The DOJ is charging seven executives of MegaUpload with conspiracy, saying that the website is an “international organized criminal enterprise allegedly responsible for massive worldwide online piracy.” The claims also state that the up loaders reward system on the service was set up as a way to launder money. The full charges include “engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement.” Together the charges could result in up to 50 years of imprisonment.
Kim Dotcom was arrested in his home in Auckland, New Zealand. Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, and the Philippines also contributed to the effort to bring in the executives, of which four have been arrested. The DOJ has also seized more than $50 million worth of assets from the company as well as 18 domains associated with it.
Right now the MegaUpload website doesn’t even go to the ICE page we’ve seen on seized websites before, it just times out.
The timing for the raid on the company couldn’t have been worse, coming just one day after the Stop Online Piracy Act protests across the web. However, there is no question that MegaUpload was running an operation that willfully infringed on copyrights. Expect this story to be a big point in the debate over SOPA and PIPA from both sides.