Megaupload Has Been Shut Down by the DoJ
Justice Department Charges Leaders of Megaupload with Widespread Online Copyright Infringement
An indictment was given against the individuals and two corporations, Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited.
The investigation was initiated and led by the FBI at the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), with assistance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. Kim Dotcom, Ortmann, Megaupload.com chief marketing officer Finn Batao, and developer Bram van der Kolk are currently in custody in New Zealand according to the FBI. Bencko, Echternach and Nomm remain at large.
*The link may not be working since Anonymous has taken down DoJ, UMG websites, and possibly Whitehouse.gov next.*
Both companies were 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. The individuals each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the charge of conspiracy to commit racketeering, five years in prison on the charge of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, 20 years in prison on the charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and five years in prison on each of the substantive charges of criminal copyright infringement.
The indictment alleges that the criminal enterprise is led by Kim Dotcom, aka Kim Schmitz and Kim Tim Jim Vestor, 37, a resident of both Hong Kong and New Zealand. Dotcom founded Megaupload Limited and is the director and sole shareholder of Vestor Limited, which has been used to hold his ownership interests in the Mega-affiliated sites.
In addition, the following alleged members of the Mega conspiracy were charged in the indictment:
- Finn Batato, 38, a citizen and resident of Germany, who is the chief marketing officer.
- Julius Bencko, 35, a citizen and resident of Slovakia, who is the graphic designer.
- Sven Echternach, 39, a citizen and resident of Germany, who is the head of business development.
- Mathias Ortmann, 40, a citizen of Germany and resident of both Germany and Hong Kong, who is the chief technical officer, co-founder and director.
- Andrus Nomm, 32, a citizen of Estonia and resident of both Turkey and Estonia, who is a software programmer and head of the development software division.
- Bram van der Kolk, aka Bramos, 29, a Dutch citizen and resident of both the Netherlands and New Zealand, who oversees programming and the underlying network structure for the Mega conspiracy websites.
Megaupload.com, is advertised as having more than one billion visits to the site, more than 150 million registered users, 50 million daily visitors and accounting for 4% of the total traffic on the Internet. The estimated harm caused by the conspiracy’s criminal conduct to copyright holders is well in excess of $500 million.
Megaupload is currently down right now as of 4:00PM PST *1/19/12 and when typed in the URL the website will time out.