Megaupload Sues Universal Over Takedown of Viral Video


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Popular file hosting site Megaupload has filed suit against Universal Music Group today over claims that UMG abused YouTube’s automated copyright infringement reporting system to take down a video posted and owned by Megaupload

On Friday we ran a story about The Mega Song, a YouTube video posted by filesharing site Megaupload. The video is a response to allegations by the RIAA and MPAA that the site is illegal, and that it promotes music and video piracy.

The video includes a startling array of A-list celebrities, including Jamie Foxx, Kanye West, Brett Ratner, Alicia Keys, and more, all singing about their love and support for Megaupload. The video was produced entirely by Megaupload, and contains no content owned by any other party. That fact, however, did not stop Universal from reporting the video to YouTube for copyright infringement. YouTube immediately took down the video. When Megaupload re-posted it, UMG again reported it, resulting in a second takedown of the video and threats by YouTube to suspend Megaupload’s account as a repeat offender.

UMG blocks The Mega Song

After attempts at reinstating the video failed, Megaupload eventually took it down themselves.

Megaupload takes down The Mega Song

All is not lost, however, for those who still want to see the video. As is so often the case, something posted to the internet once does not really go away. Another YouTube user acquired the video and re-posted it on Friday, even as UMG was having it taken down. It is embedded below.

According to statements made to TorrentFreak, the issue has also prompted Megaupload to break its silence regarding SOPA, the controversial legislation working its way through Congress that many argue would legalize rampant internet censorship by record labels and Hollywood studios. David Robb, the company’s CEO, thanked users for their support and urged them to oppose SOPA and PIPA.

As may be expected in a situation like this, Twitter has exploded over this issue, with public opinion overwhelmingly siding with Megaupload against UMG. Many view the issue as an example of how badly things could go if SOPA is passed, and as evidence that the entertainment industry cannot be trusted with the level of power SOPA would give.

These are the people Congress wants to trust with the power to file infringement claims: 1 day ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Undeniable proof that the music industry can't be trusted with a censorship button: 1 day ago via Twitter for Mac · powered by @socialditto

Are record labels now just issuing takedown requests for *any* content they don't like? Looks that way. #megaupload 2 hours ago via bitly · powered by @socialditto

As yet UMG has not released any response either to the controversy over the takedown or to Megaupload’s suit.

What do you think of UMG’s actions? Let us know in the comments.