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Shut down of Megaupload – Has the fight against SOPA lost its meaning?

DAILYHOSTNEWS, January 20, 2012-The fight to stop SOPA and PIPA from coming into regulation is on its peak and even before the voting for these bills took place, the US government shuts down, the popular content sharing website on the charges of violating internet piracy laws.

Federal prosecutors have shut down the website, alleging copyright infringement as well as conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit racketeering charging its founders and several employees with massive copyright infringement.

The detective Inspector Grant Wormald from the Organized and Financial Crime Agency New Zealand in a statement said, “The FBI contacted New Zealand Police in early 2011 with a request to assist with their investigation into the Mega Conspiracy. All the accused have been indicted in the United States. We will continue to work with the U.S. authorities to assist with the extradition proceedings”.

An official of Justice Department (US) denied that then arrest has any relation with the anti-piracy bills in consideration by US Congress.

New Zealand police on Friday raided a mansion in Auckland and arrested Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. Three others who were arrested are the website’s chief marketing officer, Finn Batato, chief technical officer and co-founder Mathias Ortmann, and Dutch national Bram van der Kolk.

The officials seized assets of worth $NZ50 million as well as 18 domain names associated with Megaupload.

Indictment against Megaupload

According to the Justice Department of US and FBI the seven people in charge are responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works, through and other related sites.

The site is accused of generating more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and causing a harm of more than half a billion dollars to copyright owners.

If convicted, the maximum penalties are 20 years for conspiracy to commit racketeering and to commit money laundering and five years for each count of copyright infringement and five years for conspiracy to commit copyright infringement.

Megaupload has boasted of having more than 150 million registered users and 50 million daily visitors, according to the indictment.

Hackers reaction

Reacting to the shutdown of and opposing arrest of its founders and others, the anonyms hackers attacked the public websites of the Justice Department, the world’s largest music company Universal Music, and the two big trade groups that represent the music and film industries.

“The government takes down Megaupload? 15 minutes later Anonymous takes down government & record label sites,” a member of Anonymous said via Twitter.


Reference: Reuters, Bangkok Post

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