The FBI and Justice Department have seized filesharing website Megaupload, reports the New York Times.Media companies have long pointed fingers at the site as a means to circumvent copyright, and now courts have pinned Megaupload with the blame for $500 million in damages to copyright holders.
Seven people associated with the site were arrested in New Zealand. Each one is charged with five counts of copyright infringement and conspiracy, which could land them more than 20 years in prison.
The Feds seized all kinds of property as well, reports Gizmodo. A number of cars (including a Rolls Royce Phantom with a licence plate reading “GOD”), a bunch of artwork, and several huge televisions now belong to the government.
We can’t help but point out the timing of these arrests as they took place the same week as the SOPA protests. Yet the government was officially able to pursue what it says is “among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States” without help from SOPA.
If you want to browse the complete 72-page indictment against Megaupload, it’s embedded below: