Dotcom launches defence video
Kim Dotcom, the Internet tycoon at the centre of a US investigation into online piracy and fraud has launched a music video attacking US anti-piracy laws and Hollywood’s influence on American politics.
Described by one Twitter user as “Kraftwerk meets Austin Powers,” Dotcom’s Mr President starts with Dotcom proclaiming to the world that “The war for the Internet has begun”.
“Hollywood is in control of politics. The government is killing innovation.”
Posted on his Kim.com website and on Youtube.com, Dotcom challenges supporters of US president Barack Obama asking: "If Megaupload is not back online by November 1st, will you vote for Obama?"
Dotcom's latest salvo follows a challenge to the FBI earlier this month in which the Megaupload.com founder said he was willing to face them in court in the US if they agreed to certain conditions.
The FBI alleges that Dotcom led a group that has netted $175 million since 2005 by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorisation.
The four minute-long video, posted this morning, features footage of Jimmy Carter, Martin Luther King, and anti-piracy law activists.
Critical of the US Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) and Protect IP Act, the song asks: “What happened to change Mr President? What happened to free speech Mr President?”
Viewers are invited to share and use the video freely.
The case has attracted worldwide attention and comment since the January raid with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak the latest to show support.
Speaking in an interview today with New Zealand news outlet 3 News, Mr Wozniak said:
"If someone commits a crime shipping drugs on the sea, you don't drain the sea and say the sea is the problem. If they are mailing drugs through the post office you don't shut the post office down you try to get the people who are doing the wrong steps."
A New Zealand court has delayed a hearing into the US request for Dotcom’s extradition until March next year because of ongoing legal hearings related to the search and seizure of evidence by the United States.
The New Zealand High Court in June ruled that search warrants used by police to search the flamboyant Dotcom's mansion to collect the evidence were illegal. The court also ruled that the FBI's copying of evidence and sending it to the United States was also unlawful.
Acting on a request from the FBI, New Zealand armed police, backed by helicopters, raided Dotcom's rented estate outside Auckland in January, confiscating computers and hard drives.
Dotcom and the three others were arrested, and Dotcom was kept in custody for a month before being granted bail.
Critics of the US Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) and Protect IP Act quickly showed their opposition to the shutdown of Megaupload.com, with hackers from the Anonymous group attacking the public websites of the US justice department, the world's largest music company Universal Music, and the two big trade groups that represent the music and film industries.
Dotcom’s lawyers say the company simply offered online storage where users could upload and store data remotely and access it from any location through the Internet.
Dotcom says the US case against him is based on “a host of novel theories of criminal liability for copyright infringement.”
Through his website Dotcom claims the US government is seeking to prosecute him for “mass secondary copyright infringement,” something his lawyers argue cannot be found in any federal criminal statute.
New Zealand courts have progressively eased restrictions on Dotcom, allowing him back into his mansion, giving him access to hundreds of thousands of dollars for living and legal expenses, and removing some travel and meeting restrictions.
Dotcom told a local paper that US authorities already know they cannot win the case against him, but his legal bills are mounting up into "millions of dollars", which he cannot pay because of a freeze on much of his fortune and assets.
He is increasingly using Twitter to keep his followers abreast of every twist and turn in his complicated case, while also posting photos of family birthdays and praising his legal team.