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New Study Says Shutting Down Megaupload Increased Digital Movie Sales Worldwide

By | Thursday March 7, 2013 @ 10:07am PST

Notorious cyberlocker Megaupload was shuttered on January 19, 2012 and a pair of U.S. researchers says that in the 18 weeks following, there was a 6-10% increase in digital movie revenues across 12 countries. Using data from two anonymous Hollywood majors, the academics put together a just-released study titled: Gone In 60 Seconds: The Impact Of The Megaupload Shutdown On Movie Sales. The findings are based on online rentals and purchases in the U.S., the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Austria, Ireland and Canada. The researchers notably found that in those territories where pre-shutdown usage was higher – like Spain – there were larger increases in digital sales and rentals post-shutdown. They estimate that across the two studios, 18 weeks and 12 countries, weekly rental units increased by 13,700 to 24,000 due to the Megaupload shutdown and that weekly digital sales units jumped 10,500 to 15,300. “We conclude that shutting down Megaupload and [sister site] Megavideo caused some customers to shift from cyberlocker-based piracy to purchasing or renting through legal digital channels,” said Wellesley assistant professor of economics Brett Danaher and Carnegie Mellon professor of information technology and marketing Michael D. Smith, who conducted the study. Smith is also co-director of the Initiative for Digital Entertainment Analytics at Carnegie Mellon which was created late last year through an unrestricted gift from the MPAA. However, Smith tells me that no MPAA money was … Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Jackie Chan, Sky TVNZ, Kim Dotcom

By | Monday March 4, 2013 @ 12:15am PST

Jackie Chan Ridiculed In Hong Kong For Pro-China Stance
Hong Kong action icon Jackie Chan faces a backlash in his hometown for joining China’s top political advisory body. Hong Kong remains suspicious of the mainland and many believe Chan was selected to appear at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference because of his visibility. Professor Sonny Ho, co-director at the Centre for Greater China Studies, describes the conference’s “united front” strategy as a campaign to promote a strong and peaceful homeland, unified with Taiwan. China’s growing clout has seen actors from Hong Kong and Macau drafted into patriotic movies that glorify the country’s past including the early Communist Party era. Chan’s appointment to the conference met derision online for his pro-Beijing stances such as calling for limits on the right to protest. Read More »

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Megaupload Search Warrants Invalidated But Extradition Of Kim Dotcom May Proceed

By | Friday June 29, 2012 @ 12:02am PDT

A New Zealand judge has ruled that search warrants used to seize evidence in the Megaupload case were illegally broad and vague. Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom still faces a battle to avoid extradition to the U.S. but the search warrant ruling likely weakened the case, legal experts told Reuters today. The invalidated warrants included those that permitted the search of Dotcom’s home and the seizure of computer hard drives. The court also ruled the FBI’s copying of evidence and sending it to the U.S. was unlawful. The case is the FBI’s highest profile action against global copyright theft. Regarding the extradition of Dotcom, an authority on New Zealand law said there may still be enough evidence to convince a court to allow extradition. Dotcom was one of four men arrested during a dramatic January raid on his estate outside Auckland. Prosecutors allege Dotcom is the ringleader of a global piracy ring that has illegally copied and distribed music, movies and other copyrighted content. Dotcom’s lawyers say Megaupload only provided online storage.

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Megaupload Copyright Case Could Hinge On Issue Of Jurisdiction: Report

By | Friday April 20, 2012 @ 9:55pm PDT

The federal criminal copyright case against Megaupload founder Kim DotCom in the United States may never go to trial because although DotCom has been served with court papers, his file-sharing company hasn’t, according to a New Zealand newspaper’s coverage of the case in the U.S. Federal judge Liam O’Grady said he didn’t know if “we are ever going to have a trial in this matter” after he was informed Megaupload had not been served with criminal papers. Dotcom’s U.S.-based attorneyIra Rothken said “We don’t believe Megaupload can be Kim DotComserved in a criminal matter because it is not located within the jurisdiction of the United States.” Prosecutor Jay Prabhu told the Virginia court hearing that might not matter because Dotcom owned 68% of the company. Instead of a corporation that might show up for a trial, Prabu suggested it was a case “seven people who actually don’t want to show up.” Dotcom faces a court hearing for extradition to the United States after a warrant was issued for him and six others on criminal copyright charges relating to music and movies on its computer servers. O’Grady raised the possible lack of a trial during arguments over FBI applications to wipe Megaupload’s vast database of members’ files. O’Grady said those motions to erase  the data on 1100 computer servers seized from Megaupload could be “premature” and requested more information on why Megaupload … Read More »

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MegaUpload Asset Seizure “Null And Void”

By | Sunday March 18, 2012 @ 1:14pm PDT

New Zealand authorities may be forced to return millions of dollars in personal property of MegaUpload founder Kim DotCom that was seized in connection with his January arrest because of a procedural error in court documents, according to the New Zealand Herald. Luxury cars, cash and other property were seized under a specific type of court order which should never have been granted, a judge ruled late last week, declaring the order “null and void” and having “no legal effect.” Police arrested DotCom on January 19 at his mansion outside Auckland at the request of the United States government. U.S officials allege he is the mastermind of a criminal enterprise designed to facilitate massive theft of movies, TV shows and music. Police and government officials acknowledge making the embarrassing “procedural error” in documents filed to authorize seizure of DotCom’s assets. Unless his attorneys can prove authorities acted in bad faith, however, Dotcom isn’t necessarily guaranteed to get his property back. Seizure of those assets have crippled DotCom’s financial ability to fight the charges and his extradition to the U.S., but he was released on bail about a month after his arrest.

Related: MPAA Cheers Federal Assault on MegaUpload

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