Megaupload Taken Down On Piracy Allegations

Popular file-hosting site Megaupload, probably known to our readers for a variety of reasons, has been taken down after the FBI charged some of its staff with copyright infringement and “conspiracy to commit racketeering.” Seven people have been charged, and four arrested (in New Zealand), and the site itself appears to be down as authorities around the world closed in on the site’s resources.

Bizarrely, it was also just revealed that the CEO of the company is none other than Swizz Beats, the husband of Alicia Keys. Clearly the rabbit hole goes much deeper than the FBI expected.

Mr. Beats is just the acting CEO, and probably was brought on by founder Kim Dotcom as part of the site’s efforts to legitimize itself in the eyes of the law. Part of this effort was the publication of the so-called “Mega Song,” in which a number of musicians espouse the service as a useful and fast way of transferring files.

In December, Will.I.Am, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and the others pulled their support, and it was claimed that they never consented to appearing in the video, which was subsequently removed from YouTube.

Naturally, it was quickly replaced by users who had downloaded it, and you can watch it below:

Megaupload filed a countersuit against UMG regarding the video, but there doesn’t appear to be any movement by the company on today’s news. The Department of Justice has issued a press release describing the action taken and the employees who were indicted; the release also alleges that Megaupload failed to comply with DMCA provisions.

The FBI stressed that the takedown had nothing to do with the ongoing SOPA/PIPA controversy; indeed, a direct takedown of the site with international cooperation is much more in line with existing methods for dealing with “rogue” websites.

It seems as if the whole story will have to come out in court, as Megaupload likely doesn’t have the resources to continue operating while its staff is on the lam. It should make for interesting reading once the dust settles.

Update: In retaliation, Anonymous, or one of their many members or factions claiming to be Anonymous, has attacked the Justice Department’s site and appear to have brought it down. AnonOps summarizes: “Tango down!”

Update 2: It seems that Swizz Beats is not in fact acting CEO, or really involved with Megaupload in any serious capacity. It seems like the NY Post had a bad source.