Right out of his month in jail Kim Dotcom, founder of controversial digital locker site MegaUpload, went on camera with John Campbell to share his view of the raid and indictment of his company. The interview is very telling and will make viewers sympathize with the man. While the uses of MegaUpload were well-known to be less than legal, it makes one appreciate how the site may have operated within the boundaries of US law.
Kim Dotcom brings up the two American laws integral to understanding the case: the DMCA, which protects service provider; and the ECPA, which protects users privacy. MegaUpload created a system that gave over 180 big-media makers direct access to MegaUpload servers to issue individual takedowns of copyrighted material.
Dotcom also notes the scale of the assumed damages. The RIAA claimed damages upwards of $13 billion per year, while the entire record industry is only worth less than $20 billion yearly. He also mentions YouTube’s fight with Viacom around nearly identical issues. YouTube (owned by Google) won that fight, mostly because they developed a method of giving big-media an opportunity to make money.
Dotcom claims he is an easy target because he is flamboyant hacker with a childish persona. He claims to be a family man these days and that the FBI is attacking him based on his actions that are over ten years old.
- We have been sued only once, never by any, you know, movie company or big content company and we have spent millions of dollars on legal advice over the last few years and our legal advisers have always told us that we are secure and that we are protected by the DMCA which is a law in the US that is protecting online service providers of liability for the actions of their users, so it came completely unexpected.
- As long as we follow a regime of taking things down that are reported to us, which we have done over all these years, we are protected, according to the law and, you know, I find it very surprising that this is happening because like I said we had legal advice all these years telling us that we are an online service provider and we are not liable for the actions of third parties.
- There are other laws that protect users and those are privacy laws. For example in the US it’s the Electronic Communication Privacy Act which prohibits us from looking into the accounts of users proactively and look for things. It’s like mail, it’s private, we cannot just go in there and police what these users are uploading.
- What you need to understand here is that we provided the content owners with an opportunity to remove links that were infringing on their rights. So, not only did they have an online form where they could take down infringing links, they had direct delete access to our servers so they could access our system and remove any link that they would find anywhere on the internet without us being involved. They had full access and we’re talking about 180 partners, including every major movie studio, including Microsoft and all big content producers and they have used that system heavily and you need to understand that that system was not even something that was even required by the law. We provided that voluntarily and they have removed over 15 million links.
- If you read the indictment and if you hear what the Prosecution has said in court, it’s at least $500 million of damage were just music files and just within a two-week time period. So they are actually talking about $13 billion US damage within a year just for music downloads. The entire US music industry is less than $20 billion. So how can one website be, you know, responsible for this amount of damage, it’s completely mind-boggling and unrealistic.
- Where does piracy come from? Piracy comes from, you know, people, let’s say, in Europe who do not have access to movies at the same time that they are released in the US. This is a problem that has been born within this licensing model and the old business model that Hollywood has where they release something first in one country but they show trailers to everyone around the world pitching that new movie but then the 14-year-old kid in France or Germany can’t watch it for another six months, you know? If the business model would be one where everyone has access to this content at the same time, you know, you wouldn’t have a piracy problem. So it’s really, in my opinion, the government of the United States protecting an outdated monopolistic business model that doesn’t work anymore in the age of the internet and that’s what it all boils down to. I’m no piracy king, I offered online storage and bandwidth to users and that’s it.
- I gotta tell you this – if you are a company that is hurt so much by what we are doing, billions of dollars of damage, you don’t wait and sit and do nothing. You call your lawyers and you try and sue us and try to stop us from what we are doing.
- You know that Viacom sued YouTube and YouTube claimed that they were protected by the DMCA and they won. And if you look at the YouTube case files, the emails that were exchanged internally we are a lamb compared to what was going on at YouTube at the time but these guys got away. They won their lawsuit and I’m sitting in jail, my house is being raided, all my assets are frozen without a trial, without a hearing. This is completely insane, is what it is.
- I’m an easy target. My flamboyance, my history as a hacker, you know, I’m not American, I’m living somewhere in New Zealand around the world. I have funny number plates on my cars, you know, I’m an easy target. I’m not Google. I don’t have 50 billion dollars in my account and right now I’ve not a penny on my account.
- The company that was worth probably a billion dollars plus has been given a death sentence without trial, you know, what point is there for me to run away? The only thing, and the only thing that makes sense and is logical here is to fight this and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to fight this all the way and I promise you, and everybody who’s watching this right now, I’m going to win because I’m no criminal and I’ve done nothing illegal.