Swizz Beatz revealed as MegaUpload CEO, picks fight with Universal
January 18, 2012
Out of nowhere in the whole PIPA/SOPA hullabaloo (that we also took part in, proudly), it was revealed that Swizz Beatz is the CEO of accused pirater MegaUpload. The file-sharing service, which is fighting a legal battle with Universal Music Group, contends it has full rights to the video endorsements it has from people like Kanye West, P. Diddy, will.i.am, Jamie Foxx and Swizzy’s wife Alicia Keys, among others. UMG has been using DMCA complaints to remove these videos from internet sites like YouTube, saying their signed talent were not authorized to make such endorsements. (That a lack of authorization allows them to censor the endorsements via the DMCA sounds very suspicious however. The C in DMCA stands for copyright, and unauthorized endorsements are not examples of copyright infringement.)
Well, this explains why their videos and endorsements consists of mostly New York hip-hoppers and the people who hang around them. Getting an established music industry talent as their chief is quite the PR coup, undercutting the claim that the industry is looking out for the best interests of their talent. That it looks like UMG is trying to censor its own artists is another potential PR black eye in the making.
In any case, back in December, The Guardian identified another man as MegaUpload’s CEO, although Swizzy has obviously been involved with the Hong Kong-based MegaUpload for some time. Something tells we we’re gonna be hearing more from Swizz for some time.
Read more: MTV News
UPDATE: The Feds have raided and shut down MegaUpload and arrested its founder, convicted con artist turned entrepreneur Kim Schmitz with multiple counts of racketeering and piracy. Several associates were arrested as well. But notably absent and still free is Swizz.
UPDATE 2: So, even though the MegaUpload site did list him as CEO (before the site got Fed’d), he was not actually appointed the title, reports Venture Beat. He apparently was only in negotiations to take the helm, according to MegaUpload’s lawyer. Well.