One of the world’s largest file-sharing sites was shut down yesterday (Thursday), and executives arrested and charged with violating piracy laws. The US authorities accuse Megaupload.com of costing copyright holders over $500 million in lost revenue. It is funny that the indictment comes just almost 24 hours after thee online community protested the two proposed anti-piracy laws.
The US authorities said that the move has nothing to do with the SOPA / PIPA outrage:
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.
Megaupload executives, Kim Dotcom, formerly known as Kim Schmitz, and three others were arrested on Thursday in New Zealand at the request of U.S. officials. It is reported that two other defendants are at large. After the arrest, property of the executives including luxury vehicles and home entertainment systems were confiscated. It is also reported that US authorities are pursuing bank accounts with more than $150 million all over the world.
Forbes has reported that Swizz Beatz who is married to Alicia Keys is the CEO of Megaupload.com but is not being pursued by US authorities because he does not own any stock in the entity. This move surprise anyone since the accusations against Megaupload are of criminal nature and it is hard to fathom why US authorities would pursue foreigners but not its citizens.
Megaupload has had the support of many entertainment figures like Diddy, Chris Brown, Kim Kardashian, Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, and Black Eyed Peas
Cyber Hactivists, Anonymous, has claimed that the group has taken down the websites of U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Universal Music Group’s, MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and the U.S. Copyright Office.
— Anonymous Sweden (@AnonOpsSweden) January 19, 2012
Before Megaupload was taken down, it posted a statement saying;
“The fact is that the vast majority of Mega’s Internet traffic is legitimate, and we are here to stay. If the content industry would like to take advantage of our popularity, we are happy to enter into a dialogue. We have some good ideas. Please get in touch.”
The site claims to have more than 150 million registered users.