Megaupload’s Dotcom Rejects Responsibility for Web User Actions

Kim Dotcom, wanted in the U.S. on charges his Internet company Megaupload.com orchestrated the biggest copyright infringement in that country’s history, says it was never his responsibility what users did with the content.

“You can’t blame me if people upload something to a website we have created for online storage, it’s not my responsibility,” Dotcom said in an interview broadcast on Television New Zealand’s “Q+A” yesterday. “I’m not doing it and I’m not providing anyone with links to that content.”

Dotcom, 38, was arrested at his home in Auckland in January after he and the company he founded were indicted in the U.S., where prosecutors accused his website of generating more than $175 million in criminal proceeds from the exchange of pirated film, music, book and software files. After spending four weeks in jail he was released on bail and is awaiting an extradition hearing, tentatively scheduled for March.

If Megaupload is illegal so are “countless other websites that allow user-generated content,” Dotcom said. “We are a hard drive that is connected to the Internet. What you do with it is your responsibility.”

The global nature of the Internet means the creators of copyrighted content must “come up with new solutions that deal with the reality of the world we’re living in,” Dotcom said, adding that it’s not his job to “police what people are uploading.”

Legal Battle

Dotcom is continuing a legal battle against extradition, during which it was revealed the Government Communications and Security Bureau unlawfully spied on him prior to his arrest. As a legal resident of New Zealand, Dotcom enjoys the same protection from investigation by that agency as the nation’s citizens.

There is also a political dimension to the case that will be pursued in the extradition hearings, Dotcom said.

“If we can show the government here has had an active role in the magnitude of this whole case, and had a pro-active role rather than a reactive role to impress the U.S. government, well, there you have it,” he said. “It’s a monster issue.”

Dotcom said he wants to resolve the case “in a diplomatic fashion, and soon” because it’s going to drag on and embarrass the people who attacked him.

He was non-committal on whether he would seek damages, saying if he were, the U.S. government and Hollywood movie studios may be in his sights as “there’s been a lot of bad faith and a lot of misinformation going on in this case.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Tracy Withers in Wellington at twithers@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at ptighe@bloomberg.net

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