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Megaupload Closed, Owners Arrested
The Quietus , January 20th, 2012 07:25

Range of charges from FBI

American officials have closed down popular filesharing site Megaupload, accusing its owners of breaking copyright laws. Kim Dotcom (oh yes, pic above) and Mathias Ortmann, founders of Megaupload, were arrested in Auckland, New Zealand, at the request of the FBI, and accused of $500 million-worth of piracy. The US Department of Justice issued a statement saying "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."

Charges brought by the FBI include: "engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement."

The prosecution alleges: "The conspirators’ 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 conspiracy’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."

Prosecutors apparently are in possession of emails that detail the methods used by Megaupload to steal copyrighted material from YouTube. Gigaom reports that these include discussions as to how best to download videos for the MegaVideo site: "Do we have a server available to continue downloading of the Youtube’s vids?" reads one. "Kim just mentioned again that this has really priority." Another email apparently reads "Kim really wants to copy YouTube one to one."

After the closure of Megaupload, hackers from the Anonymous collective attacked websites including the FBI, the US Department of Justice, the RIAA and various US media companies.

To learn more about the decidedly bizarre world of Megaupload's Kim Dotcom (cars, guns, numberplates, hanging around with rappers, here's a nice picture of him looking like Jabba The Hut, and here's a picture of him being charming to a lady) read this piece over at the Stool Pigeon.

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