It was precisely 10 years ago, New Zealand police officers supported by US colleagues stormed Kim Dotcom’s estate, and at the same time the Megaupload servers were seized. Today, one has to ask the question: Was it worth it?
It was a scene straight out of a Hollywood action movie (see the video above titled “The Raid”): with helicopters and assault rifles, a special task force stormed the estate of German-born Kim Dotcom – just as if the founder and boss of Megaupload were the boss of a Colombian drug cartel and not an online storage service used for copyright infringement. The fact that not only Dotcom, born as Kim Schmitz, but also his family, including three small children, were in the house did not seem to bother the police and authorities.
Money laundering and criminal association
The charges included: Formation of a criminal organization, mass copyright infringement, and money laundering. A short time later, hundreds of servers were shut down and confiscated. Of course, it was no secret that although Megaupload could also be used completely legally, most users visited the file hoster to upload and download copyrighted content.
Whether the platform operator is responsible for the content itself or whether this is the legal responsibility of the user or uploader is still a matter of dispute. In the case of Megaupload, however, it must also be noted that the service had generous bonus programs for uploaders, so the matter is definitely more complicated.
Nevertheless, the success of Megaupload’s closure was minimal to non-existent: Because as TorrentFreak writes, the numbers of then competitors like Depositfiles, Uploaded.to, Hotfile and Rapidshare immediately shot up. Although users were unimpressed, some site operators were certainly impressed by the severity of the accusations against Dotcom. Many portals stopped payments to uploaders as a result, and others even banned third-party downloads completely.
But one thing was also clear: Almost overnight, almost everyone knew the name Kim Dotcom. And he later used his celebrity to launch (and later sell) a successor called Mega, among other things.
Legally, the matter is still not over, as Dotcom is still fighting his extradition to the US ten years later. In 2020, the New Zealand Supreme Court ruled that Dotcom may be extradited, but this is still not fixed, as the judicial reviews on this have not yet been completed.
Brian is the news author at Research Snipers which mainly covers Technology News, Microsoft News, Google News, Facebook, Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi, and other tech news.