Federal prosecutors have shut down one of the world’s largest file-sharing sites, Megaupload.com, on charges of violating piracy laws — a day after a 24-hour blackout of popular websites such as Wikipedia drew national attention to the issue.
“This action is among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States,” the Justice department said in a statement about the indictment.
The indictment accuses seven individuals and two corporations — Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited — of costing copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue from pirated films and other content. It was unsealed on Thursday, and claims that at one point Megaupload was the 13th most popular website in the world.
Megaupload was unique not only because of its massive size and the volume of downloaded content, but also because it had high-profile support from celebrities, musicians and other content producers who are most often the victims of copyright infringement and piracy. Before the website was taken down, it contained endorsements from Kim Kardashian, Alicia Keys and Kanye West, among others.