Department of Justice Is Wasting Its Time Going After File-Sharing Sites

alicia keys with husband swizz beatz
Is Megaupload CEO Swizz Beatz a criminal?
Remember Napster, the file-sharing software some of us used back in our pre-Facebook days to rip MP3s? It went bust, once Congress decided they had a problem with piracy and started targeting file-sharing services. Almost 10 years later, it seems not much has changed. Napster-like sites are still around and still being criminalized. Take Megaupload, a file-sharing site that was brought down yesterday in a federal sting targeting illegal downloads.

In the wake of the controversy surrounding anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA, it seems the government was looking to make an example of Megaupload, which has several celeb ties: Alicia Keys' hubby, hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz (who was negotiating with the company to become its CEO), and Sean "Diddy" Combs, Kanye West, and Will.i.am (who all recently touted the site in a video). Really, who actually believes that file-sharing is a HUGE crime?!

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Whether or not you download movies or music on a site like this, I think we can all agree on one thing: Going after file-sharing sites and prosecuting those who download "illegally" is big freakin' waste of time. Sorry to burst the Department of Justice's bubble, but people engaging in file-sharing aren't crazed hackers interested in -- or, hmm, even capable of -- slashing all of Time-Warner or Disney or whatever other big entertainment company's profits.

Of course, I get where piracy concerns are coming from. My boyfriend works on movies and TV shows, so we always talk about how people we know who download movies illegally aren't exactly helping him and his co-workers make their honest living. But then we both kind of shrug. Because it's not like the small time downloads our friends are doing are really making that much of a difference ... especially when you realize the actors on these films are getting upwards of $20 mil. to say a few lines in front of a camera, you know?

Most people who use sites like Megaupload just want to download that Queen song they've had stuck in their head all day or watch that one episode of Arrested Development, then get on with their lives! There isn't some ginormous conspiracy or whatever to make sure the artists creating this music or these movies aren't going to get paid. I think they do just fine. Thus why a "federal sting" to bring down a file-sharing site seems like a total joke. It's clearly a big orchestrated, over-dramatic appeal to the big media/entertainment companies to make them think D.C. is saving the day ... or more like, their dollars. But regular people should be pissed -- this country has bigger fish to fry than file-sharing!

Do you think file-sharing should be considered a major crime?


Image via Donna Ward/Getty

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