Americas, USA, Asia-Pacific, New Zealand, Science & Tech, World

Kim Dotcom: Life of the Megaupload Giant

Kim Dotcom is a household name on the internet. Starting out as a hacker gone security consultant and ending up launching one of the biggest sharing websites in the history of the internet – Megaupload. Elevating filesharing to the next level, Kim Dotcom soon had to learn that American multi-billion corporations do not easily overlook lost profits.

Born in Germany, Kim Dotcom was always surrounded by legal troubles. He began his life in the technology world as a hacker, soon to be convicted to two years probation for computer fraud. What would have been a setback for other people, was actually the stepping stone for the aspiring entrepreneur. Dotcom went on to provide security services for companies. He soon made a name for himself in Germany and beyond as a charismatic nerd that enjoyed attention and a constant stream of people surrounding him.

However, his business decisions didn’t seem to do him any favors. After being sued and convicted for insider trading he eventually moved to Hong Kong. Hong Kong is and was a natural place to build a business and, among several ideas, Megaupload eventually emerged. A filesharing service that could be described as the predecessor of the cloud services we know and use today. Except it didn’t only encourage people to share their private holiday pics and videos. It enabled people to take copyright infringements to the next level.

Kim Dotcom and Megaupload

In the earlier years of the internet, internet piracy through filesharing became immensely popular. It started with relatively small files like music, however, movies and tv shows were still far off. That changed with Megaupload, allowing files of any size to be uploaded and shared with others.

While maybe not actively encouraging to upload copyright material, it soon became a major part of the Megaupload ad and subscription revenue. A concept that naturally pissed of big corporations in the music and film industry. Kim Dotcom started a fight he maybe wasn’t fully prepared for – and he would have to realize that before long.

In that era of the internet, big companies were still holding on to archaic concepts of distribution and watched in shock as the internet disrupted and literally tore them apart. Faced with potential losses through internet piracy by the likes of Kim Dotcom and Megaupload, they brought the big guns. The industry was prepared to use their lobbying leverage in US politics to try and haul in the biggest fish they set their eyes on yet – but Kim Dotcom wouldn’t come easy.

An Immoderate Raid Against Internet Piracy

In January 2012, after Kim Dotcom became a New Zealand resident despite his several criminal convictions, police raided his mansion in Coatesville, New Zealand. A move that was highly controversial and recently got ruled disproportionate in court. At this point, Kim Dotcom had already raked in millions with Megaupload. Charges brought against Kim Dotcom as the brain behind Megaupload by courtesy of the United States included the likes of copyright infringement, money laundering, and several conspiracy charges. Kim Dotcom’s own perception and breakdown of the charges can be found here.

If found guilty Kim Dotcom would face extradition to the United States and up to 80 years in prison. For a charge that seemed faulty, constructed, and forced by political interests in the USA.

America: World Police

While Kim Dotcom is certainly a smart and extrovert individual, he is far from innocent. Just judging from his previous convictions alone, the lawsuit brought against him in New Zealand is worrying from a different standpoint. We have a highly influential lobby group, namely Hollywood, putting enough pressure on the former US government to influence a second sovereign country, New Zealand, to be its judicial puppet.

As it turns out, New Zealand officials only allowed Kim Dotcom into the country despite his criminal records to help the US to incarcerate him by extradition. Unfortunately, New Zealand broke most rules in the playbook of human rights by illegal surveillance, providing false evidence, a disproportionate raid, and the fact that there is no applicable copyright law in the country that applies to the charges brought forward by the US.

Still, as it stands right now, Kim Dotcom and his Business partners are still expected to be extradited to the US on charges of fraud. A fact that Dotcom couldn’t yet successfully appeal against. Even though the whole case seems inconsistent and riddled with errors. The fact he got recompensated for the botched raid is only a small win and it remains to be seen where this may lead.

Even though the future is uncertain, Kim Dotcom is still very much in business and recently announced plans to work on a new form of the internet “run by the people for the people” in favor of net neutrality.

About Andreas Salmen

Born and raised in Germany, learned a job in IT and Business and ultimately decided that this wasn't exactly where my life was going to end. Left everything behind to become a writing backpacker instead. The world's crumbling away anyway so why not write about it and get a few good Instagram pics on the way, am I right?

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