U.S. Releases More Evidence of Megaupload’s ‘Mass Infringing Use’

The U.S. Department of Justice has released a new 191-page filing in which Megaupload is portrayed as a massive piracy hub. The Government is using data obtained from Megaupload's seized databases to back up and expand several of the allegations against Kim Dotcom and his co-defendants. Among other things, the evidence suggests that "repeat infringers" drove a lot of traffic to Mega's sites. The document further shows that roughly 43% of all files streamed on Megavideo received a takedown notice.

megauploadThe Department of Justice recently requested a secret order to help copyright holders by releasing sealed evidence from Megaupload’s servers. Despite protests from Megaupload, the U.S. has now made this information public.

The evidence offers new details obtained from Megaupload’s databases to back up claims that were made in the original indictment. According to the United States the new evidence makes it even more clear that Megaupload was mostly a piracy hub, and that Kim Dotcom and his colleagues were well aware of that.

In large part the new evidence deals with how Megaupload and Megavideo responded to DMCA notices. The Government accuses Megaupload of misleading copyright holders, as they only disabled URLs to infringing files, and not the files themselves. In addition, the new evidence shows that “repeat infringers” were allowed to continue uploading copyrighted material.

For example, the Megavideo database revealed that there were 33 active user accounts that had more than 10,000 URL links disabled through DMCA notices. The decision not to terminate these users was due to the millions of views these repeat infringers were driving, the Government says.

“In total, links created and distributed by these repeat infringer accounts attracted more than 475 million views on Megavideo.com. Had the Mega Conspiracy terminated the accounts of these repeat infringers, for which they had actual knowledge, the Mega Sites would have lost these millions of views,” the Government writes.

According to the new information the infringing users were responsible for uploading the files that generated the majority of all views on Megaupload.

In total there were 93,878 users that had at least one of their links disabled through a takedown notice. The links of these infringing users were accessed more than 27.2 billion times, which is roughly 77% of Megavideo’s total views.

In addition, the Government claims that 43% of all video files that were viewed on Megavideo had received at least one takedown notice.

The Government further states that Megaupload was not primarily a cyberlocker, as most users couldn’t store files permanently. Only premium subscribers could store files permanently, and free and unregistered users would lose access to files that weren’t downloaded regularly.

“One of the databases shows that on or about January 19, 2012, the Mega Sites had approximately 66.6 million total registered users. Of these, approximately 800,000, or roughly 1.2%, were premium subscribers. Therefore, approximately 98.8% of users did not have significant capabilities to store private content long-term,” the Government writes.

Most users were indeed not interested in storing files, as information from Megaupload’s databases shows that the vast majority of Megaupload’s users never uploaded a single file.

“In addition, of the 66.6 million total registered users, at most, only 5.86 million registered users, or less than 9%, had ever uploaded a file to either Megaupload.com or Megavideo.com. Therefore, the vast majority of users accessed the Mega Sites to view and download content.”

The Government then goes on to detail several of the “repeat infringer” accounts, and how the Megaupload team interacted with these users. The evidence also includes various email and Skype conversations between Dotcom and his team where there are seemingly aware of the infringing use of Megaupload.

The Government had requested to release this information so copyright holders could use it to their advantage in possible lawsuits. Whether the evidence released thus far will be good enough to make a case against the Megaupload team remains to be seen.

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