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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019
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Less free TV as MegaUpload (and MegaVideo) shut down

Hackers have responded angrily to news that MegaUpload and MegaVideo have been closed and founder Kim Dotcom arrested.

MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom, far right with three of his employees in a New Zealand court today.
MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom, far right with three of his employees in a New Zealand court today.
Image: AP Photo/Greg Bowker, New Zealand Herald

ONE OF THE world’s biggest file-sharing websites has been shut down following a major action against piracy by the US Department of Justice and the FBI.

In another Hollywood versus the Internet row, the movie industry had claimed that the site was making money off pirated material.

According to the US indictment, the founder Kim Dotcom (formerly Kim Schmitz) earned $42 million last year. He was arrested in New Zealand last night, along with three of the site’s other operators.

MegaUpload’s subsidiary site MegaVideo has also been closed.

MegaVideo was particularly popular in Ireland as television shows that don’t air here until weeks (or months) after they are shown in the US could be watched as soon as they were broadcast.

Worldwide, MegaUploads sites had about 150 million users and 50 million daily hits.

Hosted sites

Although the company is based in Hong Kong, US prosecutors took action as some of the alleged pirated content was hosted on leased servers in Virginia.

The US told New Zealand authorities that those arrested facilitated millions of illegal downloads of films, music and other content. Prosecutors claim that the copyright holders could have lost at least half a billion dollars as a result.

During the raids at several properties, New Zealand police seized guns, artwork, $8 million in case and luxury cars.

Extradition proceedings have already started in New Zealand today. The presiding judge asked photographers to stop using their cameras but Dotcom insisted they were allowed to take photos.

He added that there was “nothing to hide”.

Hacking

Self-labelled internet protectors retaliated to the news of the shutdown by hacking into the Justice Department’s website. Anonymous claimed responsibility for the attack, which left the site down for hours.

The act is being treated as “malicious”, federal official said. The website of Motion Picture Association of America was also attacked.

The FBI, Universal Music, RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and Hadopi – a French government agency – were also on the ‘hitlist’.

Sky News reports that the anarchistic group has warned that it has launched what will be its biggest ever attack on US government sites and other European targets.

They are calling the loosely coordinated attacks #OpMegaUpload.

-Additional reporting by AP

Read: Government considers household charge to replace TV licence fee>

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