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Megaupload Staff Arrested for Copyright Infringement

On Thursday in a Virginia federal court, a U.S. grand jury charged the executives, founders and employees of Megaupload.com with copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit racketeering and money laundering.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, persons charged include founders Kim Dotcom and Mathias Ortmann, chief marketing and sales officer Finn Batato, head of development Sven Echternach and other company officials. Dotcom, Batato, Ortmann and another individual charged were arrested in Auckland, New Zealand, by local authorities on Thursday. Echternach and two others charged have yet to be detained.

Prosecutors, who have dubbed the entire Megaupload group as "Mega Conspiracy," have accused them of engaging in a devious scheme that leeched around $500 million from copyright holders while generating more than $175 million in criminal proceeds. "In exchange for payment, the Mega Conspiracy provides fast reproduction and distribution of infringing copies of copyrighted works from its servers located around the world," reads the indictment which was unsealed on Thursday.

The indictment reports that the federal court has called for 18 domain names associated with the group to be be seized. Around 20 search warrants have also been executed within the United States and in eight additional countries. About $50 million in assets and targeted sites have been seized so far.