10 questions with Kim Dotcom
I met Kim Dotcom at the taping of the final Media7 show at TVNZ. He answered one question, about whether he would stay in NZ in the event he won his extradition case ("It's too early to tell") and agreed to answer more by email - tweaking some of his responses after we spoke again Friday.
Dotcom placed no limits on what questions could be ask, or what NBR could publish - although, for legal reasons, NBR has chosen not to print all of his comments at this point in time.
The photo above is a montage posted by Dotcom to his Instagram feed. Like his answers below, it illustrates he is no slave to professional PR advice, or the more conservative insticts of his legal team. - CK
1. Assuming the current charges are eventually dropped, will you start another file sharing service?
Besides working on the case and keeping my family strong I am working on Megabox [a free online music service that would cut record labels out of the picture and generate revenue through advertising - CK].
ABOVE: Dotcom outside the Hight Court at Auckland, July 4.
2. Before the raid, you were talking about a file service that cut record companies out of the picture, and gave artists a cut of the revenue.
Is that still something you would like to do? Do you think music labels and movie studios were threatened by what you said?
Megabox and Megakey are potentially life-threatening to the current middleman business model dominating artists and content.
I would like to hand the power to the artists and creators.
Artists should deal directly with fans and consumers.
The Internet, which labels consider the biggest threat to artists, will actually unchain them.
This is scary for the major labels.
But it's inevitable and its going to happen with or without me.
3. Should the FBI and NZ police have gotten involved in what his essentially a commercial dispute over copyright?
This operation was planned on the highest political level. The order to take Mega down came from the White House.
Former Senator Chris Dodd is now the head lobbyist for the MPAA (representing all major Hollywood studios). He and Joe Biden are best friends.
Have a look [at this CBS News report]:
“Senator Dodd is one of my best friends in life," opens the statement [by Joe Biden on Senator Dodds' retirement]. "He's one of the most skilled legislators I've ever served with."
They had meetings at the White House with all studio bosses and Mike Ellis (a former Superintendent of the Hong Kong police and extradition expert).
Joe Biden's former lawyer and now State Attorney Neil MacBride was put in charge of "Operation Takedown".
Mike Ellis had meetings in NZ with former Minister of Justice Simon Power [in March last year the Herald reported - CK] and he was most certainly briefed about the Mega case.
Simon Power stopped my OIO application to buy property in NZ. In his decision he wrote that I failed the character test because of my prior convictions.
That's after the OIO [Overseas Investment Office] recommended a favorable decision and Minister Maurice Williamson had already approved and signed the application.
Simon Power alone refused my application and probably convinced Maurice Williamson to change his mind.
Immigration NZ had the same information about my past and had no problem to grant me residency. The only difference is that Simon Power knew about the FBI investigation.
An independent review of this case might reveal the political dimension and the desire of the NZ government to please the United States.
Why was there an Osama bin Laden style-raid on my family with two helicopters and 70 heavily armed cops? This would not be possible without approval from the top.
ABOVE: Kim Dotcom's co-accused, photographed by Dotcom in the High Court at Auckland, July 4. L-R. Bram van der Kolk (who oversaw Megauploads website management), chief technical officer, co-founder and director Mathias Ortmann, and chief marketing officer Finn Batato. Van der Kok and Batato have received little press, but have accompanied Dotcom on many of his recent outings around Auckland.
Megaupload was one of the most visited, most loved websites on the Internet. It saved people a lot of money and was a pioneer in the cloud storage arena.
The benefits of Megaupload for society were bigger than the damages from alleged copyright abuses by our users. Students around the world used Megaupload to collaborate with other students. Soldiers used Megaupload to stay in touch with their families and exchange pictures and videos. Employees at 87% of Fortune 1000 companies had accounts with Megaupload. There were substantial non-infringing uses of Megaupload and Snoop Dog said: "I love Megaupload because it keeps the kids of the streets."
The billionaire club of Hollywood shareholders and their commercial interests have destroyed Megaupload. They have destroyed a successful, innovative business and 220 jobs around the world. Including the jobs of 48 New Zealanders and contractors who are owed over $NZ500,000. I can't pay them because all my assets were frozen. I would pay them tomorrow if the NZ government would make my assets available. I can't even pay my lawyers while the US government and Crown Law are spending millions to fight me.
I can't keep this up for long. I am losing this unfair battle because of dirty tactics.
I would never have expected that New Zealand could take part in such injustice.
I am guilty until proven innocent. And when I win I will still be the loser. There can be no victory at the end of this journey. My kids will grow up around anxiety and sadness.
At least the judicial system in New Zealand seems to work. I have faith in NZ Judges.
ABOVE: Dotcom has been criticised in some quarters for posting so many photos of his wife and kids on Twitter and Instagram recently - but whether calculated or not, it does give a more rounded picture of his domestic life than the helicopters, guns and big boys' toys that used to dominated his public image.
4. What made you choose New Zealand?
It's the purest and most beautiful place on earth. Far away from anything that could go wrong in the world. A safe place for my children to grow up. At least that's what I thought.
5. If your case is thrown out, will you sue the US government and/or the NZ government?
What's the point of suing the US or NZ government? This is not about making more money. This is about Internet Freedom and human rights.
The most powerful government on the planet wants to crush me like a terrorist. I can't win this without your help. I really need the New Zealand public behind me.
I am not a criminal and I have done nothing wrong. I live in a big mansion and some might see me as a flamboyant tall poppy. But I am a good human being.
I enjoy making people happy and doing good things for others. Please embrace this family. We really need your help.
The abuse of power in this case is extraordinary. The US government terminated a billion dollar business and 220 jobs without a trial and without probable cause.
They froze "every penny" of all defendants in an attempt to paralyze our defense.
Even the assets of my mother in Germany, my bodyguard Wayne [Tempero] and my personal assistant were frozen.
None of them are charged with any crime. I thought stuff like this only happens in conspiracy movies. But unfortunately this is my life now.
The FBI had access to my emails and they knew that the whole family was going to be in the United States in August.
We had a deal to rent a mansion in LA for three months.
All my co-defendants would have been there too.
But the White House was in a rush. Especially after the SOPA debacle. [Hollywood had expected the Obama White House to support the Stop Online Piracy Act, but the legislation fell into disarray and was shelved after two Obama advisors criticised it as heavy handed and said it would stifle business innovation - CK]. The Hollywood execs were furious as you can see here and here.
And they had to terminate Mega in January because Obama's major fundraisers in Hollywood were set for February, March and April.
The NZ government became a re-election assistant for Obama. Close to $US100 million was raised. Congratulations. What will the NZ government get in return?
6. Are you surprised no action has been taken against any other file-sharing service?
After the destruction of Mega US based companies like Dropbox have started offering exactly the same services like Megaupload.
Read this and you can understand whats going on - Backdoor SOPA.
7. Mac or Windows?
I would like to try Windows 8 on the newest Macbook Pro with retina display.
8. iPhone or Android?
iPhone wins. But @nzben got me thinking about a Windows 8 phone. I might try one.
9. Crocs - why?
They're comfortable for the house. I have had this pair of Crocs for five years. They are indestructible.
10. Is there anything you would like to say to France Komoroske's horse?
Help me horse!
US authorities are trying to extradite Kim Dotcom and his co-accused to face racketeering, money laundering, wire fraud and copyright infringement charges (read the full indictment here. Most relate to Megaupload.com, which the FBI alleges generated more than $US175 million in illegal profits from advertising and premium accounts providing access to pirated movies and music.
On June 28, Chief High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann ruled the search warrants used by police to seize property from Kim Dotcom's $30 million rented Coatesville mansion on January 20 were illegal, and that it was unlawful for copies of Kim Dotcom's computer data to be taken offshore by the FBI.
he extradition hearing for Kim Dotcom and his co-accused begins August 6.
Read the latest developments in his case in US refusal to grant Dotcom disclosure based on a 'fallacy.'