Justice Department Shuts Down Piracy Site19 Jan, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey
Amid all the debate over piracy bills before Congress, the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI Jan. 19 charged seven individuals and two corporations over massive worldwide online piracy.
Effectively shutting down the file sharing site Megaupload.com and related sites, the government is accusing people associated with the site of making more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and costing copyright owners approximately $0.5 billion.
The action is believed to be among the largest criminal copyright cases brought by the U.S. government. If found guilty, the defendants face up to 50 years in prison on charges of racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering.
On Jan. 19 law enforcement executed more than 20 search warrants in the United States and eight other countries, seizing approximately $50 million in assets and18 domain names associated with Megaupload. The feds also targeted Megaupload servers in Virginia; Washington, D.C.; the Netherlands and Canada.
“For more than five years the conspiracy has operated websites 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 on a massive scale,” a release detailing the indictment reads.
Megaupload advertised that it had more than 1 billion visitors to its site, more than 150 million registered users and accounted for 4% of total Internet traffic.