Studios Sue Megaupload

Some major studios have filed a lawsuit against Megaupload and its operators, charging them with facilitating "massive" copyright infringement of TV shows and movies and attempting to get back some of the millions in ill-gotten gains.

Megaupload's principles have been indicted on federal criminal charges and the site has been shut down since 2012.

Citing the government indictment, the studios said that the site reported more than $175 million in proceeds costing copyright holders more than a half billion dollars.

The lawsuit was filed by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Disney Enterprises, Inc., Paramount Pictures Corporation, Universal City Studios Productions LLP, Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

"Megaupload was built on an incentive system that rewarded users for uploading the most popular content to the site, which was almost always stolen movies, TV shows and other commercial entertainment content," the lawsuit stated.

"It paid users based on how many times the content was downloaded by others – and didn’t pay at all until that infringing content was downloaded 10,000 times. Megaupload wasn’t a cloud storage service at all, it was an unlawful hub for mass distribution," said Steven Fabrizio, senior executive VP and global general counsel of the Motion Picture Association of America.

The studios say Megaupload is directly liable for infringement and should have to pay up to the tune of $150,000 per infringing incident.

In January 2012, DOJ charged seven individuals from German, Slovakia, Estonia and the Netherlands and two corporations connected to the site with running an international organized crime enterprise consisting of "massive worldwide online piracy" of TV shows, movies, software, e-books and more.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.