January 22, 2012
Browsing On A Sunday: Megaupload, Banning Sex Offenders From Libraries, And Better World Books
The fallout from the Megaupload seizure by the U.S. government continues. The immediate reaction saw denial of service attacks on web sites the Department of Justice and media giant Universal earlier last week. Additional attacks continued through the weekend taking down Universal Music again, and all of CBS. The latter lost all files on its web server as hackers gained root access to the site and erased everything. The site was down for 20 minutes. That may not sound like much, but dealing with that situation isn’t exactly a casual set of circumstances for a web master.
File sharing service FileSonic reacted by disabling file sharing completely on its site. The only individuals who can download files at this time are the ones that uploaded them originally. Some reports indicate the site is deleting files and accounts. Customers of FileSonic are in a slightly better position than those of Megaupload. At least FileSonic users can get their files from the site. Legitimate users of Megaupload, that is, those not using the site to share illegal content can’t get to their files.
One point that seems to be lost in the press is the possibility that the United States government has access to customer accounts and transaction records from Megaupload. That information would be useful for other infringement prosecutions against individuals, or possibly in civil actions by media companies in the case of pirated material. This kind of information can provide a more solid link between an individual and content compared to tracking torrents. I wonder if it will get that far.
One other bit of related news is that famed attorney Robert Bennett will not be representing Megalupload in the criminal case after all. He had signed on earlier but is forced to disqualify himself on a conflict of interest involving another, unnamed, client. Megaupload is still putting its legal team together.
The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that sex offenders have First Amendment rights that allow them access to public libraries. The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico issued an administrative order in 2009 that barred access to libraries by registered sex offenders. An affected individual brought suit with representation by the ACLU. The case has an unusual procedural posture. The District Court granted summary judgment to the plaintiff as the city believed it had no burden to answer the motion, and thus, provided no evidence. The Court of Appeals agreed that the city had to respond and upheld the grant of summary judgment.
The Court said the procedural aspects of the case guided its ruling. It noted that the problem of sex offenders having a high rate of recidivism is real and suggested that the city try again to create a ban that was narrowly tailored to address the problem. The case is John Doe v. City of Albuquerque (10-2102, January 20, 2012). The 44 page opinion is here.
And finally, word comes via press release that Better World Books is partnering with Ingram to use funding from the sale of surplus books as a credit with Ingram.
All libraries that work with Ingram can participate in the program, and registering for the service is easy. Better World Books coordinates pick up of surplus materials and lists items for sale. A percentage of each sale is remitted to Ingram and a non-profit literacy agency selected by each library. The proceeds of the sale are credited to individual library accounts by Ingram for use on new materials. Items that do not sell are donated or recycled.
Disclosure: My library partners with Better World Books as a way to extend the life of books that we no longer need. [MG]
Hey, I just learned my 18 year old son downloaded a few music albums from megaupload last year. Should I be concerned about the Justice Department pressing charges against him and seek legal council for him now or am I just giving myself an ulcer over nothing? Have a pleasant evening and thanks in advance.
Posted by: A concerned parent | Jan 22, 2012 8:15:54 PM