Prize-winning Kiwi book pirated on Mega - CEO responds
There is fallout following Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The Luminaries, being made available through the Kim Dotcom-founded Mega yesterday.
Mega CEO Vikram Kumar is defending his company's internet file sharing sevice following harsh words from the NZ Publishers Association.
“Everyone is rightly proud of the achievements of Eleanor Catton on the world stage, so to see her work given away without her consent by a fellow Kiwi company is really appalling,” Publishers Association president Sam Elworthy said this morning.
“We should be doing all we can to support the good work of not only these two artists but also every New Zealander who makes an honest living from his or her creative works.
“Mega should do more to ensure this kind of thing does not occur.”
This afternoon, Mr Kumar told NBR ONLINE, "Mega supports the wonderful work being done by New Zealand creatives. We were disappointed that a user of Mega uploaded and shared The Luminaries in contravention of the service terms and conditions."
Mega's US attorney, Ira Rothken, has previously told NBR that internet file sharing is "copyright neutral." Like many other technologies - the VCR was an example, he said - It can be used for good or ill, but on balance file sharing was a positive for consumers and business.
At a recent Orcon event, Kim Dotcom told media that Mega gets far fewer take-down notices than other services that offer a facility for file sharing, such as Dropbox and Google's YouTube, and is quick to deal with complaints.
In the case of The Luminaries, Mr Kumar tells NBR, "Obscured links to the two files were published on a blog but were not easily available publicly as they had not been indexed by popular search engines such as Google. Mega was able to locate those files and pro-actively took them down immediately, without waiting for a formal infringement notice from the copyright owner or their agent."
Mega receives an average of about 100 takedown notices each day for alleged copyright infringement, the CEO says, adding "Compared to the two to three million files uploaded to Mega each day, this is a very small amount of alleged infringement."
Mega treats each and every allegation of alleged copyright infringement with great concern, Mr Kumar says. "Files and/or links as requested by the copyright owner are taken down immediately, far faster than most global online services. Mega's actions are in keeping with applicable law as well as the service terms and conditions. The actions also reinforce MEGA's intention of providing a world-leading, secure and privacy protective cloud storage and collaboration service.
Victoria University Press, which published, The Luminaries, says the title was made available as an eBooks to New Zealand readers "in a timely and accessible way," so it was disappointed to see "easily accessible" pirated copies appear on Mega.
Mr Elworthy says the discovery of Catton’s work on a site such as MEGA was the “tip of the iceberg”.
“Just a few weeks ago we had to ask Mega to take down an entire educational textbook written by a New Zealand author and which had been made available on their site. This type of illegal sharing is happening at an alarming rate and really hurting New Zealand creatives."
In the case of the illegal uploading of Eleanor Catton's book, the specific circumstances of the uploading are unusual in several ways, Mr Kumar says.
"The uploader went to unusual lengths to hide his/her identity including disposable email address, proxy to hide IP address, and only ever using Mega to upload those two files. It is also unusual for anyone to find links by poking around the Internet if they are not indexed by popular search engines."
He won't say if Mega has identified the perpetrator. He prefers to keep progress on the hunt confidential, but does say, "Mega is investigating as well as considering its legal options."