Well damn. Just one day after the SOPA Strike blackouts and the public finding out that Swizz Beatz has become CEO of Megaupload, news spills that the file sharing website has been shut down by the Feds. According to Fox News, the website founder and other employees are being charged with racketeering, conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and money laundering.
72 page indictment for Megaupload
UPDATE #2 via TorrentFreak
A total of 18 Mega-related domains were also seized by authorities including Megastuff.co, Megaworld.com, Megaclicks.co, Megastuff.info, Megaclicks.org, Megaworld.mobi, Megastuff.org, Megaclick.us, Mageclick.com, HDmegaporn.com, Megavkdeo.com, Megaupload.com, Megaupload.org, Megarotic.com, Megaclick.com, Megavideo.com, Megavideoclips.com and Megaporn.com.
Federal prosecutors in Virginia have shut down one of the world’s largest file-sharing sites, Megaupload.com, and charged its founder and others with violating piracy laws — a day after a 24-hour blackout of popular websites such as Wikipedia drew national attention to the issue.
Today, the authorities executed in excess of 20 search warrants in the United States and eight other countries.
Data centers in the Netherlands, Canada and Washington housing MegaUpload’s equipment were raided. In an apparent reference to the latter location, a source has just informed TorrentFreak that the FBI are currently detaining everyone at the ISP Cogent Communications’ headquarters in Washington DC, in connection with a Mega-related search warrant.
In addition to MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom who was arrested today in New Zealand, another six alleged members of the Mega “conspiracy” were charged in the indictment:
• Finn Batato, 38, a citizen and resident of Germany, who is the chief marketing officer;
• Julius Bencko, 35, a citizen and resident of Slovakia, who is the graphic designer;
• Sven Echternach, 39, a citizen and resident of Germany, who is the head of business development;
• Mathias Ortmann, 40, a citizen of Germany and resident of both Germany and Hong Kong, who is the chief technical officer, co-founder and director;
• Andrus Nomm, 32, a citizen of Estonia and resident of both Turkey and Estonia, who is a software programmer and head of the development software division;
• Bram van der Kolk, aka Bramos, 29, a Dutch citizen and resident of both the Netherlands and New Zealand, who oversees programming and the underlying network structure for the Mega websites.
Dotcom, Batato, Ortmann and van der Kolk were arrested today in Auckland, New Zealand, by authorities there. Bencko, Echternach and Nomm are still at large.
The indictment is among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States, according to the FBI.
It accuses seven individuals and two corporations — Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited — of costing copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue from pirated films and other content. The indictment, which was unsealed on Thursday, says that at one point Megaupload was the 13th most popular website in the world.
The individuals in the criminal enterprise — a worldwide ring led by Australians Kim Dotcom, aka Kim Schmitz, and Kim Tim Jim Vestor — each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on racketeering charges, five years for conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, 20 years on money laundering charges and five years on related charges.