Popular filesharing site Megaupload.com, ranked 179 in India on Alexa, has been shut down by the United States and its domain name seized, following a court order by a US District Court (via Wired). Megaupload was also one of the sites blocked in India when the Indian courts issued ‘John Doe’ orders, allowing copyright owners to get any potential file-sharing site on a preemptive basis, despite their being no infringement.
We tried and Megaupload.com is not working, and a message on MegaUpload.org website reads: “This domain name associated with the website Megaupload.com has been seized pursuant to an order issued by the U.S. District Court.”
Why this should matter to you (in India) is because this is just another instance of US agencies shuttering external sites, and that the United States still controls the Internet through ICANN. For example, last year, a domain name seizure by the US Department of Homeland Security had shut 84,000 websites. Another seizure had shut a Spanish website declared legal in Spain. SOPA and PIPA, the two US laws that still haven’t been passed, essentially codify the US control over the Internet, and bypass the safe harbor that the DMCA provided: they allow the US government to block access to user generated content sites through ISPs, stop search engines from linking to them, advertising networks and payment processing firms from transferring money to them, or even stop sites from linking to potentially infringing content, and thus exercise control over websites which are out of the jurisdiction of the United States. That means that the US government can block an Indian site.
This lends credence to India’s proposal for setting up a United Nation Committee for Internet-Related Policies (UN CRP).