Megaload has had new charges levied against it, as detailed in a revised indictment filed Thursday in Federal District Court in Alexandria, Va.
The superseding indictment adds additional counts of criminal copyright infringement and wire fraud, as well as additional facts and assets subject to forfeiture. In particular, the new charges allege that Megaupload reproduced copyrighted works directly from YouTube and other third-party websites to make them available for reproduction and distribution on Megavideo.com.
The defendants were originally charged in a five-count indictment returned on Jan. 5, 2012, and unsealed on Jan. 19, 2012, with conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two substantive counts of copyright infringement. To date, five of the seven individuals indicted have been arrested, and at least $50 million in assets have been restrained.
Now that authorities have had the opportunity to dig around in Megaupload’s servers, some additional numbers are emerging as well. While the group the authorities have christened “the Megaupload conspiracy” claimed to have more than 180 million registered users, investigators believe the actual number was closer to 66.6 million as of Jan. 19, 2012.
More significantly, investigators said the records indicate that just 5.86 million of these users ever uploaded anything, which authorities said demonstrates “that more than 90 percent of their registered users only used the defendants’ systems to download” as opposed to using Megaupload as a personal cloud storage service.
As part of the wire fraud charges, there is additional information regarding the alleged steps to falsely represent to rights holders that infringing content had been removed, when it was never removed.