Update: in response to this news, the websites for the Department of Justice, Universal Music Group, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Moton Picture Association of America have all been attacked, apparently by infamous “hacktivist” group Anonymous.
Another Update: Anonymous’s statement on the takedown is available to read here.
So Megaupload – that company that we found out this morning that Swizz Beats was CEO of? They’re in trouble.
ABC News have reported that the Justice Department has indicted seven individuals and two companies behind the file-sharing site, claiming that “the website and a shell company associated with the website, Vestor Limited, caused an estimated half-billion dollars in copyright losses and made an estimated $175 million in proceeds.
“The feds indicted the site’s founder, Kim Dotcom, aka Kim Schmitz, a 37-year-old resident of Hong Kong and New Zealand”, continues ABC‘s report. “He was arrested in New Zealand by New Zealand authorities.
“Also indicted were employees Bram van der Kolk, aka Bramos, 29, Julius Bencko, Finn Batato, Sven Echternach, Mathias Ortmann, and Andrus Nomm. New Zealand authorities arrested Batato, Ortmann and van der Kolk. Bencko, Echternach and Nomm remain at large, officials said.
“The indictment accuses the suspects of being members of “the Mega Conspiracy, a worldwide criminal organization whose members engaged in criminal copyright infringement and money laundering on a massive scale … The indictment returned by a grand jury in Virginia alleges, “In exchange for payment, the Mega Conspiracy provides the fast reproduction and distribution of infringing copies of copyrighted works from its computer servers located around the world. Premium users of the site… are able to download and upload files with few, if any, limitations.
“Describing the operation of the site and relations with users the indictment noted, “For much of its operation, the Mega Conspiracy has offered an ‘Uploader Rewards’ Program, which promised premium subscribers transfers of cash and other financial incentives to upload popular works, including copyrighted works, to computer servers under the Mega Conspiracy’s direct control and for the Conspiracy’s ultimate financial benefit.”
“The seven suspects have been charged with participating in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement”.
Megaupload has, for the moment at least, been taken down, and the above offenders could face up to 20 years in jail. Feel free to make plenty of Swizz / swiz jokes in the comments section.