We've all failed as music journalists. Swizz Beatz is the CEO of Megaupload.com and no one seemed to notice? No one, except Wikipedia (yes, that bastion of factual information on the web), which lists Swizzy's government handle, Kaseem Dean, as the head honcho of Megaupload. Megaupload's "About Us" section also cites Mr. Beatz as its acting CEO.
Now, word comes down that federal prosecutors have shut the site down and indicted its founder and others for violating copyright laws.
MTV broke the news in a post titled "Swizz Beatz's Megaupload Draws Fire for Promos" on Wednesday, January 18, the same day much of the web blacked out in protest of the controversial SOPA and PIPA bills. Our reaction was along the lines of: "Wait, what? That guy? Mr. Alicia Keys. Mr. It's Showtiiiime! He runs the bootleg mill known as Megaupload.com?" Hoe. Lee. Shit. That's the real story right there, MTV. That an artist who's been on a major label his whole career owns a company that works -- for good or evil -- to undermine major labels. It's pretty much an "up yours" to the major labels. Oh Swizzy, you naughty, naughty rebel.
For those not in the know, Megaupload is a site that specializes in file sharing, which often includes copyrighted music, movies, TV shows, porno, and more. Say, you can't afford HBO but would really like to see the latest episode of Hung, Megaupload is where you would have gone to get your viewing on before it was shut down. Under SOPA guidelines, we believe that the punishment for viewing an episode of Hung on Megaupload is death by firing squad.
And so now Swizz has a mega problem on his hands. In addition to the shutdown today, Megaupload is in the midst of a lawsuit with the recording industry for music and video piracy.
If that isn't enough, Swizz is in hot water because he enlisted many of his celeb friends (Kanye West, Diddy, Kim Kardashian, and even wifey Alicia Keys) to help promote Megaupload. Universal Music Group filed a lawsuit requesting that Swizz and Megaupload take down the video or be presented before a firing squad and killed. Megaupload countersued.
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"We have never received any word that any artist has [individually] filed a take-down . . . [we have] legally binding agreements with the performers that appear in the video . . . They promised that they had the rights to enter into that agreement and it's not interfering with any third-party rights," a Megaupload representative told the New York Post.
And the plot thickens...
Here's the incriminating Megaupload commercial.