Business, Finance & Economics

Megaupload shut down by federal prosecutors

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Hackers are lining up to target the US government if a bill that they say would threaten internet freedom is passed by the US Congress.

Credit:

Spencer Platt

Megaupload.com, one of the world’s largest file-sharing sites, was shut down on Thursday, according to the Associated Press. Federal prosecutors charged the founder and several company executives with violating piracy laws.

Tech blog Gizmodo revealed that rap producer Swizz Beatz, also known for being Alicia Keys' husband, was the CEO of the site, which was accused of costing over $500 million in lost revenue. Founder Kim “Dotcom” Schmitz was one of the people arrested in connection with the case.

The Justice Department called this “among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States,” reported Wired. The indictment of the Hong Kong-based site which reportedly generated $175 million in profits (according to Forbes) said that at one point it was the 13th most popular website in the world, according to Fox News.

More on GlobalPost: What is SOPA?

Dotcom was arrested in New Zealand, along with Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk, while three others remain at large, said Forbes. The seven were indicted on Jan. 5, and charged with “racketeering conspiracy and conspiring to commit copyright infringement” and could face up to 55 years in prison.

The site’s shutdown and subsequent arrests come just a day after many popular websites held a “blackout” in protest of the SOPA anti-piracy bill.

More on GlobalPost: SOPA: Has the internet won?

Though the site was accused of extensive copyright infringement of movies “often before their theatrical release, music, television programs, electronic books, and business and entertainment software on a massive scale,” it enjoyed support from many celebrities and high profile names, as can be seen from the video below, originally posted by Wired.

Megaupload