The MegaUpload saga: A timeline of events

kim-dotcomNews has been hitting the wire at an impressive rate since the shutdown of MegaUpload and arrest of Kim “Dotcom” Schmitz, the site’s founder. From the retaliatory hacking attacks that crippled numerous high-profile sites to the reports of some exceedingly lavish property seized from Schmitz’ home in New Zealand, the story has something to pique the interest of just about everyone.

Given all of the news hitting the wire lately, we’ve compiled a timeline of events leading up to today’s bail hearing for Schmitz, going all the way back to the founding of MegaUpload almost seven years ago.

Here are some of the major moments in the MegaUpload story so far:

March 21, 2005: MegaUpload Limited founded by Kim “Dotcom” Schmitz in Hong Kong. The company’s services include MegaUpload (file-sharing), MegaPix (image sharing), MegaVideo (video hosting), MegaLive (video streaming), MegaBox (music library sharing/hosting), and MegaPorn (pornography-specific file-sharing).

May 17, 2007 (approximately): Google sends letter to MegaUpload ending AdSense partnership due to the presence of copyrighted material on megaupload.com.

Sometime in 2009: Despite the company being founded in Hong Kong, IP addresses from China are blocked for unknown reasons. Hong Kong officials claim the block is to hinder investigation of the company.

May 23, 2010: Access to MegaUpload services is blocked in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates due to copyright infringement and availability of pornographic material.

January 2011: Research firm MarkMonitor names MegaUpload and MegaVideo as two of the top three “digital piracy” websites. The study was commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to identify the most active offenders.

June 9, 2011: MegaUpload services are blocked and/or throttled by Malaysian government due to copyright violations.

July 2011: MegaUpload and several other file-sharing sites are blocked in India after illegal copies of the 2011 movie Singham are discovered on the sites.

December 9, 2011: MegaUpload publishes “The Mega Song,” a promotional video featuring popular performers Kanye West, will.i.am, P. Diddy, Alicia Keys, Kim Kardashian, Jamie Foxx, and various other musicians, actors, and athletes. The video is quickly taken down by YouTube on behalf of Universal Music Group for unknown reasons, citing an agreement between UMG and YouTube. Kim Dotcom vows to pursue legal action against UMG and YouTube.

December 12, 2011: “The Mega Song” is restored by YouTube, though no reason for the initial takedown (or its reinstatement) is given.

January 5, 2012: Indictments filed in the U.S. against Schmitz and six of his alleged MegaUpload associates on criminal copyright infringement charges.

January 19, 2012: The U.S. Department of Justice shuts down MegaUpload, and New Zealand authorities arrest Schmitz and three other individuals in Auckland, New Zealand. The arrest is declared a joint effort by New Zealand authorities, the FBI, the U.S. Justice Department, Hong Kong Customs, Hong Kong Department of Justice, the Netherlands Police Agency, the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Serious Fraud and Environmental Crime in Rotterdam, London’s Metropolitan Police Service, Germany’s Bundeskriminalamt, the German Public Prosecutors, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Canadian Department of Justice.

January 19-20, 2012: Hacktivist group Anonymous claims responsibility for a series of attacks that shut down the websites of the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, RIAA, MPAA, UMG, and various other government and entertainment industry websites.

January 20, 2012: Hong Kong Customs freezes more than $30 million in MegaUpload assets.

January 20, 2012: U.S. attorney Robert Bennett, whose previous clients include former U.S. President Bill Clinton and notorious energy company Enron, announces that he will defend MegaUpload.

January 22, 2012: Bennett withdraws from MegaUpload case due to his law firm’s conflicts with an existing client.

January 23, 2012: A New Zealand judge delays the bail hearing for Kim Dotcom Schmitz until January 25. Prosecutors argued that Schmitz is a flight risk due to the availability of a helicopter in his home’s front yard and the alleged presence of weapons and other items discovered in the raid on his home.

And there you go — but as they say in the news biz, this story is still developing. So keep an eye on Digital Trends for more updates as things develop.

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