Ten years ago, online streaming hadn’t fully caught on yet and Netflix still had dozens of active DVD-mailing locations throughout the United States.
Streaming piracy was relatively new as well with most ‘pirates’ still downloading movies from torrent sites or cyberlockers.
While cyberlockers have plenty of legal uses, copyright holders viewed most of these services as pirate portals. This included Megaupload, which was by far the largest platform in this business.
Dark Clouds Looming
In hindsight, the end of 2011 was a crucial period. Megaupload was more popular than ever, something highlighted in the “Megaupload Song“, an unprecedented PR campaign featuring P Diddy, Will.i.am, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Kim Kardashian, Floyd Mayweather, and other stars.
What Megaupload and its founder Kim Dotcom didn’t know was that, at the same time, U.S. law enforcement was gearing up to bring the site down. A few weeks later, hundreds of Megaupload servers were seized while Dotcom’s mansion in New Zealand was raided in a military-style operation.
Fierce Extradition Battle
The U.S. Department of Justice teamed up with New Zealand police and hoped that Dotcom and several other Megaupload defendants would be swiftly extradited. That was idle hope.
The Megaupload defendants fiercely contested the extradition request, which they are still doing to this day. After spending millions of dollars in legal fees, the end of this process is still nowhere in sight.
Without extraditions, the criminal proceeding in the U.S. remains pending and the latest update in the court docket dates back five years.
RIAA and MPA Cases Postponed
This delay also affects the civil cases filed by the RIAA and the MPAA, which plan to hold the Megaupload defendants liable for millions in music and movie piracy damages respectively.
Since the civil cases can potentially influence the criminal proceedings, Megaupload’s legal team previously asked to put these cases on hold, and last week they requested another extension, which was swiftly granted by the federal court in Virginia.
With no objections from the MPA and RIAA, it is no surprise that the stay until April 2022 was granted. If anything, these motions serve as a bi-annual reminder of the lack of progress in the Megaupload case.
The extradition process in New Zealand may very well continue for several more years. And in the event that the defendants are extradited, it will take much longer before the criminal case concludes. This means that 2022 may eventually become, 2023, 2025, 2032, and so on.