Yesterday, Megaupload.com was taken down by the feds. The domain name was and $50 million in assets was seized. Four of Megaupload.com’s key employees in New Zealand was arrested including Kim Schmitz (Kim Dotcom). In a 72-page indictment, prosecutors wrote that Megaupload.com earned over $175 million since the website was founded in 2005, most of it based on copyright infringement.
The website’s employees were paid lavishly and they spent a lot of their money. The 35-year-old Slovakian resident Julius Bencko made over $1 million in 2010 alone and he was just the graphic designer of the website.
Between six of the website’s employees, they owned 14 Mercedes-Benz automobiles with license plates that included “MAFIA,” “POLICE,” “STONED,” “V,” “STONED,” “GOOD,” “EVIL,” and “CEO.” They also had a 2010 Maserati, a 2008 Rolls-Royce, and a 1989 Lamborghini. They also had motor bikes, jet skis, expensive artwork, and one of them had a Predator statue.
This case is a big deal because it involved international cooperation between the U.S., Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the U.K., Germany, Canada, and the Philippines. Megaupload had 525 servers in Virginia and 630 in the Netherlands.
The prosecutors said that Megaupload.com’s executives knew full well that the website was used for infringing copyright. They had numerous internal e-mails and chat logs from employees that showed they were fully aware about copyrighted material on the website and they have shared it with each other.
Employees sent each other e-mails such as ?can u pls get me some links to the series called ?Seinfeld? from MU [Megaupload].” One employee allegedly uploaded copyright infringed content on Megaupload.com such as a BBC Earth episode in 2008.
“By all estimates, Megaupload.com is the largest and most active criminally operated website targeting creative content in the world,” said the MPAA in a statement. “This criminal case, more than two years in development, shows that law enforcement can take strong action to protect American intellectual property stolen through sites housed in the United States.”