Kim Schmitz, a.k.a. Kim Dotcom, seems extremely positive despite all the problems he’s had in recent years.
After the US government shut down his popular file-hosting service Megaupload in 2012, resulting in the seizure of his assets and a brief prison stay, he tried reinventing the service a year later with “Mega,” a file-sharing service that added encryption to avoid snooping by governments or third-parties.
But now, Dotcom claims (via Slashdot) that his new company Mega has been the victim of a hostile takeover by an investor named Bill Liu, a.k.a. William Yan, who he claims is “wanted in China for fraud.” Dotcom says Liu covertly accumulated shares to stage a takeover, and then those shares were subsequently seized by the New Zealand government. And now “[Mega’s shareholders] have lost control of the company.” (Mega has officially denied these claims in a detailed rebuttal.)
So now, Dotcom is once again reinventing himself — and his service — while also distancing himself from his past. Here comes Mega 3.0.
“It won’t be a great economic success for me but I am more driven by Internet Freedom, your right to share and the protection of our basic human right to privacy,” Dotcom told Wired in an interview. “I want to eliminate all the weak spots in our armour and create a beast that neither Hollywood nor any government can infiltrate or destroy.”
This time around, there will be “no shareholders, no seizures, no trouble,” Dotcom told Wired. It will be completely open source, non-profit, and funded entirely through donations, like Wikipedia. The new site will offer a messaging service and cloud storage all-in-one, for free, but Dotcom promises it will certainly be encrypted by default from the beginning.
With Mega 3.0, Dotcom cares less about disturbing governments or disrupting Hollywood; when he helped launch New Zealand’s Internet Party, he lobbied for a “free, fair, connected and innovative society.” Mega 3.0 embodies that same idea.
But Dotcom is aware that his ideas aren’t popular with everyone, particularly governments and Hollywood studios, which he claims are overprotective of their copyrights. Dotcom was sued by the Motion Picture Association of America last April, while, at the same time, the Department of Justice was trying to extradite him to the US to face piracy charges.
“Copyright extremism has to stop,” Dotcom told Wired. “Hollywood needs to adapt to the Internet and not the other way around. They need to make their content available globally at the same time, at a fair price and for any device. Twenty years from now people will look back at this whole copyright nonsense and laugh. Hollywood can’t win on its current path.”
Dotcom believes Mega 3.0, with its non-profit status and privacy safeguards, can do a better job at serving people’s needs for free flowing information while also steering clear of scrutiny.
“I had two runs to learn my lessons,” Dotcom said. “The third time will be perfect. You’ll see.”
Dotcom’s full interview with Wired, where he discusses his past projects and future plans, is definitely worth a read.
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