Internet Party leader Kim Dotcom is facing a new lawsuit in the United States from six Hollywood film studios.
They claim in their suit the Megaupload founder “facilitated, encouraged, and profited” from illegal file-sharing on the site.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) filed the suit on behalf of the studios this morning (NZ time).
The lawsuit was filed by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Disney Enterprises, Paramount Pictures Corporation, Universal City Studios Productions, Columbia Pictures Industries, and Warner Bros Entertainment in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
The US Government is already seeking to extradite Dotcom to face charges of copyright conspiracy, racketeering and money-laundering allegedly carried out by his file-sharing company, Megaupload.
It’s an interesting move. Does that signify concern over whether the criminal case will succeed, or was this always planned?
Dotcom is specifically named in the suit, under his most famous name as well as Kim Schmitz and Kim Tim Jim Vestor.
Kim Tim Jim Vestor???
According to the Government’s indictment, the site reported more than $175 million (NZ$203.4m) in … proceeds and cost US copyright owners more than half a billion dollars.
The studios allege Megaupload paid users based on how many times the content was downloaded by others. But the studios allege the site didn’t pay at all until that content was downloaded 10,000 times.
This is a key detail in both the criminal and civil lawsuits. Other file-sharing websites do not pay people based on how many downloads they get for content they upload. This is how they allege they incentivised copyright infringement, rather than just provided a file sharing platform (such as the new Mega).
This does not mean the lawsuits will be successful. But it is a key factor in why Megaupload was targeted, and not other file-sharing sites. If someone can earn say $10,000 by uploading the latest movie release, well that is a pretty good incentive to do so.