Megaupload piracy case lands its first prison sentence

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The US government leveled piracy charges against Megaupload’s operators three years ago,
but it looks like those efforts are only now leading to real
convictions. Programmer Andrus Nõmm has ended his extradition fight and pleaded guilty
to charges that he helped commit copyright infringement by knowingly
developing for a site that thrived on sharing bootleg files. He’ll spend
a year in prison, which takes into account both his role at Megaupload
and his willingness to confess.

The Justice Department is quick to champion this as a victory
against the “Mega Conspiracy,” which supposedly deprived copyright
holders of $400 million. However, the reality doesn’t seem so pretty. According to
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, Nõmm is making the plea to get past “3
years of DOJ abuse” and “move on with his life,” which includes a son.
Whether or not you think Nõmm deserves punishment, the government is
only getting its man because he stopped fighting back — it’ll likely be
a while longer (if ever) before the feds imprison Megauploaders who
refuse to turn themselves in.

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