The entrepreneur, who is currently in a fight to avoid extradition from his home in Auckland (New Zealand) to the USA for trial on cases of ‘piracy and racketeering’, has unveiled his new website to the world exactly a year on from the FBI-led shutdown of Megaupload, and though he did not receive permission to use the Gabonese-based domain ‘me.ga’ that he wanted, New Zealand-registered ‘mega.co.nz’ has proven to be a success in its currently short lifespan.
Dotcom confirmed the site ‘going live’ in a tweet on 19 January, writing: “As of this minute one year ago #Megaupload was destroyed by the US Government. Welcome to http://Mega.co.nz.”
He later added of the fast response from followers and file-sharers alike: “100,000 registered users in less than 1 hour. Fastest growing startup in Internet history? #Mega.”
Mega then struggled with the flow of users over the next day, as German-born Kim noted and announced through Twitter again: “If you are currently experiencing slow access to #Mega its because of the unbelievable demand. We are working on more capacity.”
Dotcom’s bail release last year stipulated that he would not try to form a rebuilding or recreation of Megaupload, though his lawyers have argued that the new venture (along with a proposed music site that Kim is also planning) is a legitimate venture, and falls under their client’s ‘right to make a living’.
Quite what American and global authorities think of this move (or New Zealand’s, even with possible support from the highest level) remains to be seen, though Kim Dotcom and his legal team suggest that they will not be prosecuted for any crime relating to Mega, as the site’s new structure passes all responsibility for content onto people who upload it, as they face a personal encryption process to upload their content (which Mega in turn are unable to decrypt or view as before).
However, aside from assuming all legal responsibility for your actions, users of Mega will receive some benefits, including 50GB of free cloud storage space (thought to be one of the largest offerings of its kind on the web), no waiting times (unlike the 45-second waiting period for each free Megaupload download), ad-free (at least for the time being), and up to 8TB per month of bandwidth for subscribers, alongside full mobile device functionality.
So while the ongoing Megaupload case took an exact year’s worth of profits and work from him, and could yet see him face punishment, the worst seems to be behind Kim Dotcom now in a year which at least brought him plenty of publicity, so will his new site launch to similar levels of success in a ‘legal’ manner, or has he not gotten away with it just yet?