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Hackers Attack Justice Dept, Universal Music Group, BMI as FBI Shuts Down File-Sharing Site

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted seven people and two companies which ran the file uploading site Megaupload.com. The site, which billed itself as “the leading online storage and file delivery service,” is now offline.
In the indictment, Megaupload and a company associated with it are accused of making $175 million while simultaneously causing approximately half a billion dollars in copyright infringement. Among the indicted are the site’s founder, Kim Dotcom (a.k.a. Kim Schmitz), who holds residency in New Zealand and Hong Kong. Employees Bram van der Kolk, aka Bramos, 29, Julius Bencko, Finn Batato, Sven Echternach, Mathias Ortmann, and Andrus Nomm were also indicted.
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New Zealand authorities arrested Dotcom, Batato, Ortmann and van der Kolk. Officials said they have not yet captured Bencko, Echternach and Nomm.
According to the indictment, the accused are part of “the Mega Conspiracy, a worldwide criminal organization whose members engaged in criminal copyright infringement and money laundering on a massive scale.” They are being charged with participating in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement.
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Should they be found guilty, the seven accused could find themselves behind bars for a maximum of 20 years.
The indictment and subsequent arrests come only a day after major websites blacked out and rallies were held to protest SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (PROTECT IP Act), two Internet piracy bills currently under debate in the U.S. Congress.
Some 15 minutes after the indictment, the online hacker group Anonymous tweeted from a Sweden-based account that it had retaliated against the DOJ:
#OpPayBack Target: DOWN justice.gov – 15 minutes after feds announce arrest of Megaupload 7, #Anonymous strikes #svpol
— Anonymous Sweden (@AnonOpsSweden) January 19, 2012
Soon afterwards, justice.gov was inaccessible — and it remains down at time of writing:
The websites of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and Universal Music Group were also experiencing either intense slowdowns or complete failure. Other Anonymous-related Twitter handles took credit:
mpaa.org got attacked by a close-hauled sailing pirate fleet. #Megaupload #StarveTheBeast
— AnonymousIRC (@AnonymousIRC) January 19, 2012
universalmusic.com & justice.gov &RIAA.ORG TANGO DOWN #Megaupload Fight for Internet Freedom!
— AnonOps (@anonops) January 19, 2012
The Anonymous group of the online community 4chan took down the MPAA’s website before in a 2010 Direct Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.

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