The arrest of MegaUpload’s founder Kim Dotcom (also known as Kim Schmitz) has been described as being played out like a scene from a Hollywood blockbuster after police backed by helicopters swarmed his $23 million mansion on Thursday.
According to the SMH, police arrived at his mansion only to find it was activated with an electronic locking mechanism. After finally neutralising the locks, they then had to cut their way through a locked safe room, where they found Dotcom with what looked like a sawn-off shotgun.
NZ Police Inspector Wormald said:
“It was definitely not as simple as knocking at the front door.”
They seized two firearms from the premises, and, more than 18 luxury automobiles.
MegaUpload was shutdown on Friday morning and several people involved with the site were charged with violating piracy laws. The site was accused of costing copyright holders over $500 million in lost revenue from pirated music and other content. The shut-down came only a day after websites such as Wikipedia and Reddit shut down services in protest of proposals (SOPA/PIPA) intended to stop online piracy.
MegaUpload, which launched in 2005 and is one of the most popular “locker” services on the Internet, lets users anonymously transfer large files — and has generated $175 million in income for its operators through subscription fees or advertising.
Hacktivist collective Anonymous retaliated by taking down a number of music, film, copyright and government websites, inlcluding Universal Music and BMI (which is responsible for collecting license fees on behalf of songwriters).