Kim Dotcom Launches MEGA. Could Antigua do the same?
Kim Dotcom, founder of the file storage site MegaUpload.com and target of the US government’s ‘War on the Internet,’ launched a new file storage site today. Dotcom had been teasing the launch for months but made it official with a tweet: “As of this minute one year ago #Megaupload was destroyed by the US Government. Welcome to Mega.co.nz”
100,000 registered users in less than 1 hour. Fastest growing startup in Internet history? #Mega
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) January 19, 2013
The US government targeted Megaupload.com after accusing Dotcom of complicity in the activities of some MegaUpload.com members who uploaded and shared US copyrighted materials such as Hollywood films, TV shows and music. Dotcom’s new Mega service has been structured to avoid any connection with US controlled domains, service providers and web hosts; leaving the new site well out of the jurisdiction of the US injustice system.
Such tactics are similar to those being employed by companies in the online gambling sector who’ve had their .com domains seized and shuttered by the US government as part of the effort to try to curb American-facing online gambling operations.
Confident that he’s in the right, Dotcom hasn’t been shy about thumbing his nose at the US authorities. He’s scored some small victories along the way, including having a New Zealand court deem the January 2012 raid “illegal search and seizure” as the warrant was vague and didn’t clearly state that the police were acting on behalf of the US government.
He’s also relying on New Zealand law, which indemnifies Internet service providers from liability if users infringe on copyrights. We wish Kim Dotcom the best in his new venture; if nothing else, we’re sure it will leave the US government foaming at the mouth.
Speaking of, US government mouths may get extra foamy once the small island nation of Antigua launches its own file-sharing site. Having won multiple World Trade Organization victories over the US government’s hypocritical stance on online gambling, Antigua has been authorized to use alternative means to collect the $21m in annual compensation it was awarded by the WTO dispute resolution panel.
These alternative means include the right to disregard intellectual property rights of US companies. The Antiguan government could start creating and distributing DVD copies of the latest movies without paying fees or opening itself up to legal recourse from the major film studios. But we live in the Internet age, so it would make more sense for the Antigua government to create their own MEGA file storage site or potentially an Antiguan Netflix streaming big Hollywood movies to subscribers around the world. Countdown to massive foaming at the mouth by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in 3…2…1…
As we reported a few months ago, the Antiguan government has grown tired of being given the runaround by the US Trade Representative. Antigua is now ready to take action against the US. We don’t have the exact date but the Antiguans will be heading to Geneva soon to begin the process of imposing sanctions and recouping their losses. As a tiny developing nation, Antigua has had great difficulty in getting the US to even pay attention to its pleas for justice. But given that groups like the MPAA are largely responsible for writing much of the US legislation as it pertains to the internet, we suspect their howls of outrage may finally prompt the US to get off its ass and honor its international trade obligations.