What do you do when you can’t ram SOPA down the throats of Americans? Attack the web storage company Megaupload. The media is reporting that the famous file storage and sharing site has had its four company executives arrested in New Zealand on Friday. The US Department of Justice is claiming that the site has cost the movie and music industries about half a billion dollars in lost revenue. A Justice Department official said the timing of the arrests was not related to the battle in Congress over SOPA.
Reuters is reporting that the New Zealand police raided a mansion in Auckland arresting Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, 37, a German national with New Zealand residency. It was also reported that 70 police armed with weapons raided 10 properties owned by the website’s chief marketing officer, Finn Batato, 38. The chief technical officer and co-founder Mathias Ortmann also arrested, 40, both also from Germany, and Dutch national Bram van der Kolk, 29, who is also a New Zealand resident.
During the raid on company executives, law enforcement seized several million dollars worth of assets. Among them were several luxury cars including a Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. They also seized more than NZ$10 million ($8 million) from financial institutions.
Detective Inspector Grant Wormald from the Organized & Financial Crime Agency New Zealand said this:
“The FBI contacted New Zealand Police in early 2011 with a request to assist with their investigation into the Mega Conspiracy… All the accused have been indicted in the United States. We will continue to work with the U.S. authorities to assist with the extradition proceedings.”
In response to the attack on the site, hacktivist group Anonymous targeted and took down the public websites of the Justice Department, the world’s largest music company Universal Music, and the two big trade groups that represent the music and film industries. The retaliation was swift, some claiming that the retaliation came within 15 minutes of Megaupload being taken down.
In a digital age where information, including copyrighted material, can be moved so freely; the capitalist class will endeavour to bring more and more repressive measures to protect their profits. The SOPA act and this raid are the work of the defence of property and profits. The more easily information can move around, the more and more repressive measures the capitalist class will have to resort to. A free and open world of information is a threat to the profit motive and a threat to capitalism.