Megaupload shut down by US government goons
Less than a day after the widespread online protest against the US SOPA bill, one of the net’s largest file-sharing sites, Megaupload, has been shut down, with its owners charged with violating piracy laws.
The site allows anyone to upload any file and then share it with someone else by providing them with a direct download link to it. Naturally, sharp-minded law flouters have allegedly used it for the distribution of copyrighted material. Naughty boys (it’s almost always boys, or so we imagine).
Following the action, which was taken in Virginia, hacking group Anonymous sprang into action and started causing retaliatory mayhem, bringing down the websites of the FBI, US Justice Department, Motion Picture Association of America, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association Of America) and Universal Music Group.
The Justice Department said that more than 20 search warrants had been executed in nine countries as part of the Megaupload bust, and that approximately $50m (£32m) in assets had been seized. They said:
"The conspirators allegedly paid users whom they specifically knew uploaded infringing content and publicised their links to users throughout the world. By actively supporting the use of third-party linking sites to publicise infringing content, the conspirators did not need to publicise such content on the Megaupload site.
"Instead, the indictment alleges that the conspirators manipulated the perception of content available on their servers by not providing a public search function on the Megaupload site and by not including popular infringing content on the publicly available lists of top content downloaded by its users."
But in a statement, Megaupload hit back, saying: "The fact is that the vast majority of Mega's internet traffic is legitimate, and we are here to stay. If the content industry would like to take advantage of our popularity, we are happy to enter into a dialogue. We have some good ideas. Please get in touch.”
There are many other sites that provide the same service as Megaupload, and no doubt their owners will be getting twitchy following last night’s bust.