Heute hat das FBI eine konzertierte Aktion gegen Megaupload gestartet und sieben Leute in Neuseeland verhaftet. Megaupload ist damit Geschichte und Kimble vorerst mal wieder im Knast zusammen mit sechs seiner MU-Partner, mehrere davon aus Deutschland. (Ich ignoriere den Typen wie ich nur kann, aber das hier muss ich bloggen – im Gegensatz zu dem ätzenden Werbevideo von vor ein paar Wochen). Das Wall Street Journal hat einen Artikel dazu, mehr Details vom Department of Justice:
Seven individuals and two corporations have been charged in the United States with running an international organized criminal enterprise allegedly responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works, through Megaupload.com and other related sites, generating more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and causing more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners, the U.S. Justice Department and FBI announced today.
This action is among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States and directly targets the misuse of a public content storage and distribution site to commit and facilitate intellectual property crime.
The individuals and two corporations – Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited – were indicted by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia on Jan. 5, 2012, and charged with engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement. The individuals each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the charge of conspiracy to commit racketeering, five years in prison on the charge of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, 20 years in prison on the charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering and five years in prison on each of the substantive charges of criminal copyright infringement.
The indictment alleges that the criminal enterprise is led by Kim Dotcom, aka Kim Schmitz and Kim Tim Jim Vestor, 37, a resident of both Hong Kong and New Zealand. Dotcom founded Megaupload Limited and is the director and sole shareholder of Vestor Limited, which has been used to hold his ownership interests in the Mega-affiliated sites.
In addition, the following alleged members of the Mega conspiracy were charged in the indictment:
Finn Batato, 38, a citizen and resident of Germany, who is the chief marketing officer;
Julius Bencko, 35, a citizen and resident of Slovakia, who is the graphic designer;
Sven Echternach, 39, a citizen and resident of Germany, who is the head of business development;
Mathias Ortmann, 40, a citizen of Germany and resident of both Germany and Hong Kong, who is the chief technical officer, co-founder and director;
Andrus Nomm, 32, a citizen of Estonia and resident of both Turkey and Estonia, who is a software programmer and head of the development software division;
Bram van der Kolk, aka Bramos, 29, a Dutch citizen and resident of both the Netherlands and New Zealand, who oversees programming and the underlying network structure for the Mega conspiracy websites.
Dotcom, Batato, Ortmann and van der Kolk were arrested today in Auckland, New Zealand, by New Zealand authorities, who executed provisional arrest warrants requested by the United States. Bencko, Echternach and Nomm remain at large. Today, law enforcement also executed more than 20 search warrants in the United States and eight countries, seized approximately $50 million in assets and targeted sites where Megaupload has servers in Ashburn, Va., Washington, D.C., the Netherlands and Canada. In addition, the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., ordered the seizure of 18 domain names associated with the alleged Mega conspiracy.
[update] Hier die Anklageschrift:
[update] Anonymous hat nach der Schließung von Megaupload die Websites der RIAA, der MPAA, Justice Dep. und von Universal attackiert. Die sind anscheinend grade alle down. Ich hatte das grade auf Twitter so formuliert: „Begun the Copyright-Wars have.“
[update] Liveticker von The Verge
[update] hadopi.fr is gone.
[update] iRights.info: „Neben dem FBI und dem National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) seien an den Ermittlungen zahlreiche US- und ausländische Behörden beteiligt: in Neuseeland, Hong Kong, den Niederlanden, England, Kanda, Australien, den Philippinen. Auch das Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) und deutsche Staatsanwaltschaften hätten bei den Ermittlungen geholfen.“
[update] Gizmodo: „the Anonymous DDoS planning committee is chittering so quickly, it's making my laptop fan spin.“
The hosting site MegaUpload was raided by police today, on orders by US federal authorities. MegaUpload’s owner, New Zealand based Kim ”Dotcom” Scmitz, and three associates were also arrested. The Swedish Pirate Party strongly condemns this action.
- MegaUpload was well-known to act in accordance with the law, says Anna Troberg, the Pirate Party’s leader, but was still a thorn in the side of American business interests.
- The service was based in New Zealand, Troberg goes on. That makes the issue even more problematic. Someone should explain to both the copyright industry and the New Zealand justice system that United States law does not apply to the rest of the world.
The timing of the raid is politically conspicuous since it comes the day after the largest protest against abuse of power in the history of the Internet, a protest against the net censorship bill SOPA. The Internet is currently in an uproar. Troberg foresees that the political consequences will escalate switfly.
- MegaUpload had 150 million members, says Troberg. That means they also have 150 million voters. This will give the Pirate Party and our international sisterparties a lot of traction.
This raid has many similarities with the raid against The Pirate Bay on May 31, 2006. There, too, it became apparent that American business interests were behind the raid, and there too were there major political ramifications. Among other things, it led to the Swedish Pirate Party gaining 7,1% of the votes in the European Parliamentary elections of 2009.
- This demonstrates with all desirable clarity that the copyright industry is a real threat against democratic societies. They will stop at nothing in their struggle against entering the future.
[update] FBI.gov is gone.