MegaUpload redo is shut down even before debut

The government of Gabon says it plans to suspend the domain name that MegaUpload founder Kim DotCom planned to use to launch a new cloud-storage service.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
2 min read
Kim DotCom, founder of MegaUpload. Screen shot by Greg Sandoval/CNET

We won't find the MegaUpload-replacement service anytime soon at Me.ga.

Kim DotCom, founder of MegaUpload, the cloud storage service accused in an indictment by the United States of being a pirate site and criminal enterprise, said last week that he would launch a new cloud-storage service in January designed to protect it from U.S. law enforcement. DotCom and MegaUpload have denied any wrongdoing.

As part of its defenses, the new site would use the Gabon-based domain .ga instead of the .com domain, DotCom announced. Not so fast, said Blaise Louembe, Gabon's communications minister.

According to the New Zealand publication, Stuff.co.nz, Louembe has instructed that www.me.ga be suspended and said the small West African nation "cannot serve as a platform or screen for committing acts aimed at violating copyrights, nor be used by unscrupulous people."

Ira Rothken, the Silicon Valley attorney who oversees MegaUpload's worldwide defense, confirmed in an interview with CNET that MegaUpload's successor site will not be available at Me.ga. But Rothken added that the new service is still on its way.

"The [new] site is not even functional yet," Rothken said. "MegaUpload and Kim are innocent and presumed innocent. It sounds like a lack of net neutrality in Gabon...We're just going to use a different domain."

There's a cat-and-mouse game going on between the United States and MegaUpload. MegaUpload was once one of the largest video destinations in the world before U.S. officials shut the site down in January and requested that New Zealand law enforcement arrest DotCom.

The United States is trying to extradite DotCom, but while that process plays out in the courts, the MegaUpload founder readies a new storage service.