- Beretta leaves Maryland over gun laws, heads for Tennessee
- Neal Boortz defends Hillary Clinton for representing child rapist
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Top federal judge uses pizza to explain complex Obamacare situation
- Obama, Biden overhaul job training programs
- Drought-plagued Californians turn to paint to keep lawns green
- ISIL now forcing Iraqi shopkeepers to veil mannequins in Mosul
- 11 parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls die
- Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia
- Turkish P.M. Erdogan won’t speak to Obama, but he’ll take calls from Biden
Popular file-sharing website Megaupload shut down
Question of the Day
The five-count indictment, which alleges copyright infringement as well as conspiracy to commit money laundering and racketeering, described a site designed specifically to reward users who uploaded pirated content for sharing, and turned a blind eye to requests from copyright holders to remove copyright-protected files.
For instance, users received cash bonuses if they uploaded content popular enough to generate massive numbers of downloads, according to the indictment. Such content was almost always copyright protected.
The site boasted 150 million registered users and about 50 million hits daily. The Justice Department said it was illegal for anyone to download pirated content, but their investigation focused on the leaders of the company, not end users who may have downloaded a few movies for personal viewing.
A lawyer who represented the company in a lawsuit last year declined comment Thursday. Efforts to reach an attorney representing Dotcom were unsuccessful.
Megaupload is considered a “cyberlocker,” in which users can upload and transfer files that are too large to send by email. Such sites can have perfectly legitimate uses. But the Motion Picture Association of America, which has campaigned for a crackdown on piracy, estimated that the vast majority of content being shared on Megaupload was in violation of copyright laws.
The website allowed users to download some content for free, but made money by charging subscriptions to people who wanted access to faster download speeds or extra content. The website also sold advertising.
The indictment was returned in the Eastern District of Virginia, which claimed jurisdiction in part because some of the alleged pirated materials were hosted on leased servers in Ashburn, Va. Prosecutors there have pursued multiple piracy investigations.
Steven T. Shelton, a copyright lawyer at the Cozen O’Connor firm in New York, said opponents of the legislation are worried the proposals lessen the burden for the government to target a wide variety of websites. Shelton said he expects to see the government engage in more enforcement in the future, as technology makes it easier to catch and target suspected pirates.
“I think we’ll be seeing more of this,” he said. “This is just the beginning.”
Dotcom had his name legally changed. He was previously known as Kim Schmitz and Kim Tim Jim Vestor. He is founder, former CEO and current chief innovation officer of Megaupload.
The others arrested were Finn Batato, 38, a citizen and resident of Germany, the company’s chief marketing officer; Mathias Ortmann, 40, a citizen of Germany and resident of both Germany and Hong Kong, who is the chief technical officer, co-founder and director; and Bram van der Kolk, aka Bramos, 29, a Dutch citizen and resident of both the Netherlands and New Zealand, who oversees programming.
Still at large are Julius Bencko, 35, a citizen and resident of Slovakia, the site’s graphic designer; Sven Echternach, 39, a citizen and resident of Germany, head of business development; and Andrus Nomm, 32, a citizen of Estonia and resident of both Turkey and Estonia, head of the development software division.
Several sister sites were also shut down, including one dedicated to sharing pornography files.
TWT Video Picks
The president could pay the full price for ignoring Congress
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- Gen. James Amos, Marine Corps commandant, slams Obama's handling of Iraq
- Pentagon team dispatched to Ukraine amid crisis with Russia
- BERMAN & MADYOON: An Iranian-Turkish reset
- MAY: Barbarians at Jordan's gate
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq