U.S. movie studios sue Megaupload, founder Dotcom

Mon Apr 7, 2014 11:28pm EDT
 
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By Bernard Vaughan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Several major U.S. studios filed a copyright infringement lawsuit on Monday against the file-sharing website Megaupload and its ebullient founder, Kim Dotcom.

Megaupload, which U.S. authorities shuttered in 2012, facilitated a "massive copyright infringement of movies and television shows," according to a statement issued by the Motion Picture Association of America on Monday.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, all MPAA members, are Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp, Disney Enterprises Inc, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Productions, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros Entertainment Inc.

"Megaupload wasn't a cloud storage service at all, it was an unlawful hub for mass distribution," Steven Fabrizio, an attorney for the MPAA, said in the statement.

U.S. authorities allege Megaupload cost film studios and record companies more than $500 million and generated more than $175 million by encouraging paying users to store and share copyrighted material, such as movies and TV shows.

Dotcom says Megaupload was merely an online warehouse and should not be held accountable if stored content was obtained illegally.

Monday's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, said Dotcom and other defendants "profited handsomely" by providing thousands of copyrighted works over the Internet to millions of Megaupload users without authorization or license.

Movies whose copyrights Megaupload infringed, according to the lawsuit, include Avatar, Forrest Gump and Transformers, according to the lawsuit.   Continued...

 
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom talks to members of the media outside the New Zealand Court of Appeals in Wellington September 20, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Coote