Following the revelation of the identity of the company's CEO as rapper/producer Swizz Beatz, the United States Department of Justice has today labelled file-sharing service MegaUpload an "international organized criminal enterprise," and arrested the site's founder, Kim Dotcom. Nilay Patel writes for The Verge:
The complaint alleges that MegaUpload, founder Kim Dotcom, and his team are responsible for $175 million in "criminal proceeds" and "more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners." Specifically, Kim Dotcom and six of his executives are charged with running "the Mega conspiracy websites" under a business model expressly designed to promote uploading of the most popular copyrighted works." The complaint charges both the MegaUpload Limited company and a second company called Vestor Limited which Dotcom used to shield his personal assets.
MegaUpload has been in the press a great deal recently following the release of a star-studded pro-MegaUpload music video. Participants such as Kanye West, signed to Universal Music Group, immediately drew question marks considering the hostility between many music labels and the alleged piracy utopia.
The identity of the company's CEO was revealed today as Swizz Beatz, husband to Alicia Keys. While that revelation raises many questions in and of itself, it does serve to explain how the pro-MegaUpload video came into existence in the first place.
Rounding off a tumultuous few weeks, and following hot on the heels of the anti-SOPA and PIPA blackout, MegaUpload (and its founder, Kim Dotcom) has been charged with alleged racketeering.
You can't make this stuff up.