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January 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Acting on a federal grand jury indictment alleging copyright infringement and other related crimes, the U.S. government on Thursday shut down the popular “cyberlocker” MegaUpload, arrested at least four people, confiscated servers, and conducted search warrants in the U.S. and eight other countries. The indictment claimed that MegaUpload’s operators, four of whom were arrested in New Zealand, had earned more than $175 million by knowingly hosting infringing content, costing copyright holders $500 million. TorrentFreak.com, which tracks activities of BitTorrent sites, reported that MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom was arrested at his home, a mansion in Auckland. It cited a report by Detective Inspector Grant Wormald that said 76 police officers, arriving in helicopters, conducted the raid. “Despite our staff clearly identifying themselves, Mr. Dotcom retreated into the house and activated a number of electronic locking mechanisms. … While police neutralized these locks he then further barricaded himself into a safe room within the house which officers had to cut their way into.” Dotcom and the others were charged with racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement. Contrary to claims by the MPAA and the RIAA, Torrent Freak said that millions of people and companies use MegaUpload to store non-infringing files and that Thursday’s action has left them without their personal data.