Harvard Prof: MegaUpload Shutdown is an Attempt to Kill Technology

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In the wake of the MegaUpload shutdown Bloomberg interviewed Yochai Benkler, Prof. of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Benkler criticizes the actions of the Department of Justice, which he characterizes as “aggressive.”

“What is a surprise is how aggressive the move is, how much it uses extensions of criminal law enforcement and copyright liability to go after and seize assets and people in anticipation of a full trial,” he says.

According to the Prof. the shutdown of MegaUpload is yet another example of the copyright industry hampering technological innovation.

“When a new technology comes along [...] and destabilizes the way the industries have always made money, the first gut response throughout the 20th century has been; let’s shut down this technology.”

As has been demonstrated many times in the past, these lawsuits can kill technologies and companies, the prof adds.

“What’s chilling here is that a company can be served with a one-sided indictment that lists a whole set of quasi-legitimate and legitimate technological components that lots of other companies use.”

“By the time it will be finished litigating whether that’s enough or not it is dead, because these procedures for forfeiture during the trial will kill the company”

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