News: Megaupload Boss Fights For Freedom, Remains In Custody

Monday, Jan 23, 2012 10:11PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

After hitmaker Swizz Beatz was erroneously identified as the CEO of file-sharing website Megaupload.com last week, the real boss has been revealed and currently remains in custody overseas.

The site's founder, Kim Dotcom, reportedly appeared in a New Zealand court Monday (January 23) hoping to be granted bail.

Kim Dotcom will remain in custody at least temporarily after a New Zealand judge delayed a decision on whether the founder of the file-sharing site Megaupload.com should be permitted to be released on bail. At a hearing Monday in Auckland, New Zealand, Dotcom denied that he is guilty of the Internet piracy charges he is facing in the United States. The New Zealand Herald reports that Dotcom's attorney, Paul Davidson, argued that his client should be eligible for bail because "he is not a person who is inherently motivated to disappear or breach conditions. There is no flight risk." (Washington Post)

Despite his attorney's plea, Dotcom currently remains in custody and could be extradited to the United States.

Judge David McNaughton said the bail application was too complicated for an immediate ruling, adding he would issue a written decision no later than Wednesday. "Given the breadth of issues covered in this bail application and the seriousness of the issues, I am going to reserve my decision," the judge said. U.S. authorities want to extradite Dotcom on charges he masterminded a scheme that made more than $175 million in a few short years by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorization. Megaupload's lawyer has said the company simply offered online storage. (Reuters)

Although Swizzy was not directly connected to Megaupload, he apparently showed an interest in the company prior to the FBI's recent actions.

Megaupload lawyer Ira Rothken didn't dispute Beatz's position in the organization and acknowledged that Beatz persuaded Kanye West, Will.i.am and Sean "Diddy" Combs to participate in a promotional video for the site. Rothken changed his tune Friday, telling the blog Venturebeat that "[Beatz] was negotiating to become the CEO, but it was never official." Rothken didn't get back to us to explain his altered view. Sources tell us Beatz has been CEO of the company for close to a year. (New York Post)

The FBI took down Megaupload Thursday (January 19) and handed out federal charges.

One day after the Internet blacked out in protest of two overreaching anti-piracy bill in Congress, authorities have shuttered Megaupload.com, one of the most popular file-sharing services on the web. The FBI moved against the company today, and made sure to claim that the seven people indicted for online piracy crimes had nothing to do with the furor this week over the Stop Online Piracy Act and its companion bill in the Senate, the Protect IP Act. The indictment was unsealed in northern Virginia today and four people are already in custody, having been arrested in New Zealand for crimes including conspiracy to commit racketeering and criminal copyright infringement. Bank records and server farms are being searched worldwide. The Justice Department charges Megaupload, which was once the world's 13th largest website, with "generating more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and causing more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners." (New York Mag)

Check out the Megaupload promo song below:

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