Gabon to suspend new Megaupload site

2012-11-07 13:00
Kim Dotcom and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, right, stand together in Auckland (Kim Dotcom, AP)

Kim Dotcom and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, right, stand together in Auckland (Kim Dotcom, AP)

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Libreville - Gabon's government said it was suspending the website www.me.ga, which internet tycoon Kim Dotcom had planned to use to launch a new version of his defunct Megaupload file-sharing site.

"I have instructed my departments... to immediately suspend the site www.me.ga," announced Communication Minister Blaise Louembe, saying he wanted to "protect intellectual property rights" and "fight cyber crime effectively".

"Gabon cannot serve as a platform or screen for committing acts aimed at violating copyrights, nor be used by unscrupulous people," the minister said.

The announcement came after Kim Dotcom unveiled plans last week to re-launch his file-sharing empire on 20 January, exactly one year after he was arrested in New Zealand on online piracy charges.

The US accuses Dotcom, a 38-year-old German national who legally changed his name from Kim Schmitz, of fraudulently making more than $175m on pirated movies, TV shows and other content.

The US wants to extradite him to face charges of money laundering, racketeering, fraud and online copyright theft that could see him jailed for up to 20 years.

Dotcom, who denies the charges, is currently free on bail in New Zealand ahead of an extradition hearing in March.

The new site, www.me.ga, was to be hosted on Gabon's .ga domain.

Louembe said the domain name had been allocated to someone in France who had then transferred it to Dotcom.

The minister said an investigation by his staff had found the site was set up to redirect traffic to another site hosted in France that would provide access to shared files.

The site was still online at 21:00 GMT Tuesday, with a message saying: "On January 19 this button will change the world."
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