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Megaupload Shut Down, Founders And Employees Charged With Piracy Law Violations

By 01.19.12

A couple of years ago I subscribed to the Department of Justice’s email press release list so that I wouldn’t miss any info about raids they conducted on meth labs in rural Ohio. And that’s basically what I get from them — three or four emails per day containing press releases that detail some bust I could care less about. But every now and then a doozy comes along — such was the case a few minutes ago when I received an email from the DOJ titled: “Justice Department Charges Leaders of Megaupload with Widespread Online Copyright Infringement.” I guess “We Are The World” type celebrity backing couldn’t save Megaupload — the company apparently run by Alicia Keys’ husband Swizz Beatz — which appears to have been completely wiped off the internet for the moment.

From the release:

WASHINGTON – Seven individuals and two corporations have been charged in the United States with running an international organized criminal enterprise allegedly responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works, through Megaupload.com and other related sites, generating more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and causing more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners, the U.S. Justice Department and FBI announced today.

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.

The individuals and two corporations – Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited – were indicted by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia on Jan. 5, 2012, 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.

Do you think it’s coincidental that this goes down the day after the largely effective internet blackout in protest of SOPA/PIPA? I don’t!


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