It’s been exactly one year since Megaupload was destroyed by the United States government and exactly one year since Kim Dotcom and his business partners were arrested and thrown in jail by armed police.
For most people these developments would’ve heralded the beginning of a downward spiral, but for this resilient team it only added fuel to the fire.
This weekend, against what appeared to be insurmountable odds, Kim Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato, Bram van der Kolk and a legal team headed by Ira Rothken and Paul Davison QC launched Mega, the most anticipated file-sharing and storage site in history.
Billed as “The Privacy Company“, the launch certainly went off with a bang. In the site’s first hour online it attracted 100,000 brand new users and just a few hours later signups had reached a quarter of a million and beyond. Demand was such that the site couldn’t cope, with many visitors struggling to gain access to the Internet’s newest cyberlocker.
“Server capacity on maximum load. Should get better when initial frenzy is over. Wow!!!” exclaimed Dotcom on Twitter.
A few minutes ago the New Zealand launch party kicked off and it had all the glitz the world has come to expect from the flamboyant entrepreneur. From a festival-sized stage in front of Kim Dotcom’s Coatville mansion proceedings began with a play to the home crowd via a traditional Māori musical performance. Then Dotcom took the stage.
“Today is the one year anniversary of the raid and destruction of Megaupload. The allegations against us are wrong, we are innocent and we will prevail,” he began.
“This is not about mocking any government or Hollywood. It’s about our right to innovate.”
Dotcom said the launch of Mega would begin a new conversation on Internet freedom.
“The Internet belongs to no man industry or government,” he said.
Dotcom went on to talk a little about the misuse of copyright by profit-motivated corporations aimed at taking control of the Internet and chilling free speech. He said Megaupload had first-hand experience of this type of action, it was taken away without a hearing, its users’ privacy was ruined and free speech was attacked.
“You will be left at the side of the road if you misuse copyright,” he said. “No matter how many politicians you lobby, no matter how many SOPAs, you will not take control of OUR Internet,” he declared.
The new Mega is billed as “The Privacy Company” and Dotcom pushed this aspect heavily in his speech.
“Why do we focus on privacy? According to the UN Charter of Human Rights, privacy is a basic human right. But lately it has become increasingly difficult to communicate privately,” he said.
“By using Mega you say NO to those who want to know everything about you. By using Mega you say NO to governments that want to spy on you. By using Mega you say YES to Internet freedom and your right to privacy,” he said.
Adding to the stats given out earlier, Dotcom said that Mega’s launch had exceeded expectations. The site had 1 million visitors in 14 hours and 500,000 registered users.
“Mega is going to be huge and nothing will stop Mega,” he said.
Then, adding to the performance, a black FBI-labeled helicopter swooped in and officers rappelled down ropes from the roof of the mansion in a reenactment of the raid one year ago. But Dotcom swiftly brought this to an end.
“Stop the madness, lets all be friends,” he said, launching into a performance of his own track “Party Amplifier.”
In a Q&A session, Dotcom spoke of a project Megaupload had been working on. Megamovie was aimed as a Netflix competitor and one which would’ve been integrated with Megakey, but it didn’t get off the ground due to the raids. On Twitter Dotcom teased the MPAA with the screenshot below and “Let’s talk!”
Following questions on the privacy and encryption aspects of the site, Dotcom said that he would be lowering his profile somewhat in the future. It’s not healthy to be constantly in the public eye he said, and with no further questions the press conference ended and the bar was declared open.