Kim Dotcom’s Mega ‘not being used for wide-scale copyright infringement’

Kim Dotcom may be seen as a villainous pirate-king by the creative industries, but his Mega cloud storage service is attracting white-collar professionals, according to its chief executive Vikram Kumar.

“The segment that seems to be most interested in Mega, and in paying for space, security and privacy tends to be professionals,” Kumar told the Copyright and Technology conference in London this morning, beaming in for his keynote interview via Skype.

“Accountants, lawyers, financial advisers, architects… These are people that want to use the internet, are concerned that their confidential client information may get compromised, and who are willing to pay for security and privacy online.”

Dotcom launched Mega in January 2013, a year after his previous company MegaUpload was taken down after a police raid. He recruited telecoms exec Kumar in February as CEO of the new company, leaving Dotcom to continue fighting US charges of criminal copyright infringement, while working on a digital music service called Baboom.

Kumar was keen to stress Mega’s credentials as a law-abiding service. “The simplest explanation of Mega, particularly for those people who’ve used Dropbox is that its a secure and faster Dropbox,” he said. “It’s essentially a cloud storage company, but in the future it wants to become more of a cloud collaboration and communication company.”

He also stressed that the service, which has 5m customers so far, is currently attracting a very small number of copyright takedown notices from rightsholders. “Mega has on average about 2-3m files uploaded each day, and we get around 100 takedown notices for alleged copyright infringement every day,” he said.

“That’s a very very small number for any online service provider. In comparison, YouTube gets 15m takedown requests every month, so the numbers tell us that Mega is not being used for wide-scale copyright infringement.”

One of Mega’s main selling points is its end-to-end encryption technology, with the company promising users that since their files are encrypted on their devices before being uploaded, Mega never sees the decrypted versions – and nobody does unless the uploader gives them the decryption key.

The obvious question is whether this is the real reason Mega gets so few takedown requests: copyright owners can’t see infringing files being shared on the service if they don’t have the keys, unlike the technologies and partners they use to detect infringement on other online services?

Kumar suggested that if rightsholders’ main concern is their music, films or TV shows being shared, they’ll still be able to spot this infringement, since it requires decryption keys to be shared publicly. However, he added that Mega intends to crack down on external search engines claiming to index files stored on the service.

“Let’s be quite clear: Mega doesn’t want that happening. We don’t think search indexes or anything that encourages copyright infringement or illegal use of the service should exist,” he said.

“We don’t want those websites out there, and to the extend that we can do anything about it, if they’re using ‘Mega’ in a way that conveys the impression to people that it’s linked to the company, we are able to take action either for trademark violation, passing off or fraud.”

Mega Vikram Kumar
Mega CEO Vikram Kumar Skyped in for his Copyright and Technology interview

Mega isn’t planning to add features that could be seen either as facilitating copyright infringement, or which would require licensing deals with copyright owners: for example, the ability for people to stream music or films directly from their Mega storage, even if they own them.

“We are quite clear that we don’t want to have files that are uploaded stored and that can be streamed as an audio or video from Mega, because that’s not Mega’s purpose,” he said.

Kumar criticised rightsholders for their approach to copyright takedowns with other companies, suggesting that the automated nature of both sending takedown notices (for rightsholders) and acting on them (for services like YouTube) leaves the process open to false positives.

“There are a large number of copyright notices being sent that would truly not stand up to scrutiny in a court of law,” he said. “Most service providers are so afraid, they act on every copyright notice. So I think there is a fair amount of files being taken down which, if they were examined individually, would not stand up to scrutiny as meeting the bar for takedown.”

Kumar hinted at big plans ahead for Mega to provide storage for other web services, apps and even consumer electronics devices, citing the example of an unnamed manufacturer that’s using Mega as the cloud storage provider for its connected TVs.

“It has no storage, it has no place to keep any files. So what they do: the apps connect with Mega in the back-end, for storage,” he said.

“If you have a digital video recorder, which time-shifts recordings, the TV can’t store the time-shifted recordings anywhere, so it stores them on Mega’s cloud storage, and pulls them down whenever it needs it.”

Kumar smiled at a follow-up question on how pay-TV providers might respond to this kind of feature, if it starts to disintermediate their own services and hardware.

“I think there’s a lot of industries that have got disintermediated by the internet and cloud systems,” he said. “There hasn’t been that much shakeup in the TV industry. I see that coming in the next 2-3 years. Am I concerned? Probably not. As a customer, I would enjoy that.”

Kim Dotcom’s Mega ‘not being used for wide-scale copyright infringement‘ – The Guardian
copyright infringement news – Google News… Read the rest

Kim Dotcom might sue Twitter, Google and Facebook over copyright infringement

Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom. File photo via AFP.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said Thursday he was considering taking legal action against tech giants such as Twitter, Google and Facebook for infringing copyright on a security measure he invented.

Dotcom, who is on bail in New Zealand as US authorities seek his extradition in the world’s biggest copyright case, said he invented “two-factor authentication”, which many major sites have adopted as a security feature.

Twitter became the latest major player to introduce the measure on Wednesday following a series of cyber-attacks which saw hackers take over the accounts of high-profile targets such as media organizations and send out fake tweets.

“Twitter introduces Two-Step-Authentication. Using my invention. But they won’t even verify my Twitter account?!,” Dotcom tweeted.

“Google, Facebook, Twitter, Citibank, etc. offer Two-Step-Authentication. Massive IP (intellectual property) infringement by U.S. companies. My innovation. My patent,” he added.

To back his claim, the 39-year-old posted a US patent describing the authentication process filed in 1998 by Kim Schmitz — Dotcom’s name before he legally changed it — and published in 2000.

Dotcom said he had never sought to enforce copyright on his invention but was now reconsidering in light of the US case accusing him of masterminding massive online piracy through his now-defunct Megaupload file-sharing site.

“I never sued them. I believe in sharing knowledge & ideas for the good of society. But I might sue them now cause of what the U.S. did to me,” he said.

However, he said a more productive approach would be if the tech giants helped cover his legal bills to fight prosecution under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA), which he estimated would exceed US$50 million.

“Google, Facebook, Twitter, I ask you for help. We are all in the same DMCA boat. Use my patent for free. But please help fund my defense,” he tweeted.

“All of our assets are still frozen without trial. Defending our case will cost US$50M+. I want to fight to the end because we are innocent.”

The authentication process works by sending a text message containing a verification code to the user’s mobile phone when they login, which must be entered to gain access to the account.

The US Justice Department and FBI want Dotcom to face charges of racketeering, fraud, money-laundering and copyright theft in a US court, which could see him jailed for up to 20 years.

He denies US allegations the Megaupload sites netted more than US$175 million in criminal proceeds and cost copyright owners more than US$500 million by offering pirated copies of movies, TV shows and other content.

The German national is free on bail ahead of an extradition hearing scheduled for August and launched a successor to Megaupload called Mega in January this year.


Kim Dotcom might sue Twitter, Google and Facebook over copyright infringement – Raw Story

copyright infringement news – Google News… Read the rest