MegaUpload, an online company based out of Hong Kong, was created in 2005 by German Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, to allow registered users to upload files to a site where other users could access these files and download them. However, many of these users were uploading ebooks, music, and films violating a variety of copyrights as well as intellectual property rights.
Though created as a file hosting/sharing service, MegaUpload eventually only hosted user-files with a certain popularity level, thus automatically deleting thousands of “unpopular” data files, fostering an environment for users to upload files that other users would be interested in downloading, i.e. music, videos, ebooks. At one point during it’s peak popularity, MegaUpload was the 13th most visited site on the internet, hosting over 1 billion unique files for over 100 million unique users. Eventually, this growing popularity and business practices of MegaUpload caused an uproar with copyright holders, as well as the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.
On January 20th 2012, the United States executed a coordinated attack on Kim Dotcom during his birthday. Over $42 Million dollars worth of assets including art, cars, helicopters and other expensive toys, as well as the the domain names for MegaUpload and it’s affiliate sites were seized for “actively encouraging internet piracy”.
Finally, after posting bail nearly a month after his arrest, Dotcom, fought back. Kim Dotcom has repeatedly denied that he has had any knowledge of the piracy and pornography occurring on his site and retained Ira Rothken, a renowned copyright infringement lawyer. Rothken defended Dotcom stating that there exists no criminal liability for secondary copyright infringement under US Law.
Though most of his assetts have been seized, Dotcom still has not been charged. In fact, he recently launched Me.Ga a new file hosting site with a safegaurd for Dotcom and his employees, file encryption. Each uploaded file is encrypted in such a way that Dotcom and his associates cannot access the files, or even view the files content.
Billions of user-uploaded data files have been seized, and though many of them did indeed contain pirated content, many users did use MegaUpload for their own personal files to which they did own the intellectual property and now can never access these files again.