MEGA takes down links to The Luminaries

  • Breaking
  • 23/10/2013

Kiwi author Eleanor Catton's novel The Luminaries has been a hard book to get hold of since winning the Man Booker Prize last week.

If you're willing to forego paper however, it's widely available online as an ebook – legally and illegally.

Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater this morning noted the 832-page novel was available free from, internet tycoon Kim Dotcom's file storage site.

"To have Kim Dotcom, a cheerleader for New Zealand and his 'New Zealand' company MEGA essentially provide a platform for people to distribute a fellow Kiwi's hard work – and a Booker Prize [sic] winning one at that, well… it's not on," writes Mr Slater.

"It is a clear example of why he can't just sit there and claim no responsibility for any of it. His MEGA service clearly aids and abets the stealing of Copyrighted [sic]works, thereby denying the artists and publishers of their well earned income."

MEGA CEO Vikram Kumar thanked Mr Slater for bringing the illegal copies to the company's attention.

"Both links were uploaded by the same user from an apparently disposable email address," Mr Kumar told 3 News.

"As the links had not been indexed by search engines such as Google, MEGA appreciates the effort in locating them."

Mr Kumar says MEGA usually requires a notice of alleged infringement before taking down a link, but on this occasion deleted the files immediately.

"MEGA encourages customers to use all cloud storage and other online services legally and responsibly. Most do so but unfortunately some - a small minority - do not. In such cases, MEGA uses the terms of its service to address the infraction."

Dotcom's previous file sharing site, Megaupload, was taken offline by US authorities in January last year, and he now faces piracy and money laundering charges in the US. MEGA's point of difference is that all files are encrypted before they are uploaded, so the company cannot be accused of knowing it is hosting copyrighted material, placing the onus on users to obey the law.

In his blog post Mr Slater blurred the links to download The Luminaries, but Mr Kumar said there was "sufficient information in the screenshots for MEGA to locate the URLs".

"File names are encrypted before they are uploaded to MEGA and it is therefore not possible for MEGA to do a general search for a particular file name."

MEGA demonstrated its commitment to staying on the right side of the law when it shut down a third party service which allowed internet pirates to search the site for copyrighted content.

"As a New Zealand company, MEGA is proud of Eleanor's achievement," says Mr Kumar. "The illegal availability of her superb book via any cloud storage service is unacceptable and unfortunate."

Catton's The Luminaries, published by Victoria University Press, is currently the best-selling book in the country, and was so even before it won the Man Booker Prize.

Victoria University Press declined to comment.

3 News

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