Breaking: MegaUpload shut down, founder arrested

35 Comments

Updated. The FBI has indicted MegaUpload on racketeering and criminal copyright infringement charges, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. (s nws) The FBI apparently got help from law enforcement authorities around the world, as MegaUpload’s servers have been taken down. The WSJ is also reporting that four people have been arrested in New Zealand.

It’s unclear at this point whether Kim Schmitz, who has recently been calling himself Kim Dotcom, is amongst those arrested. Schmitz used to live in Germany, but relocated to New Zealand a few years ago. Also unclear is whether the FBI will charge Alicia Keys’ husband Kasseem Dean a.k.a. Swizz Beatz, who was outed as MegaUpload’s new CEO by the New York Post yesterday.

Update: The FBI has confirmed that local authorities have in  fact arrested Kim Schmitz as well as three other MegaUpload employees. There are outstanding arrest warrants for three additional employees.

Update 2: The FBI has said in a press release that it and other law enforcement agencies have executed 20 search warrants in eight countries, seizing $50 million in assets and taking down MegaUpload’s servers. The agency is alleging that MegaUpload generated more than $175 million in profits and caused “more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners.”

Update 3: Raids were conducted in New Zealand, Hong Kong, the U.S., the Netherlands, the U.K., Germany and Canada, according to a Justice department press release.

Update 4: The full indictment is now available online.

Update 5: Read all about the juicy details in the indictment.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.

35 Comments

Xero

brand new CD price 1995: $19.99
brand new CD price 2012 after advent of piracy: $9.99
(just based on personal experience purchasing Green Day: Dookie in 95 and All Time Low: Nothing personal in ’12 both from a Target store) Sure stealing is wrong but a large percentage of people pirating wouldn’t spend the money on the actual product anyway. Seems like prices are still reasonable as well, so let our FBI spend their time a little more wisely like catching mass murderers instead of messing with internet companies that aren’t even in the same country. That’s like making sure someone doesn’t jaywalk while 8 drunk drivers go by XD

Jeremy Tellier

When are they going to shut down scribd for hosting that indictment without written consent or an IP agreement.

jhvjhvhjv

Ugh. They were advocating the ability to commit acts of piracy. Which IS stealing. Go on to deviant art sometime, find an artist and pick something out of their gallery. Ask them if you can copy it without their permission and distribute it freely. They will not only tell you “fuck off you thieving piece of shit,” but they will also contact whatever authority they can get to have you banned/prosecuted.
I think it’s wrong record companies get the rights to the work their artists produce, but that’s up to the artists to fight. If they were really so miserable and poor they would leave.
All of these pathetic, flimsy and see through “piracy isn’t stealing” arguments are so ridiculous. You ARE stealing, at least have the guts to admit it.
I disagree with SOPA and PIPA completely, because it will censor something that’s supposed to be free. But I don’t advocate piracy, it IS wrong. And it DOES affect real life prices and has real life consequences.

No More

Things like this make me think those who expatriate have the right idea and a good deal of foresight. It’s loathsome that the government will spend so much tax payer money on breaking up a site that was also used just as much for legitimate reasons, yet they can’t fix our economy, they can’t close gaps in our borders, they can’t stop poking their noses where it doesn’t belong, they can’t remove their overpaid heads from their collective backsides, and they can’t stop spending OUR money overseas! Meanwhile they sit in Congress and collect a fat paycheck for debating like old biddies over a winning bingo card they all pitched in on. It’s pathetic and makes us look utterly foolish and childish to the rest of the world. Thanks for making the average US citizen feel unwelcome to travel and making us look like nosy thieving scum to a large portion of the world. Funny though how fast they all react to perceived theft of properties made in our country. It’s pathetic at best and does much to prove to many that Congress is paid off by those in entertainment and business and will react in their interests yet they can’t even protect it’s own people or feed many of those that are homeless. Yet they have no problem sending billions of dollars of food and aid to other countries that have never done a thing to help anyone. They need a wake up call and soon. Couple this bust with the failure of SOPA/PIPA talks going forward and this shows just how petty our government really is. They got knocked down a notch by the people so they respond by an immediate press worthy show of misplaced force. Nothing new, but it just reinforces my point that everyday I (and I am sure countless others) am rapidly becoming less proud to be an American. It should be a badge of honor to live in what is supposed to be a free country, yet if the government continues along it’s current path of barreling around like a bull moose during rutting season, it will only be a badge of shame and a marked stain on it’s people. Stop trying to play world police and stop spending MY hard earned money on your greedy and invasive gains! Clean up your act Congress before it’s too late and the people have to come and clean it up for you! Feed the people in our own country before you seek to spend MY damn money elsewhere on the planet. Fix our borders and look inward or we’re truly and completely screwed while you are so focused outward.

Aniruddha Mallik

This was coming and the signs don’t look great for similar sites like Rapidshare, Hotfile, Fileserve, etc.

Shakir Razak

Hi,

Excuse my naiveté, but can someone please explain to me how American Authorities have managed to shut down a global Internet site with such breadth of usage, without anyone having any trial yet (or even court-ordered injunction for the site itself)?

Thanks in advance.

Yours kindly,

Shakir Razak

Prasun Sinha

A really busy month – SOPA/PIPA, this MegaUpload thing, CricInfo-ESPN sending notices to users that viewed pirated streams in the past… A lot of action in the online piracy/copyright infringement front. While I’m not condoning piracy/copyright infringement, I wonder where it all will lead us to.

Anders Hofsten

worth noting is that the majority of the traffic on megaupload is legal. it’s like suing the postoffice because they delivered a box with a bomb in it.

rick gregory

See? You can go after pirates without SOPA/PIPA… so the reason for them again was… what?

F-USA

So that the United States Of Assho…I mean America can increase their powerhold even more. And soon they’ll have a police which operates in every country…I long for a riot to end the US once and for all.

Wisnu Wardana

i agree with u..
the freedom is gone and world is going isolated with those SOPA and PIPA..

Roberto Ciamora

its like having a wherehouse and allowing people to buy, sell and trade stolen property in it

In the real world, you go to jail for that, shouldnt work any diffrent in cyberspace

ansi

Yeah, that’s true, in the other hand it will be mission impossible for the third world to buy original dvd that cost $15 to $30 or more (which is can be a half of his monthly earning lol), it will be like only rich people can have access to internet & original dvd’s & datas like music & programs…, which really sucks & not fair at all.
thos stupid big corporation are already making billion of dollars even with piracy, why the hell do they want to kill the rest of the world just to get richer & richer !!!

Paul

Yes and no, rayw. Is that knowing something stealing? Like, for example, having a copy of a book, whitout paying, is stealing it? Even if it is not allowed to copy is not stealing. It is a kind of wrong but it is a wrong that humanly right. People need information and it should be a right. Don’t care if you had the idea first or what. Knowledge must not be a good. Should be a right. And art, as movies, books and music is knowledge too.

sophi

that analogy would make sense if digital goods were subject to the same scarcity as physical goods.

Bryan

The analogy would make MORE sense, you mean, Sophi. Just because its logic is a bit tenuous doesn’t mean the overall point isn’t accurate.

rayw

Digital goods also cost money. And the “they are making enough money” is no reason to steal.

Tomas

No, it’s not like that at all…

If you want to make that type of analogy then it would be like prosecuting the wherehouse owner for not making -absolute certain- that any of the stuff the people store in their rented spaces were legally theirs.

Gigi Coutcout

Yes, but in this case the warehouse owner (Kim) is organizing the whole operation: he pays users to upload movie and gets paid by “premium” users.
It’s a criminal organization.

Martin Czajkowski

Its not the first time that Kim “Kimble” Schmitz will be in prison :)

lechatnoir

I was thinking the same thing lol! in the early 2000s he was sent down for something similar. He still hasn’t lost weight. I always get the feeling that he’s going to blow up.He always looks constipated.

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