U.S. indicts alleged copyright pirates; FBI hacked in retaliation

Jan. 19, 2012 at 9:12 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Shortly after the U.S. Justice Department filed online piracy charges against megaupload.com and related sites, hackers said they took down the FBI's site.

Efforts to access fbi.gov were unsuccessful Thursday evening. The hacker group Anonymous claimed via Twitter it had hacked into the FBI and record label sites in retaliation for the indictment against megaupload for alleged piracy of copyright material.

The piracy allegedly generated $175 million in criminal proceeds and an estimated $500 million damage to copyright owners, Justice said in a release Thursday.

Seven people and two corporations -- Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited -- have been indicted on charges of engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement and conspiring to commit money laundering.

The indictment identified Kim Dotcom, aka Kim Schmitz, and Kim Tim Jim Vestor, 37, as the alleged head of the criminal operation.

Vestor, a resident of both Hong Kong and New Zealand, founded Megaupload Limited and is the director and sole shareholder of Vestor Limited, which holds his ownership interests in the Mega-affiliated sites, the Justice Department said.

Dotcom and three other indicted individuals were arrested Thursday in Auckland, New Zealand, by New Zealand authorities, while three others remain at large, the department said.

The indictment alleges the involved Web sites unlawfully reproduced and distributed infringing copies of copyrighted works, including movies -- often before their theatrical release -- and music, television programs, electronic books, software.

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