Megaupload faces more copyright, wire fraud charges

WASHINGTON Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:09pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. grand jury added more charges against file-sharing website Megaupload and its executives, and also accused them of taking copyrighted content from sites such as YouTube for its own service, according to a new indictment released on Friday.

The founder, Kim Dotcom, and six others employed by the site were charged with eight additional counts of copyright infringement and wire fraud. They were originally charged with five counts of conspiracy and copyright infringement.

Dotcom and four of his co-workers have been arrested and are awaiting extradition proceedings in New Zealand and the Netherlands. Two suspects remain at large.

They have been charged in a federal court in Virginia with a making millions of dollars from peddling copyrighted materials, including popular television shows, movies and music to millions of users around the world.

A lawyer for Megaupload was not immediately available for comment. Previously a lawyer for the company said the site served merely as a place for users to store data online and the company has said previously it took down content upon request.

The superseding indictment said the Megaupload site had 66.6 million registered users as of January 2012 and just under 10 percent had ever uploaded a single file, suggesting most people used the site only to download infringed material, according to the Justice Department.

The indictment also accused the group of taking copyrighted material from sites such as Google's YouTube video service for use on Megaupload websites. The Megaupload service has been shut down.

The case is USA v. Kim Dotcom et al, No. 12-cr-3, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

(Reporting By Jeremy Pelofsky; editing by Andre Grenon)

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Comments (2)
owebilly wrote:
There are thousands of sites globally which violate copyright violations. You can even find copyright violations on Youtube. I’ll bet that Youtube’s upload ratio for members is around 20%… only double that of Megaupload. Granted, if you have ever been to Megaupload, you know their MO was to make money off of copyrighted material. Do I care? No. I wish the feds would go after the real criminals… the traitors in Congress who have an invisible immunity cloak, like those in Tom Delay’s office that spent their time day-trading based on laws proposed by Congress. Those are not isolated incidents. So c’mon Mr. Attorney General (or whoever). Serve your country and bust the domestic criminals that divide America further before taking on a pet project of the MPAA and RIAA.

Feb 18, 2012 1:47am EST  --  Report as abuse
grputland wrote:
If the American jury thinks Mr Dotcom’s likely sentence is excessive, it can acquit him regardless of the “law” and the facts, and the acquittal is binding. It’s called “jury nullification”. But the jurors won’t be told this in court. They’ll need to hear about it from elsewhere. Spread the word!

Feb 18, 2012 3:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
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