Megaupload.com — a website that at its peak was the 11th most visited website in the world and accounted for 4% of all internet traffic. A cloud storage medium, users could upload large files to store on Megaupload's servers and share them with their peers whether images, music, videos or anything else that could be transferred over the net.
Launched in 2005, the technology behind Megaupload solved what many email service providers fail to accomplish even to this day: transfer large files. At Megaupload, users were given a generous amount of disk space and maximum file sizes were not capped.
Because of this brilliant tool, the site grew like wildfire.
However, on January 19, 2012, the website was shut down by the U.S. Department of Justice and its top staff arrested. The mastermind? 37-year-old Kim Dotcom living in New Zealand, his mansion raided under the orders of the FBI and U.S. prosecutors, charging him with copyright infringement.
U.S. authorities maintain that Mr. Dotcom's website cost the entertainment industry hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue due to users engaging in copyright infringement — illegally uploading and sharing pirated content. In addition, they allege that Mr. Dotcom encouraged users to engage in such illegal activity by offering them incentives to upload pirated movies.
Mr. Dotcom has vehemently defended himself, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protects internet service providers such as him from the actions of their users.
To assist copyright holders in fighting against copyright infringement, Mr. Dotcom claims to have provided Hollywood studios direct delete access to any infringing link on Megaupload's servers to which they've expressed their gratitude to him via email (a tool that Mr. Dotcom was not even legally obligated to provide, by the way).
A monster of a website, Megaupload would have 800 file transfers being completed every second of every hour of every day, and that it would be impossible to police that magnitude of traffic, according to Kim.
Nonetheless, U.S. prosecutors are adamant about Kim Dotcom being extradited from New Zealand to the United States to stand trial, where he faces up to 20 years in prison.
However, in New Zealand, one cannot be extradited for copyright infringement alone. For this reason, U.S. prosecutors originally attached money laundering and conspiracy charges as well, which are extraditable offenses.
Currently, Kim Dotcom is fighting his extradition, where he recently lost an appeal in New Zealand High Court. However, that court did find that he committed no copyright infringement and therefore cannot be tried for that charge.
As the foundation of charges against Kim Dotcom are being unraveled and weakened, if he is handed over to U.S. authorities, he will no doubt win the case as the prosecutors' claims against him are unfounded and Mr. Dotcom's defenses are strong.