Megaupload Shut Down by Federal Prosecutors; Swizz Beatz Unmasked as File-Sharing Site’s CEO

If you thought yesterday’s online protests of the Stop Online Piracy Act were going to deter anyone from stopping online piracy, you were definitely wrong. Just this afternoon one of the biggest file-sharing sites, Megaupload.com, has been shut down following a federal indictment that allegest the services encourages online piracy. 

The Associated Press reports:

The indictment accuses the company of costing copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue from pirated films and other content. The indictment was unsealed Thursday, one day after websites shut down in protest of two congressional proposals intended to thwart the online piracy of copyrighted movies and TV programs.

Before the site’s was shut down this afternoon, Megaupload made news this morning when the New York Post alleged that CEO Swizz Beatz got some of his famous friends, including Sean "Diddy" Combs, Kanye West, and Will.i.am to promote his service in a video uploaded to YouTube last month. 

But after the starry promo appeared on YouTube last month, Diddy, Kanye and Will.i.am’s label, Universal Music Group, issued a “take-down notice” to YouTube, saying the artists’ performances were unauthorized. Their individual reps followed up, sources say. Mega-Upload fired back with a lawsuit against Universal to stop it from blocking distribution of the video. A Mega rep told us: “We have never received any word that any artist has [individually] filed a take-down . . . [we have] legally binding agreements with the performers that appear in the video…"

You can check out the video below:

Not only did the New York Observer confirm this afternoon that Swizz Beatz is indeed the CEO of Megaupload, it appears that the rapper and record producer (and husband to Alicia Keys) will be facing a lot of tough legal battles in the future — including a few fights with some of the people within his industry.

The Only Good Thing About SOPA: Watching Teenagers Find Out About SOPA

On January 24th, Congress will vote on the Stop Online Piracy Act, which gives the U.S. government the right to censor foreign websites, makes it a felony to post copyrighted material, and give holders of copyrighted intellectual property the right to sue websites posting their content. Which not only means, if this passes, we’d have to wait for the third season of Downton Abbey to actually begin its PBS run instead of watching it through questionably legal mirror sites, and many of those in charge at the top web resources fear the bill could mean an end to American web innovation.

Today, a week before the vote, various websites have gone dark in protest, including Reddit, and most notably, the English version of Wikipedia. And no one has taken this news harder than the world’s middle school and high school students, who have taken to Twitter (which is not shutting down to protest SOPA) with their gripes. A search of "WTF Wikipedia" yields a bumper crop of pure, white whine-y comic gold. 

A few examples:

@fuckwalker: "WTF! WIKIPEDIA BLACKOUT! HOW IS ANYONE SUPPOSED TO KNOW ANYTHING FOR 24 HOURS??? FUCK!" 

@jmontez29: "No Wikipedia = wtf #therapture #endoftheworld"

@4thepurpletruth: "WTF!! the one day i kneed to use wikipedia and there’s a blackout!! the one day"

@MiChiamanoKiran: "WTF WTF WTF WTF Wikipedia is shut down for an entire 24 hrs to protest SOPA!! Ummm that’s lovely, but I have f*cking hw to dooo! Ughh >.<"

There are some rather funny trolls/mocking tweets, too:

@Psychorigide_: "WTF?! WIKIPEDIA!! Y U NO OPEN! I NEED TO KNOW THE NAME OF THE REMIX OF LIKE A VIRGIN AT THE BLOND AMBITION TOUR BY THE MAJESTY MADONNA!!"

@SeeRockRun: "Wtf #Wikipedia now how will I find out MC Hammers real name. Or get a list of notable alumni from Cornell"

Luckily, for all those kids who still haven’t figured out why the Wiki-world has gone dark and are desperate to use their beloved crutch, the "Simple English" version of the site is still up and running. 

For more information on SOPA and PIPA, what they mean and how to get involved and contact your legislators, check out the pages Google and Mashable have posted.