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Kim Dotcom Faces a Possible 50 Years

Kim Dotcom Faces a Possible 50 Years



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"Big Business and Big Government, who still haven’t officially announced that they’re married, have been seeking to get even bigger lately. They’d been trying to push a bill called SOPA—the Stop Online Piracy Act—that empowered Wall Street and the White House to decide who gets to do what on the Internet. But the Big Biz/Big Guv tag-team wrestling duo suffered a smackdown. In protest of SOPA, huge sites such as Wikipedia blacked themselves out for a day on January 18th.

In retaliation, the Justice Department chose the wealthy but charisma-challenged Kim Dotcom (né Kim Schmitz, AKA Kimble, AKA Kim Tim Jim Vestor) to represent all that is evil about Internet piracy on January 19th. Cooperating with the FBI, authorities in New Zealand invaded his home, confiscated his belongings, and threw him in jail a day after the SOPA blackout. He was deemed a flight risk and is still incarcerated.

Upping the ante after the feds shut down Dotcom’s site Megaupload, the online “global brain” that calls itself Anonymous hacked an array of government and corporate websites.

The escalating antics mirrored Dotcom’s countersuit from December after Universal Music Group tried preventing him from using their artists to promote his file-sharing software. UMG claimed they had the right to prevent rappers on their roster from promoting certain brands, and Dotcom sued them for lying. UMG lost, and after seeing the groundswell of support the anti-SOPA movement got, it looks like Big Business and Big Government are going to lose again. I hope.

Again, we have two sides: Us and Them. The other side says Megaupload cost Hollywood and record companies hundreds of millions of dollars by allowing users to send each other copyrighted content. Megaupload had a reported 50 million unique visitors a day and was responsible for an estimated 1% of all Internet traffic in North America. (Kim Dotcom himself bragged that it was 4%.) That’s a lot of data and a lot of profits.

Critics note that Kim has a history of committing hacking crimes going back to the late 1990s when he was arrested for stealing credit-card numbers. They claim the only recourse for a repeat offender like this is 50 years in prison. Bill Maher calls Kim’s crimes “Caucasian looting.”

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