File sharing website Megaupload
has been shut down by the FBI, sparking a war between hackers and the entertainment industry.
report that the Megaupload founders have been charged with copyright infringement, conspiracies to commit racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering. The FBI have reportedly seized more than $50 million in assets.
In retaliation, hacktivist group Anonymous has claimed credit for disabling websites for the RIAA
, the Department of Justice
, Universal Music group
Megaupload was at one point the 13th most popular website in the world, and prosecutors claim that it has cost copyright holders more than $500 million.
"The vast majority of Mega's internet traffic is legitimate, and we are here to stay,
" said the website in a statement prior to its closure. "If the content industry would like to take advantage of our popularity, we are happy to enter into a dialogue. We have some good ideas. Please get in touch.
The takedown harks back memories of Napster
, which was famously taken down after calls from the recording industry. With hindsight, many in the industry believe they missed an opportunity to monetize the network. Instead, it forced pirates underground to share content on torrent sites.
It is not the first time Megaupload has faced legal challenges to its operation. Universal Music has been engaged in a legal battle with the site for months, after sue of its artists were paid to lend their image to the site and a promotional video. Universal took the video down from YouTube on copyright grounds, despite the artists and Megaupload having a clear written agreement.
News of the takedown coincides with protests against the SOPA
bills, which propose anti-piracy measures. Opponents to the bill say it sets a precedent for a "Great American Firewall" which may inhibit free speech.