Megaupload killed by the FBI
Date added: 19 Jan 2012
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One of the most popular file-sharing sites was shut down and several employees arrested, in acusation of piracy.
We’ve been talking a lot about piracy lately, and for a good reason. Yesterday, the Internet went dark to protest SOPA and PIPA, the two bills that will be voted soon and, in the name of copyright protection, will censor webpages. Today, the popular file-sharing site Megaupload.com was closed by the FBI, in accusation of piracy.
The well-known website was blamed for over $500 million in lost revenue from hosting pirated media. Seven people were arrested, four of them already in custody. Dotcom, Batato, Ortmann and van der Kolk were arrested today in New Zealand.
In a press release, the US Justice Department claimed that the company was a “worldwide criminal organization” and was involved with copyright infringement and money laundering. They also said that this action was “one of the largest criminal copyright cases brought by the United States”. The indictment was returned in Virginia, who claimed jurisdiction because some of the infringing material was hosted on servers in Ashburn, Virginia.
Before the site was taken down, they posted a statement saying that allegations against them were overblown, since the majority of their traffic was legitimate; they also made an invitation for dialog to the content industry. The website had more than 150 million users registered, with over 50 million daily visits, which means that a lot of people with files hosted there won’t be able to access their own archives. Megaupload is currently engaged in legal battle with Universal Music over a promotional video featuring some UMG artists.
While agents claim that they have been investigating the site for two years and there’s no link between the arrests and the political agitation regarding SOPA, truth is, this episode couldn’t have come in a more inconvenient time.
Update: Hacker group Anonymous has started to take down several sites in response of the FBI operation. So far they’ve gone after the sites of the RIAA, the MPAA, Universal, the FBI, the U.S. Copyright Office and, according to an affiliated Twitter account, an attack to the White House’s site as well.
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