By Rob Markman
Approximately 24 hours ago producer Swizz Beatz was revealed as the CEO of the popular file-sharing site Megaupload and on Thursday (January 19) the site was officially shut down by the federal government. Megaupload was in the midst of a battle with Universal Music Group over a promotional video (the “Megaupload Mega Song“), which featured artists such as Kanye West, will.i.am and Diddy.
On Thursday (January 19), the federal government took the action against Megaupload.com, and also arrested several members of the company, hitting them with multiple racketeering and copyright infringement charges, according to a statement issued to MTV News by the U.S. Department of Justice. A federal indictment alleges that the site, which allows users to transfer large files, has generated more than $175 million in criminal proceed and costs copyright-holders more than $500 million in lost revenue from pirated movies, albums and other materials.
Swizz Beatz, Megaupload’s CEO, was not charged in the indictment which was handed down on January 5, and as of now, it is unclear how the producer/rapper’s involvement with the company will play into the case. The Associated Press reported that Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (also known as Kim Schmitz) was arrested Thursday in New Zealand along with three others.
The Department of Justice said that this is among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States. The news broke a day after major websites like Wikipedia and Google protested against the U.S. House of Representatives’ Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, and the Senate’s similar Protect IP act.
Representatives for Swizz Beatz had not responded to MTV News’ request for comment at press time.