Kim Dotcom Tells ’60 Minutes’: Feds Saw Him As Perfect ‘Villain’ in Piracy Fight

Kim Dotcom 60 Minutes
Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Kim Dotcom, who was arrested in 2012 in a high-profile raid on his New Zealand compound for Internet piracy, tells “60 Minutes” on Sunday that he was targeted because he was “the easiest person to sell as a villain.”

With a sprawling mansion outside of Auckland, a German heritage and a company, Megaupload, that had a worldwide presence, Dotcom is at the center of an effort by U.S. law enforcement to extradite him to the United States, where he faces charges that he ran a “worldwide criminal enterprise” to reproduce and distribute infringing copies of movies, TV shows and other copyrighted material.

Dotcom, a.k.a. Kim Schmitz and Kim Tim Jim Vestor, said he is the “perfect target” of the government, like a character out of James Bond with a flamboyant lifestyle. but he denies the charges and told “60 Minutes” that he shouldn’t be held responsible for what users chose to do on his site. “Do I have to go to jail for that? because I didn’t do it. I didn’t upload those things to Megaupload,” he said, according to a press release from CBS.

On Dec. 20, Variety reported that the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed evidence in its case against Megaupload and the website’s principals that included email excerpts they say showed  they knowingly engaged in copyright infringement on a massive scale in order to make money.

According to the DOJ’s evidence, between at least June 2007 and December 2011, Dotcom received more than 280,000 e-mails with copyright-infringement alerts and other takedown notices. In 2009, in response to an email from a Megaupload employee that Warner Bros. was requesting removal of 2,500 files per day, Dotcom responded that the limit should be increased to 5,000 per day — but “not unlimited,” which the government argued shows the Megaupload conspiracy arbitrarily limited the ability of copyright owners to remove infringing content.

In another email exchange, a Megaupload staffer wrote that “we do have legit users,” to which another responded, “yes, but that’s not what we make $ with :).” And, during a Skype session in September 2007, a programmer said to Megaupload’s CTO, “We’re modern pirates.”

Megaupload’s attorney, Ira Rothken, said that the government’s unsealed evidence was “191 pages of meritless criminal allegations.”

Dotcom and other defendants face an extradition hearing on July 7.

As of Jan. 5, 2012, Megaupload.com publicly claimed to have had more than 180 million registered users to date and an average of 50 million daily visits, accounting for 4% of the total traffic on the Internet.

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  1. John Elliott says:

    For the governments position any site that is used to upload content is illegal. Such as Dropbox, iCloud, Google all of these are or offer the service of holding content for download. Just because you make the engine does not make you a criminal. DCMA are a bogus tool anyways users can use it to flag content they disagree with or doesn’t work due to a broken link. A massive site such as megaupload could get 10,000 of these a day how can anyone possibly expect them to investigate each one even in a timely manner. Lastly knowing the US government I wonder how much of the evidence was even obtained legally. According to the story illegal wire taps and other issues is why Kim is still walking the streets. Personally this seems like the US Government being pissed they could not make an example of this guy so they are going to be thugs and make his life difficult. It’s no wonder everyone in the world hate us in the United States any more.

  2. Relics says:

    “In 2009, in response to an email from a Megaupload employee that Warner Bros. was requesting removal of 2,500 files per day, Dotcom responded that the limit should be increased to 5,000 per day — but “not unlimited,” which the government argued shows the Megaupload conspiracy arbitrarily limited the ability of copyright owners to remove infringing content.”

    – Then by that logic by the government, Google and other search engines are also as equally guilty as Dot.com. They limit the number of request because numerous request by them using the DCMA are bogus and invalid anyway. Nor could they keep up with the hundreds of thousands of takedown request that are automatically generated by the media firms.

  3. johntshea says:

    Sometimes the easiest to sell as a villain simply IS a villain.

    • apples says:

      johntshea: really?… you didnt leave much to the imagination with your “IS a villain” comment, so you might perhaps elaborate in the future to avoid comments like this being directed toward you. the industry as a whole needs vision on both the product side as well as the product delivery side. you dont agree? its about as moronic as the war on drugs and locking up kim dotcom rather than working with him is telling of how utterly foolish and pandering US lawmakers can be.

      • John Shea says:

        My comment was complete and succinct as it stood. No elaboration was necessary, and elaboration will not stop people like you jumping to all kinds of nonsensical conclusions. You called me a ‘scumbag’, which tells us all we need to know about you.

    • apples says:

      whatever. you industry scumbags need to stop your bitching and quit putting out garbage product nobody wants to pay for to begin with. not a visionary one of you at any major label or studio left standing. let’s talk about that shall we? or are you too busy financing another asian-language film, or a franchise built around a mcdonald’s happy meal prize…? disgraceful

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