Beloved file-sharing website Megaupload has been shut down by the FBI. That also means that Megaupload’s sister website — the decidedly more illegal (but equally beloved) Megavideo, which I certainly never visited personally — has also been shut down. According to a Bureau press release, seven individuals have been officially charged with robbing from the rich to give to the poor (and also to the young rich who don’t want to spend their allowance on new episodes of Parks & Recreation). The press release alleges that Megaupload was a criminal enterprise run by a man variously named Kim Dotcom, Kim Schmitz, and Kim Tim Jim Vestor, along with six other European dudes with exceedingly European names like Sven and Andrus and Bram. (The FBI refers to the enterprise as “The Mega Conspiracy,” which is probably already the title of Dan Brown’s next bad novel.)
Megaupload is one of the largest file-sharing websites on the Internet. The fact that the site is being shut down so soon after this week’s SOPA/PIPA controversy could indicate that 2012 will be the year that the U.S. federal government really begins to crack down on illegal file streaming. “The estimated harm caused by the conspiracy’s criminal conduct to copyright holders is well in excess of $500 million,” said the FBI. “The conspirators allegedly earned more than $175 million in illegal profits through advertising revenue and selling premium memberships.” I think we can all agree that it’s a good thing that Megaupload is gone, because now no one will ever illegally watch TV shows online ever again.
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