Kim Dotcom Launches New File Sharing Megasite
Kim Dotcom, founder of the defunct file-sharing site Megaupload has launched a new website with military-strength encryption.
But the former computer hacker insists the new 'cyberlocker' will operate legally and is not an affront to the film industry or the US government.
In January 2012 the larger-than-life cyber pioneer and three colleagues were arrested in a dawn raid at the sprawling multi-million dollar mansion he shares with his wife and five children in Coatesville, New Zealand.
Known as Operation Takedown, the swoop involved 76 armed police, special agents and helicopters.
The German-born internet tycoon was subsequently charged with online piracy after film producers in the US claimed Megaupload was being used to illegally share copyrighted material.
Mr Dotcom is currently fighting extradition to the US, a process that has been held up since New Zealand authorities declared the warrants used for the arrest were invalid.
He insists the new site, launched on Sunday, complies with the law and he also warned that any attempt by the authorities to take it down would be futile.
"This is not some kind of finger to the US government or to Hollywood," said Mr Dotcom. "Legally, there's just nothing there that could be used to shut us down.
"This site is just as legitimate as Dropbox, Boxnet and other competitors," he added, referring to similar file sharing services.
Mr Dotcom also said the new site was different as it allows users to control access to their files, unlike Megaupload, where anyone could search for and download copyrighted material.
He claims a new military-grade encryption system will also keep users' files safe from prying eyes and strip the site from liability of knowingly allowing users to distribute copyrighted films.
Mr Dotcom added that he will swiftly comply with requests to remove infringing material.
"Even if we wanted to, we can't go into your file and see what you have in there," he said, as builders put the finishing touches to a festival-sized concert stage to prepare for the site launch party in the grounds of the Dotcom mansion.
But some legal experts say it may be difficult for the site to claim it is being operated in good faith if Mr Dotcom does not even know what files are being stored on his servers.
The Motion Picture Association of America said encrypting files alone would not protect Mr Dotcom from liability.
"We'll reserve final judgment until we have a chance to analyse the new project," a spokesman said. "But given Kim Dotcom's history, count us as sceptical."