Indicted 'internet pirate' plans new file-sharing site


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The Independent Online

In a move bound to provoke United States, prosecutors and entertainment executives, the indicted Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is planning to launch a replacement of his shuttered website and a new online music service by the end of the year.

The file-sharing site that Dotcom started in 2005 was one of the most popular online sites before US prosecutors shut it down and filed racketeering charges against Dotcom and six other Megaupload principals in January.

US authorities are now trying to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand, where he is a resident, claiming that he facilitated massive copyright piracy through his site. Prosecutors say Dotcom pocketed tens of millions of dollars while movie-makers and songwriters lost some $500m (£310m) in copyright revenue. Dotcom says that he cannot be held responsible for users who acted illegally and that Megaupload complied with copyrights by removing links to pirated material when asked to do so.

Some legal experts say proving that Dotcom's conduct amounted to criminal conspiracy will be difficult and he has gained some high-profile support, including from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

The flamboyant Dotcom confirmed in a brief telephone interview this week that he's almost completed work on "new Mega" and "Megabox" but said he doesn't want to divulge details ahead of a major press launch.

However, statements he's made on Twitter and a promotional video paint a picture of what he's planning.

In recent tweets, Dotcom said his new version of Megaupload is nearly complete: "Quick update on the new Mega: Code 90% done. Servers on the way. Lawyers, Partners & Investors ready. Be patient. It's coming."

He said the service would be hosted on servers outside the US. AP

Kim Dotcom has been called one of the world's biggest entrepreneurs - and physically, it's an accurate description. He weighs 130kg and is 2m (6ft 6ins) tall.