The Next Web
Megaupload faces FBI charges for piracy, site taken down
19TH JANUARY 2012 by DREW OLANOFF
There wonâ€™t be any file uploading to popular service Megaupload anytime soon, mega or otherwise. The site has been taken down today amidst FBI charges of criminal copyright infringement, according to the Wall Street Journal.
According to the report, this has nothing to do with the latest outrage against two proposed acts, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA):
Investigators said there was no connection between arrests in their two-year investigation and the political firestorm that erupted this week over a pending vote on the Stop Online Piracy Act.
It was revealed today that the CEO of Megaupload is none other than Swizz Beatz, husband of popular recording artist Alicia Keys. The site is already battling multiple legal issues, and had a huge public run-in with Universal Music over a video it had posted on YouTube featuring music from some of its hottest artists.
The service has gotten support from well-known artists and figures like P Diddy, Chris Brown, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, and Black Eyed Peas. Here is the video that caused so much drama on YouTube in december:
Megaupload is a service that lets you upload and share files of any type or size, and has been accused of becoming a hotbed for the trading of copyrighted content, specifically full albums of music. The indictment referred to Megaupload as being one of the top 20 websites in the world at one point. The site is accused of causing over $500 million in lost revenue from â€œpiratedâ€ content such as music and movies.
So far, the FBI charges consist of seven suspects that work at Megaupload, and four based in New Zealand have been apprehended already.
UPDATE: The Department of Justice has made an official statement on the matter. Read Below
The United States Department of Justice has just made its official statement on the Megaupload charges and arrests made today.
In the release, the DOJ made it clear that this case is massive:
This action is among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States and directly targets the misuse of a public content storage and distribution site to commit and facilitate intellectual property crime.
The tone of the release also feels like the Department of Justice is using Megaupload as an example to put a halt to criminal copyright infringements on the web. Again, all of this comes on the heels of one of the biggest activist movements ever seen on the web, the protest of SOPA.
The DOJ went on to explain how big of an operation Megaupload was running before it took down the site today and made four arrests:
The conspiratorsâ€™ content hosting site, Megaupload.com, is advertised as having more than one billion visits to the site, more than 150 million registered users, 50 million daily visitors and accounting for four percent of the total traffic on the Internet. The estimated harm caused by the conspiracyâ€™s criminal conduct to copyright holders is well in excess of $500 million. The conspirators allegedly earned more than $175 million in illegal profits through advertising revenue and selling premium memberships.
Megaupload is being accused of unlawfully distributing copyrighted works including movies, music, TV programs, electronic books, and software on what the DOJ calls a â€œmassive scaleâ€. Among those charged is Megaupload co-founder Kim Dotcom, aka Kim Schmitz, who was arrested in New Zealand today. Everyone from graphic designers to programmers for the company were indicted today. Missing from the list of those facing charges is the CEO of Megaupload, Kasseem Dean, also known as Swizz Beatz.
Those who have been indicted face up to fifty years in jail for charges including conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and criminal copyright infringement.