On January 19, 2012, the United States Department of Justice
ordered the closing down of the Megaupload.com Internet
site, as well as several other affiliated sites (18 domain names in
total), one of the largest file sharing network systems. The
network was operated by an entity based in Hong-Kong. According to
the American authorities, the network's leaders illegally
generated 175 million dollars of profit over a period of five
years. The network is thought to have derived its revenues from two
main sources, that is through its users' subscriptions and
advertising on its sites. Also, the network's activities caused
more than 500 million dollars of losses to the entertainment
industry by making it possible to download works protected by
copyright, more particularly films, music, television shows,
electronic books and business and entertainment software. Still
according to the United States Department of Justice, the
Megaupload.com site, in only a few years, pulled itself up
to rank among the 100 most visited websites in the world,
generating by itself traffic equal to 4% of worldwide Internet
traffic. The network's defence lawyers stated, however, that
Megaupload's only mission was to offer storage of
online content. Charges of rackeetering, conspiracy and copyright
infringement were laid against seven individuals and two companies
with regard to this case.
How did the American legal system get 18 domain names
deactivated, although they were operated by a foreign entity using
several servers across the world? Management of the virtual domain
rests mainly with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names
and Numbers ("ICANN"), a private non-profit
corporation, based in California, that is responsible for the
Internet names and addresses systems, including the domain names
system (DNS). As the organization in charge of allocating .com,
domain names, ICANN delegated the management of .com domain names
(which represent approximately 95 million Internet sites) to the
corporationVeriSign. Thus, in the Megaupload
matter, instead of attacking the various servers scattered all over
the world, the American legal system enjoined VeriSign to
intervene directly with respect to the 18 domain names that were
the subject of the intervention. Therefore, servers are still
operational, but it is from now on impossible to get to them, for
lack of a valid address. It remains to be seen whether the closing
down of this network will have a deterrent effect on illegal
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Software license agreements generally require the customer to pay fees for the software license and related services, which fees are usually based upon the duration of the license and the manner in which the customer is allowed to use the software, together with applicable taxes and withholdings.
In less than nine months, on July 1, 2017, persons affected by a contravention of Canada's anti-spam legislation will be able to invoke a private right of action to sue for compensation and potentially substantial statutory damages.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).