Megaupload indictment returned with charges added for Kim Dotcom and others


Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom appears in Auckland's North Shore District Court after his arrest in this still image taken from a Jan. 20, 2012 video. (REUTERS TV/REUTERS)
February 17, 2012

The Justice Department on Friday said that more counts of copyright infringement and fraud have been added to its indictment of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and several of his associates.

The superseding indictment also cast light on how prosecutors say Megaupload.com was being used. The file-sharing site claimed to have had more than 180 million registered users, but in fact, the document says that Megaupload’s internal databases show that the site had only 66.6 million as of Jan. 19, 2012. Furthermore, the records reveal that only 5.86 million of these users ever uploaded a file to either Megaupload.com or Megavideo.com, prosecutors said.

The indictment offers some details on one particularly egregious user. The person, known as “VV” in the company’s records, uploaded approximately 16,950 files to Megaupload’s sites. These items were viewed more than 34 million times and included what prosecutors said were infringed copies of movies such as “Ocean’s Thirteen,” Pixar’s “Ratatouille, and “Evan Almighty,” which stars Steve Carell.

Megaupload was shut down in January by federal authorities who accused the site of copyright infringement and fraud. The Post reported at the time, “Investigators say Megaupload’s executives made more than $175 million through subscription fees and online ads while robbing authors, movie producers, musicians and other copyright holders of more than $500 million.”

Soon after the announcement of the legal action, the Justice Department’s Web site was shut down. Informal hacking collective Anonymous took credit for the breach and said it was in retaliation for the government’s move against Megaupload.

Related stories:

Megaupload data could be deleted

Federal indictment claims popular Web site Megaupload.com shared pirated material

Megaupload had several celebrity backers

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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