MegaUpload Founder Confident He Will Beat ‘Political’ Online Piracy Charges
MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom accused U.S. authorities on Thursday of pursuing “misleading and malicious” charges against him, and said he is confident he will prevail in what is shaping up to be one of the biggest copyright cases in history.
Dotcom made the remarks during his first interviews since his January 20 arrest at his home in New Zealand.
He was released on bail February 22 in New Zealand after winning a legal battle with prosecutors who wanted keep him behind bars. The conditions of his release call for Dotcom to remain confined to his Auckland home and prohibit him from using the Internet.
Federal authorities in the U.S. are working hard to extradite Dotcom on racketeering and other federal charges, alleging that Dotcom and colleagues at his file-sharing website facilitated millions of illegal downloads they say cost songwriters and filmmakers half a billion dollars in lost revenue.
But a defiant Dotcom said he is confident of beating the charges brought by the Justice Department and FBI, and compared the accusations to U.S. claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
“It´s kinda like weapon of mass destructions in Iraq, you know? If you want to go after someone and you have a political goal you will say whatever it takes,” Dotcom said during an interview with local TV station 3news Campbell Live in New Zealand.
“These are fabrications and lies. There are a hundred other companies out there that offer the same service like us. Why has not something happened to them?” he said, adding that there was no way the U.S. could win the landmark online piracy case.
In a story published Thursday in The New Zealand Herald, Dotcom accused U.S. authorities of cherry-picking emails and other evidence in a way that was “misleading and malicious.”
“For me, sitting in my cell, I’m thinking, ‘Why are they doing this? They can’t win it’,” Dotcom said, noting that MegaUpload had employees whose job it was to take down any content that might infringe copyright.
However, the U.S. indictment alleges that while MegaUpload often took down individual links to offending material, they routinely left the offending content itself in place.
During a separate interview with the file-sharing news website TorrentFreak, Dotcom accused New Zealand authorities of putting on a show for the FBI when they swept down in helicopters to arrest him at his home, and reiterated his belief that he would ultimately beat the charges against him.
“We’re going for this and we’re confident we’re going to win,” Dotcom told the website.
“We feel that the action taken against us was political.”
Dotcom told the Herald that on his first day of incarceration at Auckland Central Remand Prison he was not provided with basic necessities like a blanket or toilet paper. He also said he was deprived of sleep after being awakened every two hours by guards shining flashlights in his face to ensure he was still alive and in his cell.
Dotcom, who the U.S. described in court papers as 6 feet, 5 inches tall and 322 pounds, told the paper he was pleased about losing 35 pounds while he was jailed, but described the entire episode as “a little bit like a nightmare.”
He acknowledged that his flamboyant lifestyle may have played a role in attracting attention to him.
“I’m a fun-loving guy. I enjoy my life. I have a big kid inside me,” he said.
But his priorities have now changed, he said.
“That was childish stuff, it was fun at the time and I don’t regret it, but that is not me today, I am a different guy. I just want to have a safe future for my kids and, you know, provide my family with a great home and that’s why we moved to New Zealand and we’re really surprised what is going on here.”
Dotcom’s extradition hearing is scheduled to begin in August in Auckland, New Zealand.
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