Copyrights and wrongs: Megaupload evolves, record $1.5 million piracy award

It’s been a little while, but we’ve got your copyright news right here:

• First, remember Megaupload? It’s coming back smaller than ever. Well, at least in name: It’s coming back as Mega. Kim Dotcom, founder of the file-sharing site that was taken down by the U.S. government over piracy accusations earlier this year, is awaiting a decision on his extradition from New Zealand to the United States. But he’s been busy, and plans to launch Mega on January 20, a year after his arrest.

Megaupload had celebrity endorsers — recording artists once appeared in a promotional video for the site — and Dotcom has celebrity supporters, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. (See Quoted: Woz on Kim Dotcom and copyright enforcement.)

Dotcom says Mega will avoid the fate of its predecessor site because encryption methods will allow only uploading users to see details of their files. “The new Mega avoids any dealings with U.S. hosters, U.S. domains and U.S. backbone providers and has changed the way it operates to avoid another takedown,” Dotcom told the BBC. Megabox, another Dotcom production, was announced in June. It aims to let artists sell their music directly to consumers.

In September, New Zealand apologized for illegal tactics used in the January raid of and seizure of items from Dotcom’s house. (See Quoted: apologizing to Mr. Dotcom.)

• And here’s a whopper: A Virginia man has been ordered by an Illinois federal court to pay $1.5 million for sharing 10 movies on BitTorrent. Yes, that works out to $150,000 per movie Kywan Fisher shared, reportedly the largest damages award in a BitTorrent case. From TorrentFreak: The movies — which were of the adult-entertainment variety — went on to be shared thousands of times after Fisher uploaded them, according to their maker, Flava Works.


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