Megaupload, the popular file-sharing site, was shuttered Thursday and its executives indicted by the Justice Department in what the authorities said was “among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States.”
Seven individuals connected to the Hong Kong-based site were indicted on a variety of charges, including criminal copyright infringement and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Four of the members of what the authorities called a “racketeering conspiracy” were arrested Thursday in Aucklund, New Zealand, the authorities said.
One of those arrested was Kim Schmitz, aka Kim Dotcom, Megaupload’s director. His attorney, Ira Rothken of California, said neither he nor his client was given the opportunity to surrender. Kim was arrested without notice, he said.
“We’re looking into what’s going on,” Rothken said in a telephone interview.
Vistiors to the Megaupload site, which gets about 50 million hits daily, were greeted with a message from the Justice Department. ”This domain name associated with the website Megaupload.com has been seized pursuant to an order issued by a U.S. District Court.”
The government said the site facilitated copyright infringement of movies “often before their theatrical release, music, television programs, electronic books, and business and entertainment software on a massive scale.”
The indictment came as the Justice Department said it seized 18 domains in all connected to Megaupload. The agency said it executed more than 20 search warrants in the United States and eight countries, seizing $50 million in assets.
Megaupload, which charges its 150 million members for its file-sharing service, was on the recording and movie industries most-hated lists, often being accusing of facilitating wanton infringement of their members’ copyrights.
Those indicted include:
*Finn Batato, 38, a citizen and resident of Germany, chief marketing officer. *Julius Bencko, 35, a citizen and resident of Slovakia, graphic designer. *Sven Echternach, 39, a citizen and resident of Germany, head of business development.
If Everything turns out to be True. I not surprised the Site was shutdown & Employees/Founder were arrested.
Anonymous has sure been quiet lately, but today's federal bust of Megaupload riled 'em up good: a retaliatory strike against DoJ.gov has left it completely dead.
DownForEveryoneOrJustMe.com is reporting the department's site as universally nuked, and an Anonymous-affiliated Twitter account is boasting success. This is almost certainly the result of a quickly-assembled DDoS attack—and easily the widest in scope we've seen in some time. If you had any doubts Anonymous is still a hacker wrecking ball, doubt no more.
The combination of the hacking nebula's SOPA animosity—they've been a vocal opponent of the bill since its inception—combined with today's sudden Megaupload news has made the group bubble over: hundreds upon hundreds of Anon operatives are in a plotting frenzy, chatting about which site will go down next. In Anon's eyes, the government and media interests are responsible for the undue destruction of Megaupload (and the arrest of four of its operators), so it'll be exactly those entities that're feeling the pain right now. Pretty much every company that makes movies, TV, or music, along with the entirety of the federal government, is in Anonymous' crosshairs.
Update: Anonymous says they've also knocked off the RIAA's site—looks down for us at the moment as well.
Update 2: Universal Music Group has also fallen off an e-cliff.
Update 3: Goodbye for now, MPAA.org.
Update 4: Affected sites are bouncing in and out of life, and are at the very least super slow to load. Anon agents are currently trying to coordinate their DDoS attacks in the same direction via IRC.
Update 5: The US Copyright Office joins the list.
Update 6: This Anon sums up the mood in their "official" chat room at the moment: