Megaupload shut down by US government goons

20 January 2012

megaupload-400x400 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.

TOPICS:   Technology

15 comments

  • Rich
    To be honest if you want pirated stuff you'd use a torrent not file sharing, it's just stupid.
  • Mellin
    @Rich - Torrents are file sharing, stupid! Congress is to progress what con is to pro...
  • DragonChris
    Dislike...
  • Zleet
    Bad precedent as sites like Youtube have very similar problems with users uploading copywritten material and being rewarded for hits.
  • Kevin
    They are one of the more blatent copyright flaunters. If they can say what % is legitimate then why do they not stop the % they know isn't? It's all about doing something about illegal material (which is why YouTube and Google still exist) that stops them being closed down. This is simply the law being enforced on activities that have been allowed to flourish since around 1994 when the WWW kicked off properly. It could have happened from day 1. And because it's been seen as totally normal for so many people they've never known any different and they really don't realise what they are doing is illegal. But the owners, oh yes guilty as hell and I think this is the first of many, under legitimate existing laws. Just because you got away with it doesn't mean it has become legal.
  • oliverreed
    Soon you'll be an extradition candidate for playing music in ear shot of someone else. Love the way the others are still 'at large' they aren't murderers or terrorists. Who costs the world the most money - bankers or piracy?
  • rob
    @rich Haha
  • The B.
    To be fair the problem they cited was not that content was either hosted or not removed in time it was because known copyright files were not added to the download stats and rankings and not reachable via the search engines in a blatant attempt to obfuscate the material from authorities. Although I do think this is the first step on the road to the likes of Fileserve, Rapidshare, etc disappearing, which is a shame because that's where I get all my illegal content from.
  • youtorrentazureus
    I don't download anything illegal. I just didn't pay for a copy it. Illegal would be like snuff videos and violent sex, which of course you need to pay for with a credit card. Funny old world, isn't it?
  • Noghar
    My wife spent two years writing a book with every hour of spare time she had. She was thrilled when it got published and she started getting paid for all her hard work and dedication. Last week she found it on the Megaupload site, which listed it as having been downloaded gratis 19,000 times. OK, maybe not all of those downloaders would have bought the ebook - but if only a tenth of them would have, she's still out a few thousand dollars. And the downloaders can't claim it was the only way they could get a copy - it's right there on Amazon for less than ten bucks. It wasn't her who called in the FBI, of course, but we didn't exactly weep when we heard. File sharing. It's all good clean fun until people start ripping YOU off.
  • Frank P.
    I once downloaded a Basil Brush DVD. Does that mean I need to hide under my bed in case the FBI come for me?
  • Frank P.
    I once downloaded a Basil Brush DVD and have been hiding under my bed from the FBI since yesterday.
  • Tom
    Boom Boom.
  • oliverred
    80% of bootlegged stuff would never have been paid for also the money that isn't being spent on an album or film is simply spent else where, the money does not disappear it simply gets spent elsewhere. Bet these guys still paid their taxes unlike so many other huge corporations.
  • Mike H.
    I download trials of applications, music, games, movies etc. They just happen to come with a crack to circumvent the expiration period. It is when you use this 'crack' that it becomes illegal, so you have a choice. I listen to the music, play the games and watch the movie to see if I like it. If I don't, I don't keep it. What the fuck do you think people do with the Love Film DVD's? Send them back without copying them?

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