The US Department of Justice has revealed evidence that it claims prove file-sharing site Megaupload knowingly engaged in copyright infringement on a massive scale in order to make money.
In a 191-page filing, the DOJ describes the operation as “a worldwide criminal enterprise, which operates and administers several Internet websites that reproduce and distribute infringing copies of copyrighted works, including motion pictures, television programs, musical recordings,electronic books, images, video games, and other computer software”.
It claims the ‘Megaupload Conspiracy’ knowingly permitted copyrighted material to be accessed on various websites which earned some $150 million for the conspirators, only making token efforts to detect or remove copyrighted files and only doing so long after receiving infringement notices.
Preliminary analysis by the DOJ demonstrates that of 2,444 files stored on two particular computer servers, more than 1,000 of the files (roughly 43 per cent) already had at least one copyright infringement takedown request submitted to the Mega Conspiracy indicating that the copy of the copyrighted work was infringing. Because the vast majority of files had multiple URL links pointing to the same file, more than 800 files had been the subject of multiple takedown requests, yet remained accessible through additional URL links.
According to an internal financial statement for Megaupload Limited, website founder and majority owner Kim Dotcom received more than $42 million from the Mega Conspiracy in calendar year 2010 alone.
Dotcom continues to maintain his innocence and the operation’s legitimacy, tweeting “Merry Xmas from DOJ & MPAA: 2 years later still NO evidence of willful copyright infringement or a Mega conspiracy”.
Dotcom is scheduled to appear in court in New Zealand in July 2014, where he will contest extradition charges.