January 20, 2012, 10:56 AM — This week, while Reddit and Google and Wikipedia were protesting the movement through Congress of SOPA and PIPA, legislation designed to add even more online protections for copyright holders, the Department of Justice and hacktivist collective Anonymous were going to war over an iconic site shut down using existing laws.
The U.S. Dept. of Justice shut down Megaupload yesterday, after filing an indictment charging the Hong Kong-based site facilitated the illegal download of millions of files containing copyrighted music, movies and software, costing copyright holders at least $500 million in lost revenue.
Some of the allegedly illegal content was hosted on Megaupload servers in Ashburn, Va., which gave the DoJ both jurisdiction to act and a target to raid, according to the Associated Press.
Hours after the Megaupload raid became known, Anonymous launched what it called its largest operation ever, as more than 5,000 members and friends launched DDOS attacks on the DoJ and other law-enforcement sites and against dozens of sites, including those owned by the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the U.S. Copyright Office.
A statement from DoJ said Megaupload CEO Kim Dotcom (formerly Schmitz), 37, and three other company employees were arrested in New Zealand by New Zealand authorities acting on behalf of the U.S. DoJ has issued arrest warrants for three other employees, who are still free.
Reuters file photo, Kim Dotcomm (Schmitz) 1999