Yesterday no one could access Wikipedia due to the SOPA protest; today (and tomorrow, and the day after that, and beyond), anyone trying to download files through Megaupload will be disappointed, as the file-sharing site — which reportedly boasts none other than Swizz Beatz as its silent partner and CEO (or not, see below)— has been shut down by federal prosecutors.
The Justice Department charges Megaupload with “generating more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and causing more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners.” Seven people have been indited today for online piracy crimes, and four of those are already in custody. Beatz, whose involvement with Megaupload was not publicly known until recently, was not charged — or even named — in the 72-page indictment.
Why was he not charged? It could be because, according to Forbes, he doesn’t own any equity in the company. But did he play a significant role at the company, off the books? We have a feeling Swizz won’t be rushing to confirm this anytime soon.
UPDATE: Megaupload attorney Ira Rothken tells the business blog VentureBeat that Swizz’s role in management never fully materialized. “To my knowledge, Swizz Beatz was never involved in any meaningful way… He was negotiating to become the CEO, but it was never official.”
(Still confusing, however, is why Swizz’s publicist earlier told BetaBeat that he was in fact the site’s head cheese.)
After Megaupload was taken down, a few other sites got a taste of their own medicine — websites for the Justice Department, Universal Music Group, the Motion Pictures Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America were reportedly shut down by hacker group Anonymous. “http://universalmusic.com & justice.gov & RIAA.ORG TANGO DOWN #Megaupload Fight for Internet Freedom!” was posted on the group’s Twitter page Thursday afternoon.
Idolator, of course, does not endorse illegally downloading music or movies. But, for those intent on hearing the newest Madonna song early or grabbing the latest episode of Dexter online, we’re pretty sure they’ll manage to find another site able to give it to them.
Ah well. At least we’ll always have “The Megaupload Song.”