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The Guys Who Ran Megaupload Sentenced to 2.5 Years in Prison

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Ah, Megaupload, the long-defunct file-sharing site that definitely wasn’t a haven for piracy during the mid-2000s. If you were hoping to catch up with what some of its leaders were doing after feds seized the domain in 2012, then you’ll have to do it during prison visitation. On Thursday, a New Zealand court sentenced two of the original operators of Megaupload to more than two years in prison over allegations they facilitated piracy and theft of intellectual property.

As reported by the New Zealand Herald, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk were sentenced to 2.7 and 2.6 years in prison, respectively. This was actually a better outcome for the two than what could have been, as they had been fighting back U.S. extradition for more than a decade where they faced much more serious charges including racketeering.

More than that, Judge Sally Fitzgerald allowed both men to delay serving their sentences until August due to Ortmann expecting a child and van der Kolk’s mother’s reported illness. The two had originally faced close to 10 years in prison, but they managed to get that down with a guilty plea and a deal with the FBI that helped them avoid extradition. The pair pleaded guilty last year during an epic spat between themselves and the co-founder of Megaupload.

Kim Dotcom (the pseudonym adopted by German-Finnish hacker Kim Schmitz), the man most closely associated with Megaupload, is still fighting off extradition to the U.S. He previously congratulated his “former friends and partners” after they managed to avoid extradition and pleaded guilty last year but added he would “continue to fight because unlike my co-defendants I won’t accept the injustice we have been subjected to.”

After Megaupload died, Ortmann, van der Kolk, and fellow co-founder Finn Batato (who died due to cancer last year) created the sequel cloud storage site “Mega,” which Dotcom would not stay as a fellow partner for long. After the pair pleaded guilty, Dotcom accused them of having “stolen” Mega and avoiding extradition “by falsely accusing me.” According to Fitzgerald during the sentencing, the Megaupload site operators agreed to testify against Dotcom in exchange for reduced jail time.

On Thursday, Dotcom called his fellow co-founders’ sentencing “a slap on the wrist.”

Ortmann and van Der Kolk still face some multi-million dollar civil lawsuits filed in the U.S. by the Motion Picture Association of America and Recording Industry Association of America. Dotcom still faces extradition, with a New Zealand judge needing to sign a warrant, though knowing how long the former hacker has managed to stave off departure to the U.S., Dotcom will likely appeal.




Ah, Megaupload, the long-defunct file-sharing site that definitely wasn’t a haven for piracy during the mid-2000s. If you were hoping to catch up with what some of its leaders were doing after feds seized the domain in 2012, then you’ll have to do it during prison visitation. On Thursday, a New Zealand court sentenced two of the original operators of Megaupload to more than two years in prison over allegations they facilitated piracy and theft of intellectual property.

As reported by the New Zealand Herald, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk were sentenced to 2.7 and 2.6 years in prison, respectively. This was actually a better outcome for the two than what could have been, as they had been fighting back U.S. extradition for more than a decade where they faced much more serious charges including racketeering.

More than that, Judge Sally Fitzgerald allowed both men to delay serving their sentences until August due to Ortmann expecting a child and van der Kolk’s mother’s reported illness. The two had originally faced close to 10 years in prison, but they managed to get that down with a guilty plea and a deal with the FBI that helped them avoid extradition. The pair pleaded guilty last year during an epic spat between themselves and the co-founder of Megaupload.

Kim Dotcom (the pseudonym adopted by German-Finnish hacker Kim Schmitz), the man most closely associated with Megaupload, is still fighting off extradition to the U.S. He previously congratulated his “former friends and partners” after they managed to avoid extradition and pleaded guilty last year but added he would “continue to fight because unlike my co-defendants I won’t accept the injustice we have been subjected to.”

After Megaupload died, Ortmann, van der Kolk, and fellow co-founder Finn Batato (who died due to cancer last year) created the sequel cloud storage site “Mega,” which Dotcom would not stay as a fellow partner for long. After the pair pleaded guilty, Dotcom accused them of having “stolen” Mega and avoiding extradition “by falsely accusing me.” According to Fitzgerald during the sentencing, the Megaupload site operators agreed to testify against Dotcom in exchange for reduced jail time.

On Thursday, Dotcom called his fellow co-founders’ sentencing “a slap on the wrist.”

Ortmann and van Der Kolk still face some multi-million dollar civil lawsuits filed in the U.S. by the Motion Picture Association of America and Recording Industry Association of America. Dotcom still faces extradition, with a New Zealand judge needing to sign a warrant, though knowing how long the former hacker has managed to stave off departure to the U.S., Dotcom will likely appeal.

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