Majority of Megaupload traffic came from France, not US

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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MegaUpload, a popular file-sharing target of a recent Justice Department online piracy investigation, received the majority of its web traffic from regions outside of the United States, the Daily Caller has learned through publicly available web measurement tools.

According to the web traffic measurement company, Alexa, MegaUpload.com received 10 percent of its user traffic from Internet users in France and 8.8 percent of traffic from Brazil, while only 7.3 percent of traffic came from the United States and 7.2 percent of traffic came from Spain. The majority of users were male, ages 18 to 34.

Google Insights for Search and Google Trends also revealed that MegaUpload.com received a high concentration of search traffic from Europe and Latin America: the top 5 countries were Spain, France, Italy, Chile and Tunisia, with searches highly concentrated in the metro areas of Spain and France; the top five languages searches were conducted in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Polish.

The Justice Department’s sting against the MegaUpload franchise involved the arrest of New Zealand resident “Kim Dotcom” – also known as Kim Schmitz, or Kim Tim Jim Vestor – and six accomplices, all of which were either citizens of European and Central European countries: Germany, Slovakia, Estonia and the Netherlands. No Americans were arrested in the sting, and both MegaUpload Limited and Schmitz’s holding company Vestor Limited were registered in Hong Kong.

The Justice Department said in a statement regarding the operation:

“According to the indictment, for more than five years the conspiracy has operated websites that unlawfully reproduce and distribute infringing copies of copyrighted works, including movies – often before their theatrical release – music, television programs, electronic books, and business and entertainment software on a massive scale.”

The January 5 federal indictment followed a two-year investigation of Megaupload.com. The site, which was registered in Hong Kong along with Schmitz’s holding company, had servers in “Ashburn, Va., Washington, D.C., the Netherlands and Canada,” said the Justice Department.

“The estimated harm caused by the conspiracy’s criminal conduct to copyright holders is well in excess of $500 million,” said the Justice Department. “The conspirators allegedly earned more than $175 million in illegal profits through advertising revenue and selling premium memberships.”

The takedown sparked the largest cyber attack against the DOJ by the hacktivist collective Anonymous. The coordinate cyber attack took place on Thursday. Fox News reported Friday that the Justice Department took its site offline for several hours because the oncoming attack was detected.

Officials have stated that the MegaUpload takedown was not related to the SOPA, or “Stop Online Piracy Act,” protests.

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