US movie studios seek $175 M against Megaupload over illegally-kept copyright works for download
Apr 08, 2014 09:57 AM EDT
A Variety report said that a total of six major movie studios in the US have sued cyberlocker Megaupload and its principals. The complainants are seeking to obtain $175 million the site allegedly earned from the illegal sharing of its copyrighted works.
Although the actual amount was not stated in the lawsuit, the complainants stressed that they are entitled up to $150,000 in statutory damages each per infringement plus the income the defendants reportedly generated. Variety said that based on the indictment by the US government, Megaupload posted over $175 million in proceeds and had cost copyright owners over half a billion dollars by enabling copyright infringement on a grander scale. Moreover, the US Department of Justice has unveiled evidence in its criminal case against Megaupload, which was subsequently shut down in January 2012, said that the site has knowingly engaged in copyright infringement in a large scale in order to generate revenue.
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The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Monday by Twentieth Century Fox Film, Disney Enterprises, Paramount Pictures, Universal City Studios Prods., Columbia Pictures Industries and Warner Bros. Entertainment. Aside from Megaupload, the complainants named founder Kim Dotcom, majority shareholder Vester, Megaupload chief technical officer Mathias Ortmann and programming head Bram van der Kolk.
In a statement, senior executive vice president and global general counsel Steven Fabrizio of the Motion Picture Association of America said, "When Megaupload.com was shut down in 2012 by U.S. law enforcement, it was by all estimates the largest and most active infringing website targeting creative content in the world."
California-based lawyer Ira Rothken, who represents the cyberlocker and Dotcom, said, "We believe the motion picture studios' claims lack merit" and said that the defendants plan to vigorously defend themselves against the lawsuit.
The US government has yet to extradite Dotcom, who is currently in New Zealand battling to stay in the country. A hearing is scheduled to decide upon Dotcom's stay in New Zealand for July 7, variety said.