January 19, 2012
Following a wildly successful protest against SOPA and PIPA internet censorship legislation on Wednesday, the Department of Justice “conducted a major action” on Thursday and shuttered MegaUpload, a popular file-sharing site accused of trading in copyrighted movies and television shows.
Following action by a grand jury, the feds arrested four people and executed more than 20 search warrants in the United States and eight foreign countries. They seized 18 domain names and around $10 million in assets, including a number of servers.
The grand jury indictment accuses Megaupload of causing $500 million in damages to copyright owners and of making $175 million through selling ads and premium subscriptions, according to the New York Times.
The conspicuously timed raid “on Megaupload Thursday proved that the feds don’t need SOPA or its sister legislation, PIPA, in order to pose a blow to the Web,” writes the AnonOps Communications blog.
As if to underscore the government’s determination to close down domains with or without legislation, the DOJ and the FBI released a statement Thursday characterizing the charges as “among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States and directly targets the misuse of a public content storage and distribution site to commit and facilitate intellectual property crime.”
The technology site Gigaom has posted details of the indictment against Megaupload.
Fifteen minutes after Megaupload disappeared from the internet, the hacker group Anonymous launched denial of service attack on websites run by Universal Music, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Copyright Office, the Motion Picture Association of America, and the Recording Industry Association of America.
“Megaupload was taken down w/out SOPA being law. Now imagine what will happen if it passes. The Internet as we know it will end. FIGHT BACK,” Anonymous said in a tweet.
The Twitter account under the name @YourAnonNews identifies itself as the hacker collective and states: “We are Anonymous, We are legion, We never forgive, We never forget, Expect us.”