Hollywood studios are turning the screws on Kim Dotcom, founder of the once infamous piracy website Megaupload.
Several major U.S. studios on Monday filed a lawsuit against Kim Dotcom (a.k.a. Kim Schmitz and Kim Tim Jim Vestor) and others associated with Megaupload, alleging that they encouraged and profited from massive copyright infringement of movies and television shows before they were indicted on federal criminal charges and Megaupload was shut down.
“When Megaupload.com was shut down in 2012 by U.S. law enforcement, it was by all estimates the largest and most active infringing website targeting creative content in the world,” said Steven Fabrizio, senior executive vice president and global general counsel of the Motion Picture Assn. of America.
“Infringing content on Megaupload.com and its affiliates was available in at least 20 languages, targeting a broad global audience."
According to the government’s indictment, the site reported more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and cost U.S. copyright owners more than half a billion dollars, Fabrizio added.
The lawsuit was filed by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., Disney Enterprises Inc., Paramount Pictures Corp., Universal City Studios Productions, Columbia Pictures Industries Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. in U.S. District Court in Virginia.
Also named as defendants are Vester Limited, the majority shareholder of Megaupload Limited; Mathias Ortmann, the site's chief technical officer; and Bram van der Kolk, who oversaw programming.
The Justice Department shut down New Zealand-based Megaupload in January 2012 and charged Dotcom, a German Internet entrepreneur, with copyright infringement. Dotcom has denied wrongdoing and has been fighting attempts to extradite him to the United States.
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