Kim Dotcom: Megaupload Shut Down for ‘Political Reasons’

By | March 27, 2012

Indicted Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom this week characterized a number of the charges he faces in a far-reaching racketeering and copyright infringement case as “nonsense” and said his file-sharing site provided a legitimate service but had been shut down by U.S. officials in January for “political reasons.”

Seven people, including Dotcom, and two corporations—Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited—were indicted by a New York grand jury on Jan. 5 and charged with engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering, and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement. If convicted, those involved face up to 50 years in prison on all charges.

The U.S. Department of Justice worked with its international counterparts to arrest New Zealand resident Dotcom and others associated with what it called the “Megaupload Conspiracy” on Jan. 19 and shut down Megaupload and associated sites. The accused generated more than $175 million and caused more than $1 billion in harm via megaupload.com and other sites, the DOJ said.

Dotcom, currently out on bail in New Zealand, spoke with TorrentFreak by phone this week, saying he is convinced of his innocence and “excited” about having his day in court.

The Megaupload founder told the site that he spends his time poring over the documentation in the case, “collecting evidence that shows how he was framed by the U.S. government.”

Dotcom took issue with several of the claim the DOJ has made against him, including a charge of direct copyright infringement stemming from a link to one of his own Megaupload files containing a song by the rapper 50 Cent. Dotcom told Torrentfreak that the link was sent to a colleague to test a new upload feature on Megaupload and the file itself was never shared with anybody. Other charges of direct infringement were similarly off-base, Dotcom said.

He also said that contrary to the DOJ’s assertions, Megaupload gave copyright holders the ability to take down links to content from the site that they claimed was being infringed upon. One allegation by the government concerns Megaupload’s alleged refusal to allow Warner Bros. to delete more than 5,000 links per day on the site, but Dotcom said that later Megaupload granted the company “the maximum quota of 100,000 deletes per day.”

Warner Bros. was in fact the most prolific deleter of links on Megaupload and Megavideo, according to TorrentFreak, removing 1,933,882 links in total.

But the crux of the DOJ’s case is that Megaupload may have allowed deletion of links to allegedly illegal files, but didn’t ever delete the files themselves. Dotcom, however, indicated that Megaupload’s legal team will argue that this is standard procedure and within the guidelines of the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Earlier this month, Dotcom told TorrentFreak that among the many individuals attempting to recover files hosted on the shuttered file-sharing site are a number of “high-ranking U.S. government officials.”

For more, see After Megaupload: 7 Sites the FBI Might Target Next and What Is Megaupload?

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