RIAA Wants Mastercard to Cut Off MegaUpload

In a move seemingly inspired by the US government pressuring credit card companies and online payment services to cut off Wikileaks, the MPAA and RIAA are reportedly trying to get Mastercard, and presumably other credit card companies, to cut off sites like MegaUpload and other file-sharing and streaming sites. Some observers suggest that this is part of a new strategy for the conglomerate organizations.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

A report is surfacing that the Recording Industry Association (RIAA) and the Motion Picture association of America (MPAA) are in talks with Mastercard and, presumably, other credit card companies and transaction services, to cut off cyber lockers and streaming sites. Explicitly mentioned was MegaUpload, a cyberlocker that hosts large files too large for e-mail.

“MasterCard in particular deserves credit for its proactive approach to addressing rogue Web sites that dupe consumers,” Mitch Glazier, executive vice president of government and industry relations said on behalf of the RIAA. “They have reached out to us and others in the entertainment community to forge what we think will be a productive and effective partnership.”

Cyber lockers often offer their services for free, but also offer premium services for increased bandwidth and an increase in multi-file download as well as the removal of wait times imposed.

What’s interesting is that Mastercard does earn profits from various transactions that happen daily. If Mastercard, American Express and Visa cut off their services to such businesses, these businesses can merely switch to other payment methods like Flattr and other smaller overseas payment methods off of US soil.

What’s also interesting in all of this is that there’s very little that separates MegaUpload and YouTube given that MegaUpload has a system for removing copyrighted material. In essence, MegaUpload already respects the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the law YouTube also respects. The only difference is that MegaUpload hosts all kinds of files whereas YouTube streams videos. Both make money off of files whether infringing or not, yet YouTube seems to be able to operate with less negative stigma than MegaUpload.

The only people that seem to stand to lose out on this deal is Mastercard and any other payment services who agree to cut off their services to these sites. Why these services are going along with this is actually somewhat baffling given that COICA, the law being cited in all of this, hasn’t even passed the Senate or Congress at this point.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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