The lawsuit says that Megaupload, Dotcom and other defendants
"engaged in, actively encouraged, and handsomely profited from
massive copyright infringement of music," according to a
statement issued by the Recording Industry Association of
The plaintiffs are Warner Music Group Corp, a unit of Time
Warner Inc, UMG Recordings Inc, a unit of Vivendi SA, Sony Music
Entertainment, a unit of Sony Corp and Capitol Records, also
owned by Vivendi, and all RIAA members. They say Megaupload
generated more than $175 million in illicit profits from
copyright infringement while causing "more than half a billion
dollars in harm" to copyright owners, according to the lawsuit.
U.S. authorities, which closed down the website in 2012, accuse
Megaupload of costing film studios and record companies more
than $500 million by encouraging paying users to store and share
copyrighted material, such as movies and TV shows.
Dotcom says Megaupload was merely an online warehouse and should
not be held accountable if stored content was obtained
Thursday's lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Virginia.
On Monday, movie studios including Twentieth Century Fox Film
Corp, a unit of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, Disney Enterprises
Inc, a unit of Walt Disney Co, and Paramount Pictures, a unit of
Viacom Inc, all members of the Motion Picture Association of
America, filed a similar lawsuit in the same court.
Dotcom's U.S. attorney, Ira Rothken, lambasted the lawsuits on
"The RIAA, MPAA and DOJ are like three blind mice following each
other in the pursuit of meritless copyright claims," Rothken
said. "These cases are an assault on cloud storage technology,
as cloud storage is a neutral technology that can be used for
both good and bad purposes."
"Megaupload strongly believes it's going to prevail," Rothken
The lawsuit is seeking damages and Megaupload's profits.
The lawsuits come as Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, is
fighting a bid by U.S. authorities to extradite him from New
Zealand to face online piracy charges over the website.
Meanwhile, the legal storm has not stopped Dotcom, a German
national with New Zealand residency, from delving into politics,
launching a party last month to contest New Zealand's general
election in September.
(Reporting by Bernard Vaughan; editing by Eric Walsh)
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