In one of the stranger endorsements we've seen in recent months, a battery of superstar artists - including Kanye West, Diddy, Snopp Dogg, Will.I.Am, Alicia Keys, Lil Jon, Chris Brown, Jamie Foxx and more -- have participated in a song and expensive-looking video/commercial endorsing MegaUpload, a storage locker site that the RIAA has lambasted for piracy.
The song -- which is driven by a plucked acoustic guitar and a catchy, chanted "May-gah" chorus -- finds the artists rapping or singing the praises of the service and its quick and easy file-sharing service.
West says he uses the service "because it's the fastest and safest way to send files -- period."
"When I got to send files across the globe, I use Megaupload," Will.I.Am says.
"When I'm sending my hits out I use Megaupload, 'cause it's fast. I can receive hits and I can send 'em out," Diddy says.
Musically, the song is reminiscent of the Black Eyed Peas and, according to the credit at the end of the video, was produced by MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom (born Kim Schmitz) and frequent BEP collaborator Printz Board.
At press time the video was disappearing fast from the web, with notes claiming that either Universal, IFPI or YouTube are blocking it on copyright grounds.
Megaupload, which is based in Hong Kong, has been sued once in the United States for copyright infringement. In January, adult entertainment company Perfect 10 accused the company of encouraging users to upload its copyrighted material on the service.
Many industry executives probably figured it would be tough to litigate against a company that operates outside U.S. jurisdiction and is cloaked in mystery, but Megaupload surprised Hollywood by responding to the lawsuit.
In July, a federal judge turned down Megaupload's motion to dismiss the suit, finding:
"Megaupload serves as more than a passive conduit and more than a mere 'file storage' company: It has created distinct Web sites presumably in an effort to streamline users' access to different types of media. It encourages and in some cases pays its users to upload vast amounts of popular media through its rewards programs. It disseminates URLS for various files throughout the Internet. It provides payouts to affiliate websites who maintain a catalogue of all available files and last at a minimum, it is plausibly aware of the ongoing rampant infringement taking place on its Web sites."
In September, however, Megaupload settled the lawsuit with Perfect 10. Terms of the agreement haven't been revealed, but the parties submitted a motion so that the judge's July decision would be vacated.
The content industry has continued to attack Kim and the storage locker. Two weeks ago, Creative America, a coalition of major studios, networks, labor unions, and others, released an anti-piracy advertisement that includes among its targets "the infamous founder of Megaupload," alleging he makes up to $300 million in profits off of piracy.
The recent debate around the PROTECT-IP Act in the U.S. Senate, and the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House of Representatives, is presumably not unrelated to the appearance- - and disappearance- - of the video. You can read guest commentary on the bills posted on Billboard.biz here and here.
Neither the RIAA nor the artists in the video contacted by Billboard.biz had commented on it at press time.