Major record labels Warner Music, UMG, Sony and Capitol Records on Thursday followed Hollywood studios in filing a copyright infringement suit against Megaupload, accusing the site of fostering and even promoting access to pirated music.
In the suit, the labels say that Megaupload "played an active role in ensuring that it had the most popular content on its servers, that the URL links to those infringing content files were widely disseminated on the Internet, and that the links were advertised and promoted by pirate linking sites."
The record labels are seeking unspecified damages, whether that be actual damages and Megaupload's profits, or statutory damages, the maximum of which is $175,000 per case of infringement.
Also named in the suit are Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk. They are facing charges of federal criminal copyright infringement after the Department of Justice issued an indictment in January, 2012. That case has been mired in proceedings to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand, where he has defended his site and even appeared on "60 Minutes" in December.
The record labels' suit, filed via the Recording Industry Assn. of America, follows the filing of a copyright infringement suit earlier this week by the six major studios.
Attorney Ira Rothken, representing Megaupload, said that "the RIAA, the MPAA and DOJ are like three blind mice, following each other in pursuit of meritless copyright claims.
"The case against Megaupload is in reality an assault on cloud storage generally, as the company used copyright neutral technology," he said. "We strongly believe that like YouTube, once the court can hear all the facts and analyze the law, Megaupload and the other defendants will prevail."
U.S. law enforcement officials shut down the piracy site in January 2012, but six major movies studios are seeking to collect $175 million, alleging that its principals earned that amount by illegally sharing copyrighted works.