The filesharing site Megaupload.com has been taken down by the FBI as the Justice Department unsealed an indictment charging seven people associated with the site. The 72-page indictment, handed down by a federal grand jury in Virginia on January 5, charges the seven people, including Megaupload’s founders Kim Dotcom and Mathias Ortman, with conspiracy.
Four of the people named—including Dotcom, Ortmann, Megaupload.com chief marketing officer Finn Batao, and developer Bram van der Kolk—are in custody, arrested in New Zealand today, according to the FBI. The FBI worked with authorities from New Zealand, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany, the UK and the Phillipines, and in concert with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on the case.
The indictment charges that the “Mega conspiracy” has for more than five years operated websites that willfully distributed pirated movies, often before their theatrical release, and other illegal copies of copyrighted works, earning the company over $175 million in illegal profits through advertising revenue. Megaupload is also charged with money laundering by paying uploaders through an “uploader reward program,” and paying other companies to host the pirated content.
As of the afternoon of January 19, the site for Megaupload.com had not been redirected, and requests simply timed out.
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