Kim Dotcom

Kim Dotcom

German-Finnish entrepreneur, owner of the largest file hosting service - Megaupload
Date of Birth: 21.01.1974
Country: Germany

Biography of Kim Dotcom

Kim Dotcom is a German-Finnish entrepreneur and the owner of the largest file-sharing website, Megaupload. Born as Kim Schmitz in Germany, he founded Megaupload in Hong Kong in 2005. The website allowed users to quickly upload files to a server and share the links with others. While registration and payment were not required, they offered certain advantages, such as the ability to upload larger files. Over the years, Megaupload expanded its services, including separate hosting for photos, videos, live streaming, and even pornography.

In 2010, Kim Schmitz changed his surname to Dotcom and moved to New Zealand. Despite facing criticism and legal challenges from copyright holders, Megaupload continued to grow and generate revenue through paid accounts and advertising. The company also complied with removal requests for illegal content. However, what set Megaupload apart was Dotcom's confidence and belief in its legitimacy and impunity.

Dotcom actively defended his website and even attacked other file-sharing platforms. In 2011, he sent a letter to the payment system PayPal, urging them not to collaborate with certain file-hosting services involved in illegal activities. He accused them of facilitating payments to users who uploaded pirated content. Dotcom believed that Megaupload, being a legitimate platform, should not be associated with such practices.

In an attempt to promote Megaupload, a music video featuring popular artists like Will.I.Am, Kanye West, and Snoop Dogg was released. However, Universal Music Group had the video removed from YouTube, citing copyright infringement. Megaupload claimed they had obtained the necessary agreements with the artists and considered Universal's actions unjustified. Will.I.Am later requested the video's removal, but Megaupload intended to take legal action against Universal.

Despite Dotcom's confidence and claims of legality, Megaupload faced a significant setback. On January 19, the website was shut down, and four individuals, including Dotcom, were arrested for alleged copyright infringement. The case against Megaupload highlighted its inadequate measures in removing illegal content, as evidenced by internal emails among its employees.

The prosecution alleged that Megaupload deliberately made it difficult to find illegal content and excluded pirated materials from ranking as the most downloaded files. Additionally, the company's policy of proactively removing child pornography from its servers without waiting for court orders was used against them. The authorities argued that Megaupload's selective approach encouraged piracy.

The closure of Megaupload and the arrest of its leadership had been planned for several years. Interestingly, the international operation took place just one day after major internet platforms protested against the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) anti-piracy legislation. This demonstrated that existing laws were sufficient to target an undesirable service like Megaupload. Unfortunately, this also meant that honest users might never regain access to their files stored on the website.