The Fascinating Method By Which Megaupload Deleted Copyright Content Without Ever Deleting Copyright Content

Posted: Dec 21 2013, 12:06pm CST | by , in News

 

 

I have to say that I think this is rather clever really. Not helpful to people who were trying to get copyright material taken down off the Megaupload service, of course, and it forms part of the complaint about the service. But it’s certainly a clever method of claiming to all and sundry that you have indeed taken down identified material that is breaching copyright restrictions without actually taking down any copyright material.

Here’s the Justice Department’s document on the issue:

10.
Members of the Mega Conspiracy provided an “Abuse Tool” to major U.S. copyright holders, which would purportedly remove copyright-infringing material from Mega Conspiracy-controlled servers. The Abuse Tool allowed copyright holders to enter specific URL links to copyright-infringing content of which they were aware, and they were told by the MegaConspiracy that the Mega Conspiracy’s systems would then remove, or disable access to, the offending material. The Mega Conspiracy’s Abuse Tool did not actually function as the copyright owners were led to believe, however, because the Abuse Tool only disabled the specific URL link identified, and the Abuse Tool failed to disable access to the underlying copyright-infringing material or remove the file from the server.
11.
If there are multiple links to a file, then any attempt by the copyright holder to terminate access to the file using the Abuse Tool or other DMCA takedown request will fail unless all of the URL links to the infringing file are known and submitted, because the file will continue to be available through any undisclosed URL links. The infringing copy of the copyrighted work, therefore, remains on the Mega Conspiracy’s systems as long as a single link remains unknown to the copyright holder. The Mega Conspiracy maintains a record of links that have been generated by the system, but duplicative links to infringing materials are neither disclosed to copyright holders, nor are they automatically disabled or deleted when a copyright holder either uses the Abuse Tool or makes a standard DMCA copyright infringement takedown request. During the course of the conspiracy, the Mega Conspiracy has received many millions of requests to remove infringing copies of copyrighted works, and yet the Mega Conspiracy has, at best, only deleted the particular URL of which the copyright holder complained, and purposefully left the actual infringing copy of the copyrighted work on the Mega Conspiracy- controlled server and any other access links completely intact.


The way that Megaupload actually worked was that the system checked to see whether uploaded material already existed elsewhere on the service. If it did then it didn’t create a new copy of that material reflecting the new upload. It simply generated a new URL indicating where that one sole copy of the material could be found. That’s what caused the problems above. For when a copyright holder used the Abuse Tool to get that copy of their material deleted what got deleted was just that one URL leading to the material, not the actual material itself.

And, of course, under the DMCA they were supposed to delete the actual material, not just the access to it.

I’ve long been ambivalent about the Megaupload prosecution: certainly, I think some of the prosecution actions have been deplorable. I have in mind the flat refusal to allow anyone to retrieve material from the servers for example. And I have a very strong feeling that New Zealand is not going to allow extradition either as a result of some of the things that have been done in this case. But do note that’s a feeling, not a fact based upon any insider evidence.

But the above does indeed inform us as to why everyone was so darn angry about Megaupload in the first place. They were clearly and obviously taking the mickey out of the system.

Source: Forbes

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