Megaupload sues Universal and joins fight against SOPA

By Lee Kaelin on

The file-hosting service Megaupload and Universal Music Group (UMG) have locked horns, after a video released by the former was removed on Friday from the popular video sharing site YouTube over Universal's claim that it violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). 

The surprise video featured leading recording artists including P Diddy, Will.i.am, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Macy Gray, Chris Brown, The Game and Mary J Blige, singing the praises of the popular service. As news of the video began to spread Google pulled the video in response to UMG and IFPI copyright takedown demands.

On late Friday, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom demanded that YouTube re-instate the video, to which UMG then responded to with another takedown request.  Speaking with TorrentFreak yesterday, the file-sharing service's CEO David Robb said, "let us be clear: Nothing in our song or the video belongs to Universal Music Group. We have signed agreements with all artists endorsing Megaupload."

The illegitimate removal of the Mega Song was in promotion of its soon to be launched, iTunes style service Megabox, which will see artists earn 90% of each song sold. In Robb's opinion, it was a deliberate step in order to prevent a real competitor from going viral as news spread. The irony is it might actually benefit the firm by providing the type of media coverage that money cannot buy.

He further commented that all attempts to contact the music giant to start a dialogue have resulted in questionable legal threats, including demands for a public apology. "Regrettably, we are being attacked and labelled as a ‘rogue operator’ by organizations like the RIAA and the MPAA," Robb said, while pointing out that his firm take piracy very seriously by closing accounts of repeat offenders and removing illegal files.

After getting nowhere with the music group, the file-sharing site has filed a lawsuit with the San Jose District Court, and intends to sue the group for misrepresenting DMCA rights as a basis for validating the removal of the video from YouTube.

The whole situation has led them to start endorsing those opposing the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, otherwise known as SOPA. “UMG is currently lobbying lawmakers in Washington for legislation that would allow them to not only delete specific content from a website, but to delete entire websites from the Internet. After this demonstration of the abuse of power by UMG, we are certain that such an instrument of Internet censorship should not be put into the hands of corporations,” Robb said.

He also took the opportunity to thank everyone for their massive support, and asked everyone who agreed to join forces and fight for an Internet without censorship.

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