Cyber-fans mourn loss of Megavideo

The Southerner

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By Alix Youngblood

Free, easy and dependable, Megavideo was the solution to every teen’s greatest dilemma. With our hectic schedules and the incessant flow of extracurriculars, homework and more, it was with great frustration that the average young adult attempted to keep up with the inordinate amount of TV that—let’s face it—we all watch.

Seven years ago, Megavideo burst onto the scene and won our love with its zippy, illegal video-hosting services. It allowed the general public, the poor suckers without one of the deluxe cable or dish networks, to watch their favorite shows and movies anytime and anywhere (anywhere with Internet access, that is).

The titan quickly cast a shadow over all its inferior competitors and caught the attention of web surfers worldwide. Even stars such as Kanye West, Alicia Keys, will.i.am, Snoop Dogg, P. Diddy, Chris Brown, Jamie Foxx, Kim Kardashian, Lil Jon, Serena Williams and Ciara endorsed the company, as made evident by a music video published to YouTube titled “Megaupload Mega Song,” in which each star made an appearance. Unfortunately, Megavideo caught the attention of one too many users, and on Jan. 19, with great woe in our hearts, we bid the champion adieu as the U.S. Department of Justice brought the king to its knees for allegedly operating as an organization dedicated to copyright infringement.

Megavideo was a derivative website, part of a series of file-hosting sites that independently focused on a range of material including, but not limited to, videos, images, audio files, live-video streaming and even pornographic material. Individually they were different, but together these websites represented Megaupload Limited, a Hong Kong-based, multimillion-dollar company run by several fantastically rich Germans.

The founder of Megaupload, born Kim Schmitz, who legally changed his name to—I kid you not—Kim Dotcom, was arrested on Jan. 20 at a leased $30 million luxury mansion in New Zealand. The arrests also included the German chief marketing officer Finn Batato, the German chief technology officer and co-founder Mathias Ortmann and a Dutch advisor, Bram van der Kolk. They were gathered in celebration of Dotcom’s 38th birthday. The men are to be extradited as a request of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Ironically, the takedown of Megaupload began the day after the widespread Stop Online Piracy Act protests.

Unfortunately for you, if you used Megaupload for more than its video-hosting abilities, any files you may have uploaded are gone for good. Following the seizure of Megaupload, the Justice Department wrote, “It is important to note that Mega clearly warned users to keep copies of any files they uploaded” and added that “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.”

Megavideo: as you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you must fear no evil, for you will always illegally reside in our hearts.

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