Alas Megaupload, we hardly knew ye. Formed in 2005 in the laissez-faire, tax shelter of Hong Kong, Megaupload’s one-click hosting quickly became a favorite of the file-sharing community. Anonymous users worldwide could find all of their favorite software, e-books, music, movies and television shows simply by typing their names into a search engine followed by a single word, Megaupload, and voilà, they would appear as if by magic for download. Users could watch the whole series of Sopranos, Mad Men or Entourage in 72-minute chunks via MegaVideo without ever paying a single cent.
The day after the Great SOPA Blackout of 2012, the US Justice Department has stepped in to put the breaks on what it calls an “international organized criminal enterprise” responsible for more than half a billion dollars in losses to copyright holders. Seven individuals and two corporations affiliated with Megaupload, including the curiously named Kim Dotcom, aka Kim Schmitz, are being charged with racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering. Nowhere in the writ does it mention Megaupload’s most recent CEO, Swizz Beatz. Along with being Alicia Keys’ husband and the CEO of an international criminal organization charged with conspiracy, Swizz Beatz is also the brains behind the anthemic club song, "International Party" (“Imma run this planet/This is my year/It’s an international party/International party/International party”).
Beatz is also the mastermind behind the two-minutes-too-long “Megaupload Mega Song,” a love song dedicated to Megaupload with cameo appearances by Alicia Keys, will.i.am, P. Diddy, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Snoop Dogg, Floyd Mayweather and a hilariously bobble-headed Chris Brown. Universal Music Group filed a lawsuit and takedown notice against Megaupload for unauthorized performances in the video and Megaupload filed a countersuit against Universal for blocking distribution of the video, but Justice Department criminal conspiracy charges would seem to trump the "Mega Song" debacle. The hacker collective Anonymous retaliated against the indictment by temporarily bringing down the Justice Department and FBI’s websites, adding to the melee. Given the current controversy, Swiss’ plans for world domination appear to have hit a roadblock. This may not be his year after all.