Indicted Pirate Thumbs His Nose at His Victims, and His Cult Eats It Up

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

We sentimentalize Robin Hood, but though the notion of robbing the rich to help the poor may sound romantic, stripped down it’s simply a glorification of outlawry. What then can be said of outlaws who rob authors to help nobody at all but themselves? What can be said is, “Boy, crime really pays!”

That in essence is what happened when a New Zealand software developer contacted Kim Dotcom, founder of Megaupload, indicted by the United States for copyright infringement and money laundering. “I could live like that,” the fawning man tweeted to the notorious creator of the file-sharing website that the FBI has shuttered.

Dotcom invited him to his enormous rented mansion for a swim and some cupcakes.

The visitor’s admiration for the bandit is not unique. To a generation of misguided libertarians who feel entitled to accept stolen goods, Dotcom is a cult hero. After armed forces raided his opulent stronghold, the unrepentant buccaneer responded with typical braggadocio. “Two helicopters and 76 heavily armed officers to arrest a man alleged of copyright crimes — think about that. Hollywood is importing their movie scripts into the real world and sends armed forces to protect their outdated business model.”

If Dotcom is referring to that outdated business model known as property rights, he may have difficulty persuading a court that it should be replaced by one based on stealing. If he can’t make his case, he faces 20 years in prison.

The tragedy is that he will have so many rooting for him. Jonathan Hutchison of the New York Times reports that “After the court granted him access he began using Twitter…, amassing more than 46,000 followers in just two weeks…

Details in Megaupload Founder Goes From Arrest to Cult Hero

Richard Curtis

4 thoughts on “Indicted Pirate Thumbs His Nose at His Victims, and His Cult Eats It Up

  1. Dick Curtis

    “If Dotcom is referring to that outdated business model known as property rights, he may have difficulty persuading a court that it should be replaced by one based on stealing. If he can’t make his case, he faces 20 years in prison.”

    First off nobody stole anything Richard. Copying isn’t stealing.
    Thats not even the fight here Richard. The fight is who is responsible for piracy on a cloud service.
    If he is found guilty it would make anyone who makes a new technology completely and totally responsible for their users actions. Check out the recent ruling in UMG v Escape Media Group aka Grooveshark.

    “People who dislike this generation often fail to remember who raised it”

    Reply
  2. Kenneth Michaels

    It is not clear that Kim Dotcom actually broke any law, even if he did all the things he is alleged to have done. The US government is importing law from the civil copyright context to find criminal copyright infringement. It would not be surprising if Dotcom walks because the laws he allegedly broke do not actually exist. There is no such thing as contributory criminal copyright infringement, the US government is making it up and is hoping that it sticks. Actually, they are hoping that Dotcom doesn’t have the resources to challenge the accusations.

    You refer to \property rights.\ Copyright is not a \property right,\ is it an \intellectual property right.\ There is a difference, and tell you this as an \intellectual property attorney.\

    Please consider taking a deeper look into these issues. Here are some articles from law professors on these issues:
    http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/publications/megauploadcom-indictment-leaves-everyone-guessing-part-1
    http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/publications/megauploadcom-indictment-leaves-everyone-guessing-part-1
    http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2012/04/megaupload.htm

    Reply
  3. Bradley

    When you went to school, did you major in uneducated leaps or are you merely a natural at it?

    You’re 0 for 3 on blog posts worthy of the DBW brand. Two I could understand, but the third correlates to a trend. Sorry, Mr. Curtis, but it’s time to call a spade a spade. You, sir, are a grumpy old troll.

    Another fine example of DBW becoming the publishing industry leader in spreading FUD.

    Reply
  4. Michael Collins

    First, my understanding is that the US government’s legal case is on shaky ground. The US is using judge-made civil law in a criminal context, which is a bit sketchy at least because the public is not put on notice of what is a crime or not.

    Second, the outdated business model that Mr. Dotcom refers to is not that of \property rights,\ but one that fights technological change and instead tries to legislate that everyone else (ISPs, search engines, user-generated sites) should bear the cost of the business model failures. Mr. Dotcom’s new music business that he hopes to launch in a few months relies on copyright law (i.e., property rights). That new business should have been launched by now, but for the DOJ’s malfeasance.

    Reply

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