Megaupload was a popular file-sharing website that allowed users to upload and download large files quickly and easily. Founded in 2005 by Kim Dotcom, the service primarily facilitated sharing of multimedia files, such as audio, video, and images. However, it was shut down in 2012 by the U.S. government due to allegations of copyright infringement and enabling piracy.

Key Takeaways

  1. Megaupload was a popular file-sharing website that allowed users to upload and store a variety of files, including audio, video, and documents, which could then be accessed and downloaded by others.
  2. The website was shut down in January 2012 by the United States Department of Justice due to alleged copyright infringement, leading to the arrest of its founder, Kim Dotcom, and other executives.
  3. After the shutdown of Megaupload, Kim Dotcom launched a new file-sharing service called Mega, which claims to offer increased privacy and encryption features for users to protect their data.


Megaupload was an important file-sharing website that gained prominence in the 2000s, allowing users to share, store, and access various types of files.

Its significance lies in the fact that it was one of the largest and most popular platforms of its kind, enabling easy and fast transfer of data across the globe.

However, Megaupload’s importance is also due to the controversy surrounding its 2012 shutdown by the US Department of Justice over alleged copyright infringement cases, sparking heated debates around the themes of internet freedom, intellectual property rights, and digital piracy.

The Megaupload case has had a lasting impact on the development of internet legislation, online data storage services, and digital content sharing practices.


Megaupload, founded in 2005 by Kim Dotcom, was a widely popular file hosting and sharing service that allowed users to upload, store, and share files with others. The main purpose of Megaupload was to facilitate easy storage and transfer of large files, including documents, audio files, video files, and images, which were too big to be sent via email. Users could upload files of any size and were provided a unique link, which could then be shared with others who wanted to access the file.

This feature made Megaupload popular among millions of users, which led to it becoming one of the most significant file hosting services on the internet at the time. The platform not only facilitated individual users but also helped businesses, educational institutes, and professionals to share and collaborate on digital content effortlessly. However, Megaupload soon faced numerous legal challenges and copyright infringement allegations as it became a hub for sharing copyrighted material without permission.

The platform was often criticized for enabling users to share pirated movies, music, and software. In response, Megaupload claimed they complied with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by providing copyright holders with tools to remove infringing content. Regardless, in 2012, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) shut down the website, arguing that it was involved in racketeering, copyright infringement, and money laundering, which led to an estimated loss of about $500 million to copyright holders.

The legal battle over Megaupload’s assets and the extradition of its founder, Kim Dotcom, continues, while the case remains an example of the complexities of digital file sharing, intellectual property rights, and global jurisdiction.

Examples of Megaupload

Megaupload was a prominent file-hosting and sharing website that was shut down by the U.S. Department of Justice in January 2012 due to copyright infringement allegations. This website facilitated uploading and sharing of large files and attracted millions of users around the world. Here are three real-world examples related to Megaupload:

The Arrest of Kim Dotcom: Megaupload’s founder, Kim Dotcom, was arrested in New Zealand during a high-profile raid at his mansion in January

He was indicted on charges related to copyright infringement, racketeering, and money laundering. Since then, Dotcom has been fighting extradition to the United States and maintaining that Megaupload was a legitimate file-hosting service that adequately responded to copyright claims.

Impact on File-Sharing websites: Following the shutdown of Megaupload, several similar file-sharing websites saw a dramatic drop in traffic, with some voluntarily disabling features or shutting down completely. This led to widespread discussion regarding the role and legality of file-hosting services and their responsibility in policing user content.

Launch of MEGA: In 2013, Kim Dotcom launched a new file-sharing and cloud storage service called MEGA. This service claims to offer improved privacy and security for its users through end-to-end encryption, ensuring that only the people who have the decryption keys can access the uploaded files. MEGA has maintained a strong emphasis on users’ privacy rights and cooperation with copyright holders while distancing itself from the controversies that plagued Megaupload.

Megaupload FAQ

What is Megaupload?

Megaupload was a popular online file storage and sharing service that allowed users to upload and share files, as well as stream videos and music. It was shut down in 2012 due to a legal dispute over copyright infringement.

How did Megaupload work?

Megaupload allowed users to upload files, which were stored on the company’s servers. Once uploaded, users could generate a unique URL that they could share with others, allowing them to download the file or access the content online.

Why was Megaupload shut down?

In 2012, the United States Department of Justice seized Megaupload’s domain and shut down the service due to allegations of substantial copyright infringement. The company’s founder, Kim Dotcom, and other Megaupload employees were arrested, and their assets were frozen.

What has happened since the Megaupload shut down?

Since the shut down, Kim Dotcom has been fighting extradition to the United States and has also launched a new cloud storage service called MEGA. The legal battle over Megaupload is still ongoing, and the rights of users who lost access to their uploaded files remain a subject of debate.

What are some alternatives to Megaupload?

There are numerous file-sharing and cloud storage services available today, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive. Users seeking alternatives to Megaupload can explore these options as well as other similar services.

Related Technology Terms

  • File Hosting Service
  • Cloud Storage
  • Copyright Infringement
  • Kim Dotcom
  • Internet Privacy

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