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Mega Indictment

Mega Indictment

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Published by Forbes
indictment of megaupload and its founder kim dotcom
indictment of megaupload and its founder kim dotcom

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Published by: Forbes on Jan 19, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/22/2012

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2
GENERAL ALLEGATIONS
At all times relevant to this Indictment:1.
 
KIM DOTCOM, MEGAUPLOAD LIMITED, VESTOR LIMITED, FINNBATATO, JULIUS BENCKO, SVEN ECHTERNACH, MATHIAS ORTMANN, ANDRUSNOMM, and BRAM VAN DER KOLK, the defendants, and others known and unknown to theGrand Jury, were members of the “Mega Conspiracy,” a worldwide criminal organization whosemembers engaged in criminal copyright infringement and money laundering on a massive scalewith estimated harm to copyright holders well in excess of $500,000,000 and reported income inexcess of $175,000,000.2.
 
Megaupload.com is a commercial website and service operated by the MegaConspiracy that reproduces and distributes copies of popular copyrighted content over theInternet without authorization. Since at least September 2005, Megaupload.com has been usedby the defendants and other members and associates of the Mega Conspiracy to willfullyreproduce and distribute many millions of infringing copies of copyrighted works, includingmotion pictures, television programs, musical recordings, electronic books, images, video games,and other computer software. Over the more than five years of its existence, the MegaConspiracy has aggressively expanded its operations into a large number of related Internetbusinesses, which are connected directly to, or at least financially dependent upon, the criminalconduct associated with Megaupload.com.3.
 
Megaupload.com was at one point in its history estimated to be the 13th mostfrequently visited website on the entire Internet. The site claims to have had more than onebillion visitors in its history, more than 180,000,000 registered users to date, an average of 
 
350 million daily visits, and to account for approximately four percent of the total traffic onthe Internet.4.
 
Megaupload.com’s income comes primarily from two sources: premiumsubscriptions and online advertising. Premium subscriptions for Megaupload.com have beenavailable for online purchase for as little as a few dollars per day or as much as approximately$260 for a lifetime. In exchange for payment, the Mega Conspiracy provides the fastreproduction and distribution of infringing copies of copyrighted works from its computerservers located around the world. Premium users of the site, a small percentage of the overalluser base, are able to download and upload files with few, if any, limitations. Subscription feescollected during the existence of the Mega Conspiracy from premium users are estimated to bemore than $150 million. Online advertising on Megaupload.com and its associated websites,which is heavily dependent on the popularity of copyright infringing content to attract websitevisits, has further obtained more than $25 million for the Mega Conspiracy.5.
 
The financial proceeds of Megaupload.com have been primarily directed to foursources. First, the Conspiracy has directed the bulk of its revenues to the defendants, corporateentities they control, other co-conspirators, and employees for their private financial gain.Second, the Mega Conspiracy has spent millions of dollars developing and promotingMegaupload.com and complementary Internet sites and services, such as Megavideo.com,Megaclick.com, Megaporn.com, and a host of others (collectively the “Mega Sites”). Third, formuch of its operation, the Mega Conspiracy has offered an “Uploader Rewards” Program, whichpromised premium subscribers transfers of cash and other financial incentives to upload popularworks, including copyrighted works, to computer servers under the Mega Conspiracy’s directcontrol and for the Conspiracy’s ultimate financial benefit. The more popular content that was

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