How Hollywood uses Megaupload - Macleans.ca
 

How Hollywood uses Megaupload

Kim Dotcom’s service saves a lot of headaches to the movie industry


 

Kim Dotcom (Brett Phibbs/AP Photo/New Zealand Herald)

Kim Dotcom, the indicted Megaupload tycoon, has some news about his accusers: they’re also his customers. The defiant Dotcom (real name, Kim Shmitz) lobs some grenades back at his attackers in an interview with the filesharing news site Torrentfreak. Among other claims, he insists that many movie industry employees were paying him for online file storage. So, while the Motion Picture Association of America was lobbying the U.S. Government to pursue criminal action against Megaupload, employees of its member companies were using Megaupload to, well, mega upload (and, one assumes, to mega download).

There’s little doubt that Dotcom’s claims are true. As anyone who works in media can tell you, moving around gigantic files is still a mega pain. Email attachments are usually capped at 10-30 megs. When people in creative fields need to share large, uncompressed audio,video, and photography files, cloud services like Megaupload come in very handy. This lends support to Dotcom’s argument that Megaupload has many legitimate uses and is not simply a piracy enabler.

Yet I suspect that if the accounts of these industry clients were scrutinized, you’d find no shortage of illicit file sharing going on within studio walls as well. I’m not saying that movie industry folks are pirating for personal use (heaven forbid). I’m suggesting (or rather, I’m letting you know) that in a field where people need to watch movies and television episodes regularly for professional reasons, piracy is simply the quickest way of doing so.

When a producer needs to see an actor’s last performance for casting reasons, they can send their intern out to to pick up a DVD, or they can just download it. If a producer needs to familiarize their writers with an obscure British sitcom for reference purposes (so they can swipe from it), they either order three sets of the first season through Amazon and wait, or they can just have their assistant burn some discs. If the stuff is on Netflix or iTunes, they’ll pay for it, and why not? It’s not their money. But if it isn’t available legitimately in an accessible and sharable format, no one will stand on ceremony. The show must go on.

I know that this happens because I’ve seen it happen. I’ve known employees of entertainment companies who download torrents of videos that they’ve produced themselves!

I ‘m drawing on a handful of personal experiences, but it would be interesting to see Kim Dotcom prove that this occurs regularly. Has it become standard industry procedure? Imagine if Hollywood was using filesharing technology for the same practical reasons we all do: not because they love stealing, but because they hate waiting for tiered release dates, hate waiting for ads and previews to end, and hate wading through digital locks that make sharing content difficult.

Jesse Brown is the host of TVO.org’s Search Engine podcast. He is on Twitter @jessebrown


 

How Hollywood uses Megaupload

  1. Until other countries say NO to the US, these things will continue to happen.

    NZ had no business raiding this man’s home and arresting him and confiscating everything he owns.

    The UK has no business sending their citizens to US prisons for things that aren’t illegal in the UK.

    It should be made clear to the US that they don’t run the world.

    • I’m afraid they won’t listen to stuff like that. Besides, if they didn’t go through with the arrest, the US would’ve made false accusations of them supporting piracy.

      •  Surely these govts can stand up for themselves instead of selling out their own citizens.

        •  They can, but they’re afraid to.

  2. I’m more interested in the users that work in government who’ve used the site. That revelation will be very, very interesting… and should cause a lot of heads to roll.

    • What makes this interesting? More importantly, how do you envision finding this out? How does using cloud based storage automatically equal some form of guilt?

      • What makes it interesting will be seeing which pols are hypocrites publicly railing against Megaupload, and any other service that allows transferring large files, while using it themselves. Or even if a staffer of some pro-RIAA Senator is found to have been an active user, that will damage the credibility of both.

        Finding it out will come from Kim Dotcom, he’s said he has a list of government users, and I’ve no reason not to believe him.

        I don’t think I inferred that using cloud based storage equates to being guilty of anything, except hypocrisy for certain people. It’s the US Government that deemed the site to be such a haven for thieves that the Obama administration didn’t just shut the site down, or fine the owners, they actually confiscated all the data, legit and non-legit, and are refusing to return it to its rightful owners.

        • His list of government users, from what I’ve heard, is more bureaucrats than politicians. DOD sending large files between bases. Various other departments between offices and roaming workers. Intergovernmental documents too large for email, but too important to wait for an overnight delivery.

  3. I don’t know why this would come as such a big surprise to anyone. The only people who are so outraged by sites like these are the entertainment executives who stand to lose the most from it. Oh, and self-important legal zealots.