Hong Kong-based company, Megaupload, has been shut down by US federal prosecutors due to accusations of copyright infringement and digital piracy.
Founder Kim Dotcom (born Kim Schmitz) and seven other executives of the file-sharing organisation are to be charged with credit card fraud, computer hacking, insider trading and company embezzlement. Each of the accused could face up to 50 years in prison.
According to Reuters, the notorious site (which receives 480 million hits per day and 4% of the internet population) unlawfully took $500 million away from copyright holders and generated $175 million in criminal proceeds.
The US-Australian hosted website is most popular amongst the Blogspot community, where many registrants illegally upload exclusive audio and video files via the former 13th most visited website.
In retaliation, there is speculation that the globally recognised hacking group, Anonymous, has shut down the US Department of Justice webpage. The group does not admit to such actions.
Since October 2011, the US Congress have been emphasising on anti-piracy law as the new SOPA/PIPA bill is finalised for the House of Representatives this January. Wikipedia’s co-founder, Jimmy Wales, called for a 24-hour blackout in protest against the proposal.
The acting CEO of the now-notorious organisation is Mr Swizz Beats, husband of singer-songwriter Alicia Keys.
Fintan YT Walsh