Barrett, Devlin (2011, Jan 28-29). Retaliation Fears Spur Anonymity in Internet Case. The Wall Street Journal, p. A3.
Paraphrase: Officials have been keeping their names out of press accounts after the government shut down the website Megaupload.com
"charging company officials with violations of copyright law. Those people have denied the allegations."
The explanation for why the government would actually fear retaliation heads the story. It is an example: a government official investigating Wikileaks was subject to a privacy invasion purportedly launched by Anonymous. Apparently, Anonymous subscribed the person's email address to a pornography site.
I wonder if it was really Anonymous that subscribed that person's email to the pornography site?
This story would be hilarious if it were not so serious.
It appears that Megaupload was a place where people could upload all sorts of information that could be filed and viewed.
Such a site is very democratic because it promotes transparency and that, of course, is the reason it had to be shut down.
Copyright violation is an easy one to charge because if a document exists in Megaupload's files that has more than 10% of copyrighted material, then that document can be considered a copyright violation.
At least, that is what my university is telling its faculty. As I understood the message, 10% is new; it used to be a bit more.
So, It is easy for a government or a corporation to take down a democratic file sharing site for copyright infringement, particularly if the law just got stricter.
Here is some of what Wikipedia says about the case. I would read the full entry at the site:
[excerpted] Megaupload Limited, better known for its closed websites including the top-15 file hosting service megaupload.com, is an online Hong Kong–based company established in 2005 that ran a number of online services related to file storage and viewing. The domain names were seized and the sites shut down by the U.S. Justice Department on 19 January 2012, following their indictment and arrests of the owners for allegedly operating as an organization dedicated to copyright infringement.
The shutdown led to denial-of-service attacks on a range of websites belonging to the U.S. government and copyright organisations. The case has not yet been heard at trial.
Safe harbor provisionsThe Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides safe harbor for sites that promptly take down infringing content. However safe harbor does not exist if the site has actual knowledge and does nothing about it.
read the full article