Megaupload Shuts Down, Arrests Have Been Made

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 20, 2012
Updated • Jan 26, 2012
File Sharing, Internet

The popular file hosting site Megaupload has been shut down by US authorities on Thursday, and the site's leaders have been charged with widespread online copyright infringement. According to an US Department of Justice press release, Megaupload generated more than "$175 million in criminal proceeds" and caused more than "half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners".

Seven members of the site and two corporations - Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited - were indicted by a grand jury in Virgina, and charged "with engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement".

Arrests have been made in New Zealand, were Megaupload founder Kim Schmitz and three others were arrested at the request of US officials. According to The Verge, a total of 20 search warrants have been issued in the US and eight other countries including The Netherlands, Germany, Canada and Australia. In addition, assets worth more than $50 million US Dollars have been seized as well as 18 domain names associated with the business.

Users who try to open the Megaupload website, any of the site's inner pages, hosted files or one of the related domain names will notice that all connections time out. Megaupload, which has been listed as one of the top 100 sites at Alexa, and its cousin site Megavideo, in the sub 200 rankings, have been two of the most popular file sharing sites on the Internet.

The core question that many Internet users will have right now is if this will affect other file sharing services like Rapidshare as well.

If you read the Department of Justice press release thoroughly you will notice that much of it can be applied to nearly every popular file sharing site on the Internet.

  • A business model expressly designed to promote uploading of the most popular copyrighted works for many millions of users to download
  • A structure to discourage the vast majority of its users from using Megaupload for long-term or personal storage by automatically deleting content that was not regularly downloaded
  • A rewards program that would provide users with financial incentives to upload popular content and drive web traffic to the site, often through user-generated websites known as linking sites.

Will we see a ripple effect? What's your take? (via Neowin)

Update: The Department of Justice website, as well as several music industry related websites are currently targeted by Anonymous as a response to the take down of Megaupload. More information here at The Next Web.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. b003 said on January 22, 2012 at 5:23 am

    If only they were this diligent in stopping the Russians and Chinese launching cyber attacks against us.

    Now I gotta send money to and African prince so he can bring me my lottery winnings.

    1. Midnight said on January 22, 2012 at 9:51 am

      You’re asking too much, b003, as what the FBI and other authorities did to Megaupload was not only Illegal but inappropriate, to say the least!

      This makes it quite evident that SOPA/PIPA are unnecessary, since the FBI can do whatever it wants, any time it wants, Legally or otherwise!!

      To stop the Russians and Chinese requires much more finesse!

      As for the Online Scams coming from Nigeria and other African countries, keep your money as you Never won any Lottery!!

  2. hak01 said on January 21, 2012 at 7:47 am

    f*** SOPA…

  3. Roman ShaRP said on January 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    This is like weather for now – it just happens, but life goes on.

    Majority (I think more than 90% of computer and Internet users) never support rightsholders side in any case. Every closing of one service (like that Napster) just gave momentum to even more and more filesharing options, voices and movements of dissent and calls to stop copyright handcuffers.

    People wants to be free and do everything they want – including sharing and copying and ignoring or breaking license terms.

    If you want to stop that – well, you have to jail 90%.

    1. DanTe said on January 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm

      Or the 10% can just stop producing the contents since they’re not being paid by the 90% for their work anyway. Than the 90% can start stealing from each other – oh wait, they don’t produce anything. Nothing left to steal.

  4. Austin Hoffman said on January 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I can’t believe they went and arrested him in ANOTHER country!!!

    p.s. LOL @list of the owner’s seized cars: (i call dibz on the royce!)

  5. DanTe said on January 20, 2012 at 2:12 am

    In order for U.S. authorities to have an arrest warrant issued, they must have some pretty damning evidence to show to the judge. (Act of war arrests follows different rules.)

    First: I hack as a hobby and while I have all the legal licenses, I do like to use hacked software to bypass snooping. That said, I do believe the folks in comments here “doth proteth too much” :)

  6. Robert Palmar said on January 20, 2012 at 1:44 am

    “$175 million in criminal proceeds” according to the US Department of Justice.
    More like according to the MPAA which counts every pirated movie as a lost sale.

    Hollywood has just stated donations to Obama will cease with his waffling on SOPA.
    This action is more PR than anything for the administration to suck up to Hollywood.

    1. Midnight said on January 20, 2012 at 2:59 am

      By the time SOPA and PIPA ever see the light in Congress, Osama Obama will be long gone from the White House and his replacement will be faced with such backlash from opposition and the public, he will have no choice but to Veto the whole scenario!

      The Government is clueless when it comes to the Internet, so they can’t be expected to control it, let alone impose restrictions on something that’s beyond their control!!

  7. Midnight said on January 20, 2012 at 1:37 am

    This was actually a joint venture from authorities from numerous countries that led to what I believe to be a temporary closure.

    Once proven that Megaupload committed no offenses, they will be back up and running and those so-called authorities will look like a bunch of fools!!

    They attempted to shut down RapidShare, which failed, as well as several other sites, to no avail.

    If the Federal authorities even think that they can control or eliminate pirating, they’re severely mistaken!!

    U.S. Congress is attempting to introduce two bills, namely SOPA and PIPA, but the public outcry and protests will bury those two bills before they ever become law!!

    The U.S. has bigger issues to deal with, to include their failing economy, Immigration and countless problems the country faces, so best they stop interfering with people’s privacy and their rights!!

    1. Grr said on January 21, 2012 at 3:43 am

      I have to differ you on rapidshare.

      Though it wasn’t taken down, it was forced to null accounts of all those users (free + paid) which had copyright content.


  8. Dave said on January 20, 2012 at 1:31 am

    This smells of another “guilty until proven innocent” case. How come they can shut down the website before any due process or court decision on guilt? Is it also more than just coincidence that it’s happened whilst the controversy about SOPA is on-going? If they can do this as a matter of course, why do they need SOPA at all? Many questions need to be answered here, I feel.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.