Pirate Parties rally MegaUpload users for potential joint lawsuit against “unjustified” closure of file-sharing site
The legal backlash against the FBI’s closure of MegaUpload began last night as the Pirates de Catalunya (PP-Cat), the Spanish arm of Pirate Parties International (PPI), launched a collective civil action on behalf of legitimate users of the cyberlocker.
PP-Cat states that the actions taken by the US government were “unjustified and completely disproportionate to the aim intended” and has begun investigating breaches of law with the help of other international Pirate Parties include the Pirate Party UK (PPUK).
Intruding on personal rights
The political group claims that the closure of MegaUpload caused vast personal and economic damage to millions of people by denying them access to archives of individuals and organisations. The statement goes on to claim that the FBI may have violated Articles 197 and 198 of the Spanish Penal Code by misappropriating personal data.
“This initiative is a starting point for legitimate internet users to help defend themselves from the legal abuses promoted by those wishing to aggressively lock away cultural materials for their own financial gain,” they said. “Regardless of ideology, or opinions on the legality or morality of those running MegaUpload, actions such as the closure of this service cause huge damage to lawful users of the sites and are unacceptable and disproportionate violations of their rights.”
Whilst the campaign will help channel complaints to the US government for those who lost files last week, getting a satisfactory response from the US government may still prove a challenge.
“MegaUpload.com expressly informed users through its Frequently Asked Questions (‘FAQs’) and its Terms of Service that users have no proprietary interest in any of the files on MegaUpload’s servers, they assume the full risk of complete loss or unavailability of their data, and that MegaUpload can terminate site operations without prior notice,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Justice soon after the closure of MegaUpload.
However, even if files cannot be regained, the legality of shutting down the site will remain an issue as Pirate Parties International seek to establish further violations of international law.
“We believe that the rights of ordinary people are being ignored by those intent on maintaining a flawed business model via excessive legislation,” said Andrew Robinson, Pirate Party UK Culture, Media and Sports Spokesperson. “We believe that unjust laws like SOPA, PIPA and now ACTA must be fought, and that ordinary internet users should have legal recourse against the copyright lobby.”