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After movie studios, record labels sue Kim Dotcom and Megaupload

The RIAA says the site engaged in 'massive copyright infringement' of music

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed a lawsuit against the defunct file-sharing website Megaupload and its founder, Kim Dotcom, alleging "massive copyright infringement" of music.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of four record companies: Warner Music, UMG Recordings, Sony Music and Capitol Records. It's the second big action against the service after the movie studios filed a similar suit earlier this week.

Run by the flamboyant Dotcom, Megaupload was a major file-sharing website that carried movies, music, TV shows and software in defiance of copyright claims by major entertainment companies.

The site's troubles began in 2011, when the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) named Megaupload to its list of "notorious markets" for copyrighted material.

A federal lawsuit followed when the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI accused Dotcom and others of "running an international organized criminal enterprise."

The site generated more than US$175 million in criminal proceeds and caused more than half a billion dollars' worth of damage to the content industry, according to the DOJ's original complaint.

Thursday's lawsuit was filed at the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, the same location as the movie industry complaint. In addition to Dotcom and Megaupload, it targets co-founder and CTO Mathias Ortmann and head programmer Bram van der Kolk.

The RIAA, which has also targeted consumers who downloaded content from such sites, said the shutdown of Megaupload in early 2012 had "a profoundly positive impact on the digital music marketplace."

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com



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