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Justice Department Charges Leaders of Megaupload with Widespread Online Copyright Infringement

WASHINGTON: The Department of Justice today announced that "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 causng more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners."

Below is a comment from RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman:

“We are deeply grateful to the Justice Department professionals who worked tirelessly on this case for two years.  Federal law enforcement has delivered a historic blow against one of the most notorious illegal distribution hubs in the world.  The indictment outlines a sinister scheme to generate massive profits through the distribution of the stolen intellectual property of others. It also demonstrates that the Justice Department meant what it said when Attorney General Holder committed to enforcing intellectual property theft as a top priority.  The indictment unveils the true nature of services such as Megaupload and should send a clear signal to other similar illegal distribution hubs that think they can violate the law with impunity.”

“This also demonstrates the malicious intent of the criminal operators behind these illegal sites, which poses a very real and serious problem for the creative community.  Anyone who doubts that should read this indictment closely.   The government has many tools at its disposal, including criminal prosecution.  But if this service were hosted and operated, for example, in a foreign country, our government would be essentially powerless to do anything about it.  That needs to change.”


Additional notes:  According to the Department of Justice’s news release and indictment, Megaupload.com is advertised as having more than one billion visits to the site, more than 150 million registered users, 50 million daily visitors, and accounting for four percent of the total traffic on the Internet.  According to Alexa rankings, Megaupload is among the 100 most visited websites in the world.


The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi-Platinum™ and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.

Jonathan Lamy
Cara Duckworth
Liz Kennedy