megaupload logo US shuts down Megaupload, arrests founders without SOPA

The US Department of Justice and the FBI has shut down one of the world's largest file-sharing websites, Megaupload.com, and arrested its founders and some employees on copyright infringement charges – all without the help of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

The US Department of Justice and the FBI has shut down one of the world's largest file-sharing websites, Megaupload.com, and arrested its founders and some employees on copyright infringement charges – all without the help of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

 
In what was described as one of the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought in the US, armed police raided ten properties belonging to Megaupload staff in Auckland, New Zealand, including that of founder Kim Dotcom, who previously went by the name Kim Schmitz.
 
Dotcom was arrested on charges of racketeering, copyright infringement, and conspiring to commit money laundering, while the company's chief marketing officer, Finn Batato, and chief technical officer and co-founder, Mathias Ortmann, were arrested on similar charges. Another employee, Bram van der Kolk, was also charged, and all four were denied bail. The charges carry penalties of between five and 20 years in prison.
 
megaupload logo US shuts down Megaupload, arrests founders without SOPA
 
The move has angered some internet users, with hacktivist group Anonymous targeting the websites of the FBI, Department of Justice, and several music label and industry websites, forcing them offline. They are since back to normal.
 
Government officials said they seized almost €40 million worth of assets, as well as 18 domain names. They took the website offline last night.
 
The move comes as people and companies around the world protest against new proposed anti-piracy laws, which will allow website blocking and shutdowns, but clearly authorities do not need SOPA to take against against alleged copyright infringers.
 
Source: RTE