Nearly two years after Kim Dotcom’s New Zealand mansion was raided by police, US authorities have made their case as to why the man behind Megaupload shouldn’t simply go bankrupt like previous copyright violators before have—he should go to jail, they argue.
In a 191-page “Summary of Evidence,” (PDF) government lawyers marshal Skype chats, financial data, and dozens of e-mails to make their case that Megaupload was a criminal network designed from the start to distribute copyrighted material. It discusses the payments made to heavy uploaders to encourage them to drive traffic to the files of movies and TV shows they hid online.
Megaupload built a wall of plausible deniability, prosecutors claim, by disabling any internal search of files stored on Megaupload, meant as a “cyberlocker” site. But its administrators, who include the men behind Dotcom’s new site Mega, traded e-mails that show the real strategy.
They monitored and drove traffic to third-party linking sites through which Megaupload beamed its advertisements.
They guided users about how to use the site in e-mails that clearly reference movies. Finally, and critically, they provided cash rewards to their best uploaders; in their e-mails they negotiated how to control such awards and get the most bang for their buck.