Owners of Megaupload.com faced piracy charges


US FBI puts halts on one of the major file sharing website: Megaupload.com and charged 7 individuals and two corporations for online piracy of copyright content over the net.

As per the ET latest news, the action, initiated by the FBI yesterday one the site that is popular with Hollywood celebrities and has been endorsed by music stars such as Kanye West, prompted hackers to disable the FBI and Justice Department’s websites.

As per US Justice Department and FBI the two companies Megaupload Ltd and Vestor Ltd generated more than USD 175 millions and caused more than half a billion dollars harm to copy right owners.

The individuals — three of whom are citizens of Germany and one each from Slovakia, Estonia, and Dutch — and two corporations were indicted by a grand jury in US District court, and charged with engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement.

The individuals each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the charge of conspiracy to commit racketeering, five years in prison on the charge of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, 20 years in prison on the charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering and five years in prison on each of the substantive charges of criminal copyright infringement.

The indictment alleges that the “criminal enterprise” is led by Kim Dotcom, also know as Kim Schmitz and Kim Tim Jim Vestor, 37, a resident of both Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Kim Dotcom founded Megaupload Limited and is the director and sole shareholder of Vestor Limited, which has been used to hold his ownership interests in the Mega-affiliated sites.

According to the indictment, the websites operated since 2005 that unlawfully reproduce and distribute infringing copies of copyrighted works, including movies – often before their theatrical release – music, television programs, electronic books, and business and entertainment software.

The traffic to Megaupload.com is calculated to have more than one billion visits to the site, more than 150 million registered users, 50 million daily visitors and accounting for four percent of the total traffic on the internet, the FBI said in a statement.

The indictment states that the conspirators conducted their illegal operation using a business model expressly designed to promote uploading of the most popular copyrighted works for many millions of users to download.

It alleges that the site was structured to discourage the vast majority of its users from using Megaupload for long-term or personal storage by automatically deleting content that was not regularly downloaded.


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