FBI: Megaupload wanted to copy YouTube videos in 2006

The FBI's indictment against the Megaupload file sharing web site contains, as we reported earlier today, what the FBI claims is private email and Skype IM conversations between Megaupload team members. In viewing the 72 page indictment online, the FBI shows some of the correspondence includes team members talking about copying YouTube files back in 2006, before YouTube was acquired by Google.

One of the emails, dated April 2006, cited in the document from Megaupload team member Bram van der Kolk says, "Do we have a server available to continue downloading of the Youtube’s vids? … Kim just mentioned again that this has really priority." Kim is, of course, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom.

In a later email, van der Kolk states, "Well we only have 30% of their videos yet. In my opinion it's nice to have everything so we can descide and brainstorm later how we're going to benefit from it."

Megaupload's attorney Ira Rothken told News.com, "We believe the indictment is both wrong on the facts and wrong on the law. We will not comment on the specifics of the indictment we will save that for the court of law."

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Make youtube a pay per view lol imagine paying 1 dollar to watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH8eRff9DCs

Anyway there are laws that exist for anyone to sue anyone for infringing on private property. If someone steals your goods, sue'em. It's the lawful thing to do so long as you own 100% of the material. Can't pay the crime, don't do the time... or good time for a dime...

on page 30 at the bottom:

On or about April 10, 2006, ORTMANN sent an e-mail to VAN DERKOLK in reply to the “fraud detection” message indicating “Even if they did, the usefulness of their non-popular videos as a jumpstart for Megavideo is limited, in my opinion.”l.

On or about April 10, 2006, VAN DER KOLK sent an e-mail toORTMANN in reply to the “jumpstart for Megavideo” message indicating that “Well we onlyhave 30% of their videos yet.. In my opinion it's nice to have everything so we can descide andbrainstorm later how we're going to benefit from it.”

have a read of the indictment, very interesting stuff!

so basically they wanted copy what ebaum's world did? Nice to know that site is still running and they basically started the trend of ripping videos...

I suppose copying a video from youtube is not illegal as long as you dont distribute it to others without permission of the author ( or PLAN to distribute it, which is clearly the intention here). Although if copying youtubes videos involves circumventing security measures, then it would be illegal too.

I dont get how there are some people at neowin very antipiracy to the point where they would criminalize end users for the most stupid things. The industry tried, and they failed.

As for megaupload, they had it coming and it's just history repeating itself. They were knowingly hosting copyrighted works, apparently FBI have proof that they didnt give two fcks about takedown/DCMA notices, and they made 200 million dollars out of it. I think we can all see the crime there.a

What if the videos they wanted to download were not copyrighted material? They never say if they have copyrighted or non copyrighted videos.

Xenon said,
What if the videos they wanted to download were not copyrighted material? They never say if they have copyrighted or non copyrighted videos.

They download a third of youtube. Its safe to say there was copyrighted videos. The more we hear about megaupload, the more stupid they sound.

Crender said,
They download a third of youtube. Its safe to say there was copyrighted videos.

Well, considering that about two thirds of youtube videos infringe copyright in one way or another…

Crender said,

They download a third of youtube. Its safe to say there was copyrighted videos. The more we hear about megaupload, the more stupid they sound.


That cannot be said for sure. There is a lot of legitimate content on YouTube, there is no way to say if they downloaded the legal or illegal content.
But, it's obvious they'd want to use it to their own benefit, which would in fact be illegal regardless if the YouTube content was legal or not - they don't own licenses necessary to benefit from the content in any way.

Technically when you watch a youtube video it is cached on your computer. So you are acquiring a copy every time you watch one if even for only a few minutes. So if you then accidentally copied and pasted that file somewhere else on your computer before it got deleted that wouldn't really be your fault.

Obviously this is illegal because it is planned, but just saying....

Crender said,
Technically when you watch a youtube video it is cached on your computer. So you are acquiring a copy every time you watch one if even for only a few minutes. So if you then accidentally copied and pasted that file somewhere else on your computer before it got deleted that wouldn't really be your fault.

Obviously this is illegal because it is planned, but just saying....

Yes but you also see an advertisement that pays for you viewing it.

Crender said,
Technically when you watch a youtube video it is cached on your computer. So you are acquiring a copy every time you watch one if even for only a few minutes. So if you then accidentally copied and pasted that file somewhere else on your computer before it got deleted that wouldn't really be your fault.

Obviously this is illegal because it is planned, but just saying....

Much of the law hinges around intent. For example, this very case is based around proving that MegaUpload had the intent to distribute/profit from copyright theft. If the intent can't be proven then they will likely be safe under the DMCA safe harbour provisions.

What they are not realizing is that for example... there is a situation where it is legal... someone has a video hosted on youtube , however the number of viewers is lagging up youtube... then that owner can just send them a link to copy the video off youtube instead of the person having to upload it twice..... That is a legal situation where nothing was wrong with doing that... (but people automatically ASsume the alternative.)

Yeah, that totally legitimizes what they were doing. I bet they even kept all that copyrighted material just to have a backup in case iTunes, Hulu, or the other legal providers were lagging.

Those guys sure were great people, with the best of intentions

giantpotato said,
Yeah, that totally legitimizes what they were doing. I bet they even kept all that copyrighted material just to have a backup in case iTunes, Hulu, or the other legal providers were lagging.

Those guys sure were great people, with the best of intentions

That is the whole point-- that most users fail to understand--
When you agree to use that service-- It stipulated "you agree not to upload copy-written material and that you the user assumes responsibility."

I wrote about a scenario where legality becomes into question....

Two people -- Hosted on big server (lets say MegaUpload)
One shows videos of daughters dance recital... (totally legitimate) so that extended family can view.
Some guy decides to upload(fictitious name) MOST POPULAR TV SHOW OR MOVIE.
THE SITE GETS SHUT DOWN-- now Dancing Recital GUY now has lost all material... while Popular TV Guy just moves to a different site.

This will raise into question-- (which depending on how the lawyers portray it)
Are clickable agreements, TOS (terms of Service) legitimate?
That is what I can see is the main defense they can plea... We just hosted what other people uploaded... and paid a portion of advertising back to the client and used the rest to maintain the system.....

The sad part is -- kind of like with all those file-share programs--
One will grow back to take its place and will take time to mature itself into the quality the one it replaced.

I was being sarcastic, I'm not sure if that came across. They knowingly kept copyright materials on their server even after being told to remove them. They knowingly committed copyright infringement. It doesn't matter what the users were doing.

so he wanted to "benefit" aka with money from videos he took from youtube from users that will get nothing from them (i dont think youtube had a pay out system at that time?)

littleneutrino said,
who cares if they were copying youtube videos?

Copying YouTube videos would be copyright infringement. Redistributing them would be the very type of infringement that they are on trial for... So I guess the court cares... Or have you been living under a rock regarding this case?

_Heracles said,
I don't see anything wrong with this

Most people today don't seem to care about stealing anymore. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised by your comment.

Frazell Thomas said,

Most people today don't seem to care about stealing anymore. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised by your comment.


YouTube videos are free to view.

Frazell Thomas said,

Most people today don't seem to care about stealing anymore. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised by your comment.

yeah I am getting so sick of people saying there is nothing wrong with taking other peoples content, as a software dev, it makes me mad seeing people taking other peoples ideas and making them worthless interms of what they could of made off the idea... it is still theft! its still money someone could of made

_Heracles said,

YouTube videos are free to view.

When hosted by YouTube, yes. Just like over-the-air television shows are free to view: certain circumstances apply.

Wait, do you really not understand how content ownership works? YouTube isn't an open license, open sharing, do-as-you-like sort of site. You upload something, there are terms and conditions.

_Heracles said,
I don't see anything wrong with this

don't see anything wrong with it either. think FBI is stuck in 2006. Nowadays it's very easy to copy youtube video's in mass if you wanted to. except those that are copy protected. if FBI wanted to have a case, they might have been able to prove this in 2006 but they are 6 yrs out of date. hell the idea probably was dumped. So we have a conversation with Gov of WI scott walker about illegal activities in an email right now from last year and he's not in jail?? corrupt FBI

neufuse said,

yeah I am getting so sick of people saying there is nothing wrong with taking other peoples content, as a software dev, it makes me mad seeing people taking other peoples ideas and making them worthless interms of what they could of made off the idea... it is still theft! its still money someone could of made

you know there is two licenses now on youtube right? I always sign my youtube off as free use. I expect no money for my fun on youtube. Some unfortunately are greedy.

PatrynXX said,

you know there is two licenses now on youtube right? I always sign my youtube off as free use. I expect no money for my fun on youtube. Some unfortunately are greedy.

Since when did wanting to make money become greedy? Since you think people shouldn't be paid for the work they do, you must work for free, live in a free shelter, probably using free internet, etc. Saying people are greedy for wanting to make money off of their work is a very ignorant statement to make.

PatrynXX said,

you know there is two licenses now on youtube right? I always sign my youtube off as free use. I expect no money for my fun on youtube. Some unfortunately are greedy.

Some people actually put effort into their videos because other people see value in them. These people put in that effort because they have potential to make money.

It's not greed, it's reality. If I'm a mechanic for example and I have taken to making professional quality videos to help people do work on their own cars would you prefer that I could quit my day job and spend all day making videos to help the highest amount of people, or make a video every 2 months in my spare time?

neufuse said,

yeah I am getting so sick of people saying there is nothing wrong with taking other peoples content, as a software dev, it makes me mad seeing people taking other peoples ideas and making them worthless interms of what they could of made off the idea... it is still theft! its still money someone could of made

Taking implies removing the original.

I don't see an issue with this either, People download youtube videos all the time, in reality the only ones i think should directly financially benefit from this is Google themselves in terms of their bandwitdh and server costs.

But it's nice that they're also allowing people to share in the ad revenue.

_Heracles said,

YouTube videos are free to view.

The articles on cnn.com are free to view too. Doesn't mean I can go start my own site and steal all their articles for my own profit.

FISKER_Q said,

Taking implies removing the original.


Does it? Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure that I can't come up with half a dozen examples on the spot of common English usage of the word 'take' in scenarios where an original isn't removed?

Take only implies having something you didn't have before. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the original owner.

Joshie said,
Take only implies having something you didn't have before. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the original owner.

I'll take your word for it. Now according to Fisker, you don't have your word anymore, lol.

FISKER_Q said,

Taking implies removing the original.

I don't see an issue with this either, People download youtube videos all the time, in reality the only ones i think should directly financially benefit from this is Google themselves in terms of their bandwitdh and server costs.

But it's nice that they're also allowing people to share in the ad revenue.

Which Google would be the offending party in this specific case. By copying all of the content from Youtube, MegaUpload was trying to get users to go to their site for everything instead of Youtube which steals revenue from Google. Their intent was to get people to not use Youtube.

Let's look at this as Microsoft and Google. Microsoft had MSN Videos which they were trying to compete against Youtube after Google bought it. They never could get people to use it because the content wasn't the same and Youtube was already becoming a brand people knew. So if Microsoft had copied all the content, they would have been able to convince people that their site was worth using, but it never grew that much.

Content is king.

Enron said,

I'll take your word for it. Now according to Fisker, you don't have your word anymore, lol.

^^I LOLed at that. Nice pun

Enron said,

I'll take your word for it. Now according to Fisker, you don't have your word anymore, lol.

Dammit! Ah well, sometimes you've just gotta take one for the team.

Enron said,

I'll take your word for it. Now according to Fisker, you don't have your word anymore, lol.

Ok, point taken

libertas83 said,

Which Google would be the offending party in this specific case. By copying all of the content from Youtube, MegaUpload was trying to get users to go to their site for everything instead of Youtube which steals revenue from Google. Their intent was to get people to not use Youtube.

Let's look at this as Microsoft and Google. Microsoft had MSN Videos which they were trying to compete against Youtube after Google bought it. They never could get people to use it because the content wasn't the same and Youtube was already becoming a brand people knew. So if Microsoft had copied all the content, they would have been able to convince people that their site was worth using, but it never grew that much.

Content is king.

Speculative, the only thing you can say for certain is that they downloaded a lot of youtube content for themselves (Which i find nothing wrong in), and they plan to do something with it for their own benefit. (Which i also don't find anything wrong in).

Now the fact of the matter is that at no point have they redistributed this content, so coming with claims that they're stealing content is pretty speculative in my opinion.

Google found a way to download the entire internet and use it for search engines, for all you know MegaUpload could've wanted to index every youtube movie for a better search engine.

Maybe they wanted to index all the movies for historical purposes, in case the site ever shut down, and that was a pretty real problem before Google took over, have they even been able to break even on Youtube yet?