The U.S. government has gotten its first guilty plea in the criminal copyright infringement case against Megaupload, the enormous file-sharing host it raided, took over and took down in 2012.
Andrus Nõmm of the Netherlands, arrested this week in Virginia, pleaded guilty to felony copyright infringement and will serve one year and one day in a federal prison. The Justice Department announced the plea and sentencing on Friday.
Nõmm waived his right to an extradition hearing. The Justice Department said Nõmm, as part of his guilty plea, "agreed that the harm caused to copyright holders by the Mega Conspiracy's criminal conduct exceeded $400 million.
"He further acknowledged that the group obtained at least $175 million in proceeds through their conduct," the statement said.
Kim Dotcom, Megaupload's founder, continues to battle and avoid extradition from New Zealand to face charges in the U.S. He tweeted the following message of support for Nõmm.
The US Justice system: An innocent coder pleads guilty after 3 years of DOJ abuse, with no end in sight, in order to move on with his life.— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) February 13, 2015
Dotcom's attorney, to Ars Technica, said prosecutors exploited Nõmm's "weak financial condition and inability to fight back to manufacture a Hollywood-style publicity stunt in the form of a scripted guilty plea in court."
Megaupload, based in Hong Kong, operated for 7 years and was one of the largest file storage and sharing sites on the Internet, with millions of users uploading and sharing music, videos and porn. It was seized and shut down Jan. 19, 2012.
Dotcom was arrested at a birthday celebration in New Zealand, but he has not been extradited from that nation to face trial in the United States. He will have an extradition hearing on June 2.