Woof. Where to begin with this one? Megaupload, which at one point was one of the top fifteen most viewed websites of 2010, has been shut down by federal prosecutors in Virginia one day after the internet protested such government takedowns of alleged piracy websites. Megaupload was rolling in the deep until now, boasting more than 150 million registered users, 50 million daily visitors and accounting for four percent of the total traffic on the Internet. Now all that is ka-putt. Feds believe seven founders and business partners “generated more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and caused more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners.”
This comes at a strange time as the CEO of this gravy train was outed yesterday by the New York Times as Mr. Alicia Keys, master producer Swizz Beats himself. No word on if Swizzy’s been arrested, but its doubtful because he’s a celebrity. Seven others have been arrested, four from New Zealand and three from Germany under multiple lawful offenses like running a massive worldwide piracy website, conspiracy to commit racketeering, and money laundering. Each non-violent penalty comes with a maximum 20 year prison sentence. I’m sure it’ll be a fair trail LOLZ.
You can almost see the Department of Justice high-fiving each other when you read their gleeful press statement:
Today, law enforcement also executed more than 20 search warrants in the United States and eight countries, seized approximately $50 million in assets and targeted sites where Megaupload has servers in Ashburn, Va., Washington, D.C., the Netherlands and Canada. In addition, the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., ordered the seizure of 18 domain names associated with the alleged Mega conspiracy.
This action is among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States and directly targets the misuse of a public content storage and distribution site to commit and facilitate intellectual property crime.
This case is part of efforts being undertaken by the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property (IP Task Force) to stop the theft of intellectual property. Attorney General Eric Holder created the IP Task Force to combat the growing number of domestic and international intellectual property crimes, protect the health and safety of American consumers, and safeguard the nation’s economic security against those who seek to profit illegally from American creativity, innovation and hard work.