The indictment accuses MegaUpload.com of costing copyright holders at least $500 million in lost revenue. Its Hong Kong home notwithstanding, the DOJ said that at least part of the alleged pirated content was hosted on leased servers in Ashburn, Va., which gave it jurisdiction.
Before MegaUpload's site was taken down, it posted a statement which stated that the allegations were "grotesquely overblown." It said, "The fact is that the vast majority of Mega's Internet traffic is legitimate, and we are here to stay. If the content industry would like to take advantage of our popularity, we are happy to enter into a dialogue. We have some good ideas. Please get in touch."
It's true that even BitTorrent, the popular P2P transfer protocol, has legitimate uses. So did MegaUpload. What percentage was legal and what percentage was pirated is the big question.
In response to the arrests, Anonymous claimed it knocked several websites off the Internet. Among them was the DOJ's website, which is now accessible, at the time of this writing, but which loads very slowly.
The group also claimed to take down Universal Music Group's website (UMG was one of the music label most vociferous in its criticism of MegaUpload), and that site is definitely offline at this time. Attempting to visit it returns a blank page with an "under maintenance message."
Among the other targets of Anonymous on Thursday were the RIAA and the MPAA, which are both again operating normally.
Anyone else who has ever criticized MegaUpload should probably keep its IT department on alert: Anonymous said that there's "more to come."