Millions of copyrighted material were hosted on Megaupload between 2007-2012.

Department of Justice releases documents on Megaupload’s alleged illegal activity

December 26, 2013 12:49 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The internet has made it easier for users to access copyrighted material on third-party websites, but the government and the Motion Picture Association of America continues to shut down websites that violate the United States' copyright laws. Recently, Hotfile, a upload hosting website, was fined $80 million for allegedly sharing links to recently released movies and television shows.

However, before Hotfile, there was Megaupload​, which, at one point, had an average of 50 million visitors per day, taking up about 4 percent of total web traffic, according to Variety. The Department of Justice recently released a 191-page file that explains the actions Megaupload took to allegedly continue sharing copyrighted content, even though requests to take down these files happened on many occasions. Megaupload operated between 2007 and 2012, when the FBI shut the site's operations down.

According to court documents, the site "failed to disable access to the underlying copyright-infringing material or remove the file from the server." Whenever a user would flag a specific URL for showing such footage, Megaupload's Mega Conspiracy servers supposedly make the reported URL to suspend operations, after the system made a secondary link of the same material.

Warner Bros. Studios was one of many entities that sent emails to Megaupload's founders Kim Schmitz and Kim Tim Jim Vestor, but the DOJ's report found that out of 280,000 emails, Megaupload continued to share copyrighted movies and television programming — making millions of dollars from subscription fees and piracy.

Because the website's founders are residing in New Zealand, the federal government will hold an extradition hearing in 2014 to both individuals, as well as other alleged co-conspirators. It is unclear when the trial will officially begin.

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