Kim Dotcom was the founder of Megaupload, its successor Mega, and New Zealand's Internet Party. A while ago you had a chance to ask him about those things as well as the U.S. government charging him with criminal copyright violation and racketeering. Below you'll find his answers to your questions.Politics - Internet Party and the TPP
So you've recently taken a foray into politics with the formation of the Internet Party. What are your thoughts about what's needed to actually improve New Zealand politics? One of the stated goals of the Internet Party is to review the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which has recently become a hot topic in the US as well. What are your thoughts on the TPP?
Dotcom: The TPP is for the benefit of corporations and their wealthy shareholders. It does not benefit citizens. Prices will go up, human rights will be reduced and if you'll ever have a health issue you'll end up paying more. It's a corrupt treaty, paid for by the lobbyists of the rich, bribing politicians to do their bidding in expanding monopolies to the detriment of the people. That is why they have to keep the text of the TPP secret. That is why their PR machine (the mainstream media) is drumming a pro TPP narrative.
Do your homework and within an hour of online research you will realize that the TPP isn't helping you. It's toxic.The Internet Party will continue to fight against increasing inequality and the reduction of our rights and freedoms. If you want to launch the Internet Party in your country to make a difference please contact us. We are happy to make our branding, policies and advise available to you. We can't do it alone. We need your help.
by Anonymous Coward
You created the "internet party" as a fight against privacy laws being tramped in your adopted country, helped shape policy and pushed for "digital rights" not just for yourself but others.
Yet your "party" formed an alliance with the "mana party" who once claimed that broadband was stealing the soul of the country and sought compensation from the Govt, a party who has never gotten more the 1.30% of the popular vote, Nationalisation of monopolies and duopolies (which means they will never get any business votes, and which constricts their only policy of "for the people" (aren't people allowed to make profit?)
I was absolutely with the "internet party" and digital rights, until they made a coalition with the "mana" party. Was this a choice that you had a part in for the betterment of the political party you bankrolled, or was this out of control?
Dotcom: We joined forces with Mana for 2 simple reasons:
1. Mana is the party of the poor and disadvantaged. They fight against inequality. They want a government that is helping those that are struggling. I think that's honorable. And if you ever get into a situation where you need your government to help you out I think you would be glad that there is a party that cares about your urgent needs. Society has grown cold and selfish. We need to be more considerate for those who really need help. That's why I support Mana. I do admit that they had some radical &unrealistic ideas. It was our job to explain that to them and work with them on better ideas. They were good listeners and had the wisdom to change.
2. We started the Internet Party only 6 months before the election. Mana was our most likely ticket into parliament. It was a strategic decision because we would not have reached the threshold of 5% on the first run. It is extremely difficult for a brand new political movement to achieve the minimum 5% required to get into parliament. It was a gamble. We all knew that it was risky but we had to try. It didn't work out and I took full responsibility for that. In 2017 the Internet Party will run again, solo. We will have more time to prepare for the election and work hard to convince the electorate that we are worthy of making it into parliament.
Modern Warfare 3
by Spy Handler
Did you achieve your rank all by yourself, or were there other people you shared your account with?
What is your favorite
-Game type? (Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, etc)
Any other comments or stories you'd like to share about your COD experience?
Dotcom: I played on my account the vast majority of the time. I have always achieved the #1 spot in any Call of Duty without help. But to maintain the #1 spot I would sometimes ask someone to help me out when I had long business meetings or other time consuming engagements. I played free-for-all and I had so many players chasing my #1 spot that it would have been impossible to maintain it without help because of my time constraints.
A story I like to share is this: I would rarely verse players in free-for-all who could impress me. Especially in 1on1 matches. But every now and then there was a standout talent. One kid impressed me with his skills and I decided to sponsor him to become a top competitive player. If given the opportunity he could win COD champs one day. We became good friends and he is currently living at the mansion and we play video games together.
I'm in love with Destiny at the moment. AW was a disappointment but I can't wait for Black Ops 3 to come out.
Perspective on jurisdictionally conflicting laws
What are your thoughts on the conflict of laws between jurisdictions with specific regard to how countries like the U.S. can claim jurisdiction over the actions of people and business in other countries if U.S. citizens seek to use the internet to purchase or use services not available in their own country?
Dotcom: The US Justice system is a tool of a US empire that wants to control the world. Isn't it arrogant for a US judge, who is limited to US laws, to destroy businesses and jobs half way around the world, without any due process? This is the world we live in today. You are all governed by US laws. They can take ownership of your assets and do it without you ever getting heard, without any due process. It happened to me, in a COPYRIGHT case. I have never traveled to or lived in the United States and my business wasn't located there either. Based on my experience the US Justice system deserves no respect. Alleged criminals are tortured into submission with the threat of decades in jail and forced to make plea deals even when they are completely innocent like our software programmer Andrus Nomm.Hecould not take the pressure anymore and decided to make a deal. That isn't Justice. It's a rigged game, with a completely unfair power balance, designed to give the Government more wins.
I'm strong enough and I will fight for the future of my children and for Internet Freedom. The DOJ knows that this case is toxic.They know I'm not a criminal copyright infringer. In fact the New Zealand Govt has tried to negotiate a deal with my lawyers, on behalf of the US, to settle this case. The solicitor general of New Zealand had proposed that this case could go away If I was willing to accept some copyright liability under New Zealand law. No extradition required. I told my lawyers that I'm innocent and that I'm not interested. And the next thing you know is the Attorney General of New Zealand offering my main NZ counsel a job as a judge. I'm dealing with an unethical system that is willing to rig the game just to win. That's when I decided to start the Internet Party.
Location, location, location
If, hypothetically, you had emigrated to San Francisco USA rather than NZ and Megaupload had been a US-based company do you think it would have been more or less vulnerable to the kind of action it was shut down by? Bonus points for an insightful discussion of the value of political contributions, etc.
Dotcom: The US government would not have taken such overreaching and drastic action if 220 Americans would have lost their jobs. There has never been a case like this before and never since the almost 4 years since the raid. The DOJ called this a test case. The New Zealand government is so corrupt and so eager to please the US that they did not even question any of the bogus legal theories the DOJ is using in this case. The only hope they have is that I don't have the funds to afford a good legal defense, which is why they are pursuing an aggressive starve-out strategy.
Do you foresee an eventual end game to copyright infringement legislation in the future, or a moment when copyright holders throw their hands in the air and give up for good?
Dotcom: As long as there is a giant lobbying industry in America and politicians who allow themselves to be bribed by lobbyists it will just get worse. The vast majority of politicians today are not working for the people. They work for those who keep them in power. The banks and corporations. The US government is so openly corrupt it is hard to understand how the American people let them get away with it. I hope at the next election America will vote for someone who makes it his or her priority to get rid of the money influence in politics.
If you could rewrite copyright
What would be your proposed copyright rule set, so that content producers still can live off their creations?
Dotcom: Copyright & technology need to co-exist. Copyright creators need to adapt to new technologies and not the other way around. The Internet is threatening the old copyright models but it is also offering an enormous opportunity to monetize copyright with innovative concepts that are better than those of the past. Today we are living in a world of copyright extremism. It is completely misguided and it's hurting technology companies and the Internet as a whole. I believe that the companies and people creating content should be compensated for their work and investments. But just like any other industry the copyright industry has to evolve, constantly. It isn't right to censor the Internet and stifle innovation just because the creative industry is struggling to find newer, better business models.
End to End Crypto
Is there a market in the world for strong cryptographic file sharing? Meaning only the end users control their private keys and the "network" just connects users -- it never knows the keys.
Or does that only work on the small scale such as one user sharing some files with a few friends. If that same user shared those files with ten thousand friends, then would the sharing would be public as the keys would be "leaked" by nature of lots of people having them? (And thus those files could be examined for copyright infringement.)
Dotcom: Yes. The booming encryption market has been created by the actions of the US government. Businesses that offer verifiably safe encryption will outperform those that don't. Now that the people are aware of what's going on they will demand more privacy options from the services and products they purchase. Governments will struggle to stop or control encryption and technology will prevail. That is good for all of us. But it's sad that technology has to safeguard our human rights because our governments failed to do so.
by Anonymous Coward
I've seen some criticism from open source advocates and hackers that Mega can't be trusted because the source isn't available.What assurance could you give someone to the point that their files may not be kept secret while hosted on your platform?
Dotcom: I'm not involved in Mega anymore. Neither in a managing nor in a shareholder capacity. The company has suffered from a hostile takeover by a Chinese investor who is wanted in China for fraud. He used a number of straw-men and businesses to accumulate more and more Mega shares. Recently his shares have been seized by the NZ government. Which means the NZ government is in control. In addition Hollywood has seized all the Megashares in the family trust that was setup for my children. As a result of this and a number of other confidential issues I don't trust Mega anymore. I don't think your data is safe on Mega anymore. But my non-compete clause is running out at the end of the year and I will create a Mega competitor that is completely open source and non-profit, similar to the Wikipedia model. I want to give everyone free, unlimited and encrypted cloud storage with the help of donations from the community to keep things going.
What drives you to keep going?
by Joe Gillian
I've seen many a file-sharing site shutter its doors or become overly restrictive after even the merest hint of action by law enforcement officials, doing things like requiring logins to upload or download, sometimes even requiring people to sign in via social media (4Shared). The end result is that a lot of these places become borderline unusable.
Unlike a lot of those website operators, you have personally been dragged out of your home by law enforcement and had actions taken against MegaUpload by the United States government. It could be argued that you have more to fear as a "face" of file-sharing that the Department of Justice would want to make an example out of than pretty much any other file-sharing or torrent tracker operator out there (apart from maybe the Pirate Bay founders).
So my question is this: What drives you to keep going with Mega after having such things happen to you? What kind of mindset does it take to (metaphorically) keep spitting in the face of the United States government after having them raid your house by proxy?
Dotcom: It ain't easy. I had to carry a lot of pain and fear fora lot of people in the last few years. They destroyed my business. They took everything I worked for and seized all my assets.They destroyed my family and drove my wife back into depression and alcoholism which destroyed the happy family we once had. So many people suffered as a result of the unjust actions by both the US and New Zealand governments. I thought about giving up. Who wouldn't in such a situation. But I have to fight because I have such a huge responsibility. First and foremost I have to fight for my five children. They need me. Unfortunately they can't rely on anybody else. And of course I'm fighting for all of you. If I give up all of you will lose. They will use this case to turn our Internet to shit. I love the Internet. It gave me everything. I believe in Internet freedom, in your right to share, in your right to privacy. With your help and your support I can do it. I want to win this fight for all of us. To anyone who is interested in this case I recommend that you read this document to understand the corruption behind the mercenary law enforcement action that led to the destruction of Megaupload.
Was it worth it?