A little over a month since the release of the Megaupload Song New Zealand police have arrested co-founders Kim Dotcom and Mathias Ortmann along with two of their underlings today. Some irony at play in that yesterday was Wikipedia/Reddit/etc’s annoying-but-effective SOPA protest/blackout.
Federal prosecutors have accused it of costing copyright holders more than $500m (£320m) in lost revenue. The firm says it was diligent in responding to complaints about pirated material.
The news came a day after anti-piracy law protests, but investigators said they were ordered two weeks ago.
The US Justice Department said that Megaupload’s two co-founders Kim Dotcom, formerly known as Kim Schmitz, and Mathias Ortmann were arrested in Auckland, New Zealand along with two other employees of the business at the request of US officials. It added that three other defendants were still at large.
“This action is among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States and directly targets the misuse of a public content storage and distribution site to commit and facilitate intellectual property crime,” said a statement posted on its website.
The good news is that the charges sound flimsy at a glance, specifically:
It claimed that the accused had pursued a business model designed to promote the uploading of copyrighted works.
“The conspirators allegedly paid users whom they specifically knew uploaded infringing content and publicised their links to users throughout the world,” a statement said.
“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.”
Although this is probably true and very common-sense sounding, Megaupload has all the plausible deniability in the world: the argument being made here is that not providing a search engine on your website constitutes criminal intent.
Anonymous was quick to take action:
Hacktivists with the collective Anonymous are waging an attack on the website for the White House after successfully breaking the sites for the Department of Justice, Universal Music Group, RIAA and Motion Picture Association of America.
In response to today’s federal raid on the file sharing service Megaupload, hackers with the online collective Anonymous have broken the websites for the Department of Justice, Universal Music Group, RIAA and Motion Picture Association of America.
“It was in retaliation for Megaupload, as was the concurrent attack on Justice.org,” Anonymous operative Barrett Brown tells RT on Thursday afternoon.
Brown adds that “more is coming” and Anonymous-aligned hacktivists are pursuing a joint effort with others to “damage campaign raising abilities of remaining Democrats who support SOPA.”
This promises to be one helluva show!