[LINK] Feds shut down file upload site
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Fri Jan 20 09:38:29 EST 2012
[multi-national men arrested in NEW ZEALAND at
request of US. Note: one of the servers was in
Virginia. Looks like the US server industry just
went down the tubes. No more hosting there. Lots
of excess capacity should come on the market, though.]
McLEAN, Virginia (AP) One of the world's
largest file-sharing sites was shut down
Thursday, and its founder and several company
executives were charged with violating piracy laws, federal prosecutors said.
An indictment accuses Megaupload.com of costing
copyright holders more than $500 million in lost
revenue from pirated films and other content. The
indictment was unsealed one day after websites
including Wikipedia and Craigslist shut down in
protest of two congressional proposals intended to thwart online piracy.
The Justice Department said in a statement said
that Kim Dotcom, formerly known as Kim Schmitz,
and three other executives were ***arrested
Thursday in New Zealand*** at the request of U.S.
officials. Two other defendants are at large.
Megaupload was unique not only because of its
massive size and the volume of downloaded
content, but also because it had high-profile
support from celebrities, musicians and other
content producers who are most often the victims
of copyright infringement and piracy. Before the
website was taken down, it contained endorsements
from Kim Kardashian, Alicia Keys and Kanye West, among others.
The Hong Kong-based company listed Swizz Beatz, a
musician who married Keys in 2010, as its CEO. He
was not named in the indictment and declined to
comment through a representative.
Before the site was taken down, it posted a
statement saying allegations that it facilitated
massive breaches of copyright laws were "grotesquely overblown."
"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 statement said.
The site boasted 150 million registered users.
A lawyer who represented the company in a lawsuit
last year declined comment Thursday.
Megaupload is considered a "cyberlocker," in
which users can upload and transfer files that
are too large to send by email. Such sites can
have perfectly legitimate uses. But the Motion
Picture Association of America, which has
campaigned for a crackdown on piracy, estimated
that the vast majority of content being shared on
Megaupload was in violation of copyright laws.
The website allowed users to download films, TV
shows, games, music and other content for free,
but made money by charging subscriptions to
people who wanted access to faster download
speeds or extra content. The website also sold advertising.
The indictment was returned in the Eastern
District of Virginia, which claimed jurisdiction
in part because some of the alleged pirated
materials were hosted on leased servers in Ashburn, Virginia.
Dotcom, a resident of both Hong Kong and New
Zealand, and a dual citizen of Finland and
Germany, made more than $42 million from the
conspiracy in 2010 alone, according to the indictment.
Dotcom is founder, former CEO and current chief
innovation officer of Megaupload.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Our truest response to the irrationality of the
world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer
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