SPAIN made more internet searches for the file-sharing site Megaupload than any other country in the world.
Internet users in the cities of Valencia, Madrid and Barcelona were the most persistent searchers for Megaupload, accused of piracy by the US and closed down last week by the FBI.
Google figures reveal that since 2005 Spaniards typed in the word “Megaupload” more often than anyone else, suggesting they also illegally downloaded the most films, music and texts.
Founders, Kim Schmitz – aka Kim Dotcom – and Mathias Ortmann were arrested in New Zealand together with two employees although police failed to locate three other workers.
Charges included “conspiracy to commit racketeering”, copyright infringement and money laundering. Assets worth €9.9 million were also impounded, according to New Zealand police, while a federal court in Virginia ordered 18 domain names associated with Megaupload to be seized.
A further $50 million of the company’s assets were confiscated following searches of 20 locations in the US, Canada and the Netherlands.
France was next after Spain in the number of searchers for Megaupload and, consequently, users of the banned file-sharing site. One of the first to congratulate the US on the closure was the French premier, Nicolas Sarkozy, who has unsuccessfully attempted to pass stringent anti-download laws in the past.
However, an open internet needed safeguards “not bad legislation”, said Neelie Kroes, EU commissioner for digital policy, in response to SOPA, America’s anti-internet piracy legislation.
An attack on the FBI website, which was sporadically unavailable after the Megauploadsarrests was allegedly the work of the hackers’ group Anonymous and being treated as “a malicious act”, said US authorities.