the hosted media was created illegally.
It is NOT illegal to stream an illegal copy of a piece of content (keep reading). It IS illegal to make a copy of a copyrighted work IF THAT COPY IS NOT FOR PERSONAL USE, ie it is intended to be shared online. Now, most of us know that from a technical standpoint, downloading and streaming are the same thing, you're just not keeping the parts of the file around after you've watched them. There is a court precedent that indicates that DOWNLOADING (specifically) constitutes making a copy of something, making it illegal. In the United States you are (supposed to be) innocent until it can be proven that you have violated a specific law. Since there is not law or precedent that says streaming a file constitutes making a copy (which is the only thing that makes it illegal), streaming a file breaks no laws.
Further more, you have to consider incomplete, non-working copies. There is no law against making partial copies. In fact, these partial copies (or excerpts) are legally protected and specifically exempt from copyright law. Let's play out an extreme, but applicable example.
If I draw a circle on a piece of paper and write Avatar in it, have I made a copy of a cd? You're probably thinking "of course not!" (unless you work for the MAFIAA). But why, legally, does this not constitute making a copy? Because it's incomplete and unusable? What if I write out all the 1's and 0's on the disc, on the paper, by hand? If I then use optical character recognition software to turn my writing into digital 1's and 0's, so I can now play it back with media software, is that a copy of the original media, or a copy of my (legal) drawing? Does my pencil count as a tool for committing copyright infringement?
Writing all those 1's and 0's out by hand is a lot of work. I'm going to have my friend help me out and we'll each write half of the bits down on paper. Did one of us break make a copy? Which one? If my friend takes a picture of my half of the drawing, then reassembles the drawing and creates a copy of the movie, did I break the law? At what percentage of writing 1's and 0's does it become illegal?
Let's now extend this example to it's purely digital equivalent, bittorrent. I never possess the original content in digital form. Instead, I ask my anonymous friend for 6,000 bytes of a file who's hash is XXXXX. Then I ask another friend for 8,000 bytes of a file who's hash is also XXXXX. I continue this process until I have all of the pieces of the file who's hash is XXXX. For this to be illegal, it has to be proven that I have made a whole copy of a copyrighted work, that is intended for something other than personal use.
Now, bittorrent is a two-way protocol, so while I'm downloading, I'm also uploading, which means I'm potentially providing copies of my personal copy. The problem with that is the same as above. At what percentage of my drawing is a law broken? Does that percentage have to go to one person? What if I write each 1 or 0 on a separate scrap of paper and toss them off the empire state building (note: littering is bad kids). Did I break a copyright law? None of those scraps of paper are illegal, and neither is using bittorrent.
I hope that illustrates some of the sticky situation this is. These media groups make more money (almost twice as much last year) suing people than producing content. They don't want to fix this.