By Sowmya Krishnamurthy
Despite early reports that surfaced last week, it has now been confirmed that Swizz Beatz is not, in fact, the CEO of popular file-sharing website Megaupload. Before the site was shuttered, Swizz (born, Kasseem Dean) was listed as the company’s CEO on its “About Us” page, but a source close to Swizz tells MTV News, “They put that up prematurely.” In addition, the source explained that while Swizz was not named in the federal indictment against Megaupload, he’s still very much involved in the company.
“He’s not walking away from this,” the source told MTV News, adding that Swizz had teamed with Megaupload to find “new ways of getting music to consumers.” These developments come just days after news broke out that Megaupload had come under fire after Universal Music Group took issue with a promotional video featuring artists on its roster like will.i.am, Kanye West and Diddy without authorization.
On Thursday (January 19), the federal government took the action against Megaupload.com and arrested several members of the company. Charges include 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 cost copyright-holders more than $500 million in lost revenue from pirated movies, albums and other content.
The Department of Justice said that this is among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States. In what seems to be an ironic coincidence, this comes on the heels of websites like Wikipedia and Google protesting against Congress’ Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act.
Visitors to Megaupload.com now land on an Anti-Piracy warning from the Department of Justice stating. “This domain name associated with the website Megaupload.com has been seized pursuant to an order issued by a U.S. District Court.”