After years of fighting in court against copyright suits, millionaire Kim Dotcom (born Kim Schmitz) has launched a documentary in which he presents his idea that USA law enforcement has a blatant disregard for the law. Caught in the Web is the film with which he aims to redeem himself and present the USA as a money driven government controlled by the largest Industries in the country.
Now and advocate for Internet freedom, Kim Dotcom gained first recognition as a teenager by selling identities he had stolen from phone companies’ databases. But he is best known worldwide as the founder of Mega Upload, a site that was popular from 2005 and 2012 among internet users to access eBooks, series, movies, song or any other (copyrighted or not) for free.
The documentary was presented in the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival in Texas, although the film did not win any awards. The film raised a lot of buzz among its viewers and was described as preconception shattering by the New Zealand Film Commission, who helped finance the documentary.
Esquire magazine commented on Dotcom’s documentary saying it “humanized the anti-hero”. The magazine also discussed how it raised a lot of questions on “the nature of piracy, ownership, and motivation”. While Kim Dotcom’s documentary claims that what happened to him was really an abuse of power by the USA, he also claims that the Motion Picture Association of America lobbyists where behind the investigation. His argument also states that there is no data to prove that closing down Mega Upload increased Hollywood’s income.
The case against Kim Dotcom was first built by the United States for multiple accounts of wire fraud, copyrights infringements, racketeering, and money laundering. On 20 January 2012, The United States shut down the site.
However, it lost strength as bureaucratic errors were detected by the High Court of New Zealand: errors such as not serving the company with proper notice before seizing their assets and using general warrants rather than specific warrants to search the executives’ houses. In Dotcom’s documentary, these and other mistakes are presented as US disregard for the law.
In any case, it’s clear that MegaUpload did not do anything to prevent, stop or deter from making copyright infringing content available. Furthermore, it seemed to encourage it by facilitating the access to infringing content and refusing to remove it. During the years that MegaUpload was active, it was the place to go on the Internet to find music and movies or series. After LimeWire and KaZaA lost pull and popularity and before The Pirate Bay took over, MegaUpload was the paradise of illegal downloads.
It was through the misuse of the Internet and file sharing that Kim Dotcom went from a regular John Doe to an identity stealing teen to a multimillionaire owner of a company valued in over 200 million dollars. When his house was raided, over $17 million dollars worth in art work and such was withheld.
But, how did he really get this rich? Well, the content for download was free to the users, but the pages were filled with advertising that paid a slot on his site. The site did not start out as an illegal content download site. But once Dotcom and his associates noticed that, the more hits a page got, the more money he made. They also noticed that copyright infringing content got more hits and therefore made more money. It isn’t hard to infer this as it is the business model that copyright infringing sites follow to this day.
Furthermore, MegaUpload charged for premium accounts that allowed faster and unlimited downloads to the account holder. These premium accounts not only made Kim a multimillionaire, but they misled users to believe they were not stealing content.
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