One day following the SOPA and PIPA blackout protest, Hong Kong based upload and file sharing website MegaUpload.com, one of the world’s largest file sharing sites, has been shut down by Federal prosecutors for Piracy violations. The shutdown came following a blackout by mega sites such as Wikipedia, Craigslist, Reddit and Mozilla, who all protested Bill 3261 by blacking out their sites opposing the bill – a bill which claims that it will fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods especially by foreign infringers.
Currently more than six individuals are being charged with violating piracy laws which can land them charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, money laundering and other charges. Racketeering has a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, while conspiracy to commit copyright infringement carries 5 years and money laundering 20 years.
Founder of MegaUpload, Kim Schmitz, who changed his name legally to Kim Dotcom was arrested in New Zealand on Thursday along with three others while several others are being sought.
Meanwhile, several celebrities have been linked to endorsement of the file sharing site MegaUpload including Kim Kardashian, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg and will.i.am.
Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys and will.i.am endorsed MegaUpload.com via a music video “The Mega Song,” which was removed off YouTube at the request of UMG. Megaupload requested UMG to apologize after stating that it had agreements with the artists and there was no infringing content. UMG allegedly told Megaupload that it had a UMG-YouTube agreement which gave them the right to block or remove user-posted videos. Later YouTube returned the video to it’s website and stated that their partners do not have the right to remove or take-down videos unless they hold the copyright to it or have exclusive agreements with the performers.
As for Hip Hop music producer Swizz Beatz, husband to Alicia Keys, he has also been attached to the company MegaUpload.com in more than one way. Swizz Beatz is being stated to have been named the CEO of the company. The hip hop music producer has declined to comment on the matter.