SEVEN major Hollywood movie studios have filed a massive copyright infringement lawsuit against Megaupload and its founder Kim Dotcom.
The film companies filed the legal action through the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which made the announcement this morning New Zealand time.
He is personally named in the indictment, which claims Megaupload and its key operators "facilitated, encouraged, and profited from massive copyright infringement of movies and television shows'' before it was shut down in 2012.
Dotcom is already facing extradition to the United States on criminal copyright and racketeering charges in relation to the now defunct file sharing website.
Today major studios 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros filed claims in the Virginia federal court.
It named the defendants as Megaupload, majority shareholder Vester Ltd, Dotcom, chief technical officer Mathias Ortmann, and programmer Bram van der Kolk.
"When Megaupload.com was shut down in 2012 by US law enforcement, it was by all estimates the largest and most active infringing website targeting creative content in the world,'' MPAA global general counsel Steven Fabrizio said in a statement.
"Infringing content on Megaupload.com and its affiliates was available in at least 20 languages, targeting a broad global audience. According to the government's indictment, the site reported more than US$175 million in criminal proceeds and cost US copyright owners more than half a billion dollars.''
The companies are seeking profits and maximum statutory damages.