Business News Digital Legal MegaUpload Timeline

MegaUpload founder uses ‘Christmas address’ to summarise his many grievances with the US

By | Published on Monday 28 December 2015

Kim Dotcom

As you got busy opening all your presents on Friday – and while LCD Soundsystem and Radiohead got busy plonking surprise new tracks online – MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom got busy posting a Christmas address onto the Torrentfreak site.

Coming after that decision in the New Zealand courts last week that Dotcom and his former colleagues can be extradited to the US – where they face criminal charges of money laundering, racketeering and copyright infringement in relation to their former business. The festive post was a summary of the one time MegaUpload chief’s many and various grievances with the US government.

Most of those grievances we already knew. The severity of the raid against him and his former colleagues as the US swooped onto MegaUpload and its management just under four years ago. And the overnight shutdown of his company and the loss of access to – and, in some cases, subsequent deleting of – data that is important to both Dotcom’s defence and the former customers whose legit files were lost.

A big chunk of the address then repeats Dotcom’s disagreements with the US authorities on points of law – ie whether or not MegaUpload was liable for the rampant infringement of its customers – before calling out prosecutors in America and New Zealand (although he mainly blames the Americans) for, he reckons, dodgy dealings in building and pursuing a case against him.

There’s also time to repeat the claim that the US government has been preventing him from getting a fair hearing in court by insisting seized MegaUpload funds that have been returned to pay Dotcom’s legal fees cannot be used to hire American legal expertise during the extradition process. Dotcom’s reps tried on numerous occasions – unsuccessfully – to halt the extradition proceedings on those grounds.

As for why the US government might be making false claims, employing bad process and relying on non-existent law to drive Dotcom et al out of business, well, it’s all Hollywood’s fault, apparently. “If you have read all of the above you may wonder why the US government is acting so badly”, he concludes. “This case is a political thriller authored and produced by the Motion Picture Association Of America and its ‘senator for hire’ Chris Dodd. His lobbying, calling in favours and close relationships within the White House made this unprecedented abuse of power possible”.

Although it was published on Christmas day, Dotcom clearly penned the piece before last week’s extradition ruling, as he ends his address with the resolution of that particular battle pending. Of course, despite last week’s judgement, the extradition stage of this long saga continues because Dotcom now intends to appeal. Indeed, just before Christmas he said the judgement against him was so weak, and therefore so easy to appeal, that it was “a Christmas gift in disguise”.

It remains to be seen if that confidence is justified. Although MegaUpload, and the piracy it enabled, all seems to have happened so long ago now, if this case ever gets to a US court it will be a key test of the safe harbours in US copyright law that have proven so controversial in music industry circles this last year. But if there is one thing we’ve learned about the MegaUpload case so far, it’s that things are unlikely to happen quickly. Dotcom could well be writing another Christmas address while still sitting in limbo this time next year.