Now the RIAA Sues Megaupload “For Massive Copyright Theft”

Just days after the MPAA announced that it had sued Megaupload, the defunct file-sharing site has yet more litigation to deal with. The RIAA has also thrown its hat into the ring, claiming millions in civil damages for "massive copyright theft".

megauploadRolled out to a background of what Kim Dotcom describes as a “failing” criminal process against both him and his former Megaupload associates, earlier this week the MPAA launched yet more litigation.

In a complaint filed at a Virginia District Court, the studios described Megaupload as a business designed and operated with copyright infringement in mind. Over the course of its life the site generated millions of dollars at the expense of the movie industry, the studios say, and for this Dotcom and partners Mathias Ortmann and Bram Van Der Kolk must be held accountable.

But fighting Hollywood is not the only thing that Dotcom has to worry about. In a fresh complaint filed yesterday in Virginia, Warner Music, UMG Recordings, Sony Music and Capitol Records teamed up against Megaupload, Vestor Limited, Kim Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann and Bram Van Der Kolk in pursuit of yet more millions in damages.

The RIAA’s 30-page complaint appears to be substantially the same as that filed by the movie studios, with claims that Dotcom and his associates “actively and intentionally” encouraged users to upload infringing copies of popular content in order to distribute those copies to millions of people without a license.

The complaint, which lists 87 specific copyright works from artists including Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Coldplay and David Guetta, treads familiar ground when it comes to the rewards program Megaupload was said to operate.

“Indeed, for several years, through what it called an ‘Uploader Rewards’ program, Defendants even paid their users to upload popular content that Defendants knew infringed copyrights, until Defendants finally discontinued this program a few months before their indictment,” the RIAA writes.

Unsurprisingly the RIAA heavily references the US Government’s action against Megaupload, noting that in 2011 the site was designated a “notorious market” by the USTR. Of course, just a month later Megaupload was shut down and by the end of January 2012 its operators were being indicted on charges including criminal copyright infringement.

In common with their movie industry counterparts, the RIAA demands a trial by jury on allegations of direct copyright infringement, inducement of copyright infringement, vicarious and contributory infringement against all defendants. Millions of dollars are at stake but Kim Dotcom’s U.S. attorney Ira Rothken believes that the lawsuit will not succeed.

“The RIAA, MPAA, and DOJ are like three blind mice following each other in the pursuit of meritless copyright claims and [an] assault on copyright neutral cloud technology,” Rothken said.

“Megaupload strongly believes it’s going to prevail.”

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