For more than a year, the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America have argued that existing laws were insufficient to deal with the problem of "rogue sites" hosted overseas. They've been pushing bills like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act as essential weapons in the fight.
But evidently, American law enforcement didn't get the memo that they were powerless against overseas file-sharing services. The day after the Internet's historic protest of SOPA and PIPA last week, the United States government unsealed an indictment against the people behind Megaupload, one of the largest sites on the Internet. Four senior Megaupload officials were arrested in New Zealand on Thursday, and officials seized millions of dollars in assets.
As we reported Thursday, the FBI worked with authorities from New Zealand, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany, the UK, and the Phillipines to catch the defendants and seize their assets. Law enforcement officials froze accounts at banks based in Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the Phillipines, and Germany. The feds also seized numerous servers, cars, pieces of artwork, televisions, and other assets. The list of seized assets in the indictment was six pages long.
So if the US government already has the power to arrest people and seize assets in places as far away as Germany, New Zealand, and the Philippines, are the new enforcement powers sought by content companies even necessary?
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