Federal prosecutors shut down Megaupload file-sharing site, founders charged

Details are still somewhat light at the moment, but reports are now coming out that the popular Megaupload file-sharing site has been shut down by Federal prosecutors in the US, and that the site's founders and other individuals have been charged with violating piracy laws. According to The New York Times, the indictment says that the company has cost copyright holders some $500 million in lost revenue, and that the site was at one time the 13th most popular on the internet. As the Times also notes, this news comes a day after Megaupload voluntarily blacked out its website to protest the SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy legislation now being considered by Congress.

Update: As The Verge reports, the indictment itself doesn't mince any words, calling Megaupload an "international organized criminal enterprise allegedly responsible for massive worldwide online piracy," and alleging that Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom et al generated more than $175 million in "criminal proceeds." Those charges also come with some potentially hefty prison sentences, including a maximum 20 years for conspiracy to commit racketeering, five years for copyright infringement, 20 years for money laundering, and five years for each of the substantive charges of criminal copyright infringement.

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