FBI Shuts Down Megaupload File-Sharing Site With Online Piracy Indictments
Megaupload, one of the largest file-sharing services on the Internet, has been shut down by federal prosecutors on charges that it systematically abetted widespread piracy of copyrighted music, movies, video and other intellectual property.Just a day after a 24-hour blackout of popular Websites such as Wikipedia, Reddit and BoingBoing, which were protesting a pair of controversial anti-piracy bills making their way through Congress, federal law enforcement stepped in and shut down one of the world's largest file-sharing sites. The 72-page indictment, unsealed Jan. 19, accuses seven individuals and two corporations, Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited, of costing copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue from pirated movies and other content. The individuals face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on racketeering charges, five years for conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, 20 years on money laundering charges and five years on related charges.
The activist hacker collective Anonymous and allies were swift to launch distributed denial-of-service attacks in retaliation for the indictments and the takedown of the Megaupload site, blacking out a number of U.S. government and industry Websites. The sites-including the FBI, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Copyright Office and several entertainment giants, including Universal Music, Recording Industry Association of America and Motion Picture Association of America-were knocked offline Jan. 19 and remained unavailable for the remainder of the day and evening.