Digital piracy legislation must consider legitimate file sharers

The downfall of Megaupload has opened up another debate about the copying and sharing of files in the face of legislation like SOPA and other initiatives.

While Hollywood and most of the entertainment world will rightfully want a solution to stop digital piracy, legislation currently does not exist that stringently takes down offending websites. However, the problem with taking action against sites that are violating copyright is that there are many users who use these services for legitimate use. What happens when sites like Megaupload get taken offline for good? As we can see in today’s report via AP, the 150 million + members of Megaupload would appear to have no choice in the matter as to what happens to their data. This intellectual property, created individually or in groups has been transferred through the website, and stored remotely.

Now that Megaupload is shut down, the data centres storing user files (Carpathia Hosting and Cogent Communications Group) may decide to delete legitimate content. This poses a problem for legislation because if web users are duped into using a service that has illegal content, would it not be wise to allow a recovery process for data that is legitimate, stored by 3rd parties?

It is clear that web legislation is still in its early days, and from what we’ve seen so far, it is fundamentally flawed. There are so many aspects of content, intellectual property rights and freedom of information that finding the right balance to suit all parties will not be easy. At least those who created unique digital content on Megaupload should be given the chance to take back their data.

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