AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Facing extraditon and possibly decades in U..S. prison, Megaupload founder and filesharing kingpin Kim Dotcom is fighting back, internet-style, launching kim.com, in an attempt to foment a protest movement on his behalf.
Dotcom, currently on bail in New Zealand, argues the “the U.S. government has declared war on the internet” and is trying to convince the netroots community to vote against President Obama on Nov. 5 if the case isn’t dropped.
Cleverly, Dotcom includes the slogan “SOPA PIPA ACTA MEGA,” trying to make the argument that the case against his site was motivated by the same forces that unsuccessfully tried to pass stringent copyright agreements in the United States and internationally earlier this year, until they were defeated by a groundswell of protest.
But he’s not stopping with just a website. Dotcom also recorded a song and accompanying video called “Mr President,” which is addressed to Obama, asking “Whatever happened to change, Mr. President?” As of publication, the video has over 475,000 views on YouTube.
Dotcom told Wired that he set up the site to “inform about the unreasonable actions and phony charges against Megaupload and its management.”
“It is important for people understand how dangerous the Megaupload case is,” he said, adding that there “is no due process or rule of law, just politically driven aggression and destruction lobbied for by the MPAA.”
According to Dotcom, the FBI picked his business as “an easy target” with the goal being the total destruction of it without a trial.
“Megaupload was a good corporate citizen and we have always cooperated with rights holders and authorities,” Dotcom said. The indictment charges that Megaupload was dedicated to copyright infringement and that the founders knew this and encouraged it in order to increase subscriptions and ad revenue.
But Dotcom says the United States’ case is weak.
“They had good reason to seize every penny and to try and keep me locked up. They can’t win this case simply because there was never any criminality,” Dotcom said.
Dotcom earned a small fortune from Megaupload; he lived in a mansion in New Zealand, paid for a fireworks show in Auckland and had a collection of sports cars that were seized in a January raid on his house. Now all of his assets have been seized, but he says that he is not soliciting donations to pay for the court case. At least, not yet.
“We are still working on unfreezing our own assets in order to pay for our defense. Asking for donations will be our last resort,” Dotcom says.
“The reaction to the site has been overwhelmingly positive,” Dotcom said. “The support we are getting is very important to us. “The number of people following the developments of this case is growing daily. Everyone can see that something is terribly wrong here. It’s easy to fight back when you have so much support and know that you have done nothing wrong. And I would say my confidence is a reflection of the confidence in our legal team. They are looking forward to this battle.”
Asked if the “(c) 2012 All Rights Reserved” notice on the site and the site’s terms of service agreements sections on rights and copyrights could be seen as ironic considering the case against Megaupload, Dotcom replied:
Starting Aug. 1, Dotcom will start a campaign trying to rally 200 million former Megaupload users using their e-mail addresses, according to the site.
Meanwhile, the extradition process for Dotcom and his Megaupload co-defendants Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk drags on.
District Court Judge Nevin Dawson has been selected to replace Justice David Harvey, after the latter recused himself from the case following a public remark that could be construed as revealing bias against the United States.
The Megaupload Four face up to 20 years in prison and hundreds of millions of dollars in damages if convicted.