The United States Department of Justice has shut down MegaUpload, claiming that the file-sharing service is an “international organized criminal enterprise allegedly responsible for massive worldwide online piracy.”
Founder Kim Dotcom and three MegaUpload executives were arrested in Auckland, New Zealand at the request of the US government on Thursday and face deportation.
The complaint alleges that MegaUpload, founder Kim Dotcom, and his team are responsible for $175 million in “criminal proceeds” and “more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners.”
Kim Dotcom and six of his executives are charged with running “the Mega conspiracy websites” under a business model expressly designed to promote uploading of the most popular copyrighted works.”
The DOJ has also issued more than 20 search warrants in the US and eight other countries, seized more than $50m in assets in the US, Netherlands, and Canada, and seized more than 18 domain names associated with MegaUpload. The investigation was led by the FBI with broad international assistance from New Zealand, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, and the Philippines.
The charges in question look incredibly hard to prove and have caused a huge backlash against the US Government after the black out of major sites such as Wikipedia yesterday in protest of SOPA, a bill going through the US senate which until recently would have broken the internet in how it responds to websites that would fall under its provisions.
Anonymous, the hacking organisation retaliated in protest of the arrests and as a result the websites of the MPAA, RIAA and one of the DOJ’s sites were unavailable on January 20th for a short period.
Keep an eye on gazedice for more developments…