Megaupload and its founder Kim Dotcom are under legal fire in federal court for infringing on multiple Hollywood studios' copyrights.
The online file-hosting site was raided in January 2012 by the feds, but now Dotcom is facing civil allegations as well as criminal charges for running Megaupload, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
What does this new suit add to Megaupload's already full legal plate?
Major Studios File Infringement Suit
Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal City Studios, Columbia Pictures, and Warner Bros. have all joined forces to sue Megaupload and its major players for alleged copyright infringement. The suit asserts that Dotcom and other key employees at Megaupload "intentionally and actively encouraged their users to upload" copyrighted movies and TV shows.
All good Internet users know that one of the main risks to illegally downloading TV shows and movies is the threat of copyright infringement lawsuits. This lawsuit claims that through Megaupload's "Uploader Rewards" program, which gave benefits to users who uploaded popular material, the company encouraged uploading the most popular copyrighted material. In addition, the suit alleges Megaupload made an "estimated $150 million" in subscriptions by encouraging such infringement.
Even though Megaupload is a Hong Kong-based company, it contracted with a server farm in Virginia, so it is likely that the Virginia-based federal court has personal jurisdiction.
Criminal Case Still Pending
This civil suit will likely have to wait, however, until Kim Dotcom's criminal case with the federal government is resolved. Dotcom and his ilk were indicted in 2012 on racketeering, copyright infringement, and money laundering charges.
If a federal jury convicts Dotcom or he pleads guilty, the Hollywood studios would have all the evidence they need to crush him and Megaupload in their civil case. According to THR, the studios couldn't wait until Dotcom's criminal case was finished to file their claim because the statute of limitations was about to expire.
Now that the case has been filed, a federal civil judge may choose to stay the case, effectively putting it on ice until the federal prosecutors are done making a meal out of Dotcom.
Hopefully Dotcom has a good lawyer; his last one quit.