January 20, 2012

Yay, SOPA strike!

This just in:

One of the world's largest file-sharing sites was shut down Thursday, and its founder and several company executives were charged with violating piracy laws, federal prosecutors said.

An indictment accuses Megaupload.com of costing copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue from pirated films and other content. The indictment was unsealed one day after websites including Wikipedia and Craigslist shut down in protest of two congressional proposals intended to thwart online piracy.

[Full Story]

Interesting that this should happen only a day after Wikipedia don black to protest a pair of American anti-piracy legislation proposals. Neither the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) nor the Protect IP Act (PIPA) are anywhere close to being law—indeed, it appears that the strike managed to persuade many federal lawmakers against it. I share the ambivalence about SOPA that Scott Adams posted a few days ago (though for different reasons, obviously).

But seeing SOPA's effective defeat on the same day that the Feds bring down a major site enabling online piracy makes me ask: Just what did we need SOPA for, again?

Predictably, retaliation was swift from the torches-and-pitchforks faction of the Net, as Anonymous reacted by hacking the Web sites of the Department of Justice, RIAA, MPAA, and other government and media corporations. Most of them don't look very hacked at the moment, though. Pretty effective, guys. I'm reminded of this xkcd comic.

Sigh. Anyone else remember when Anonymous were masked anti-Scientology™ protesters instead of anarchic cyber-terrorists?