IF THERE’S one thing that has come to define Kim Dotcom more than his computer skills and incredibly ostentatious lifestyle, it’s his defiance. The larger than life tech entrepreneur has been embroiled in a bitter stoush with the FBI since January 2012 when his New Zealand mansion was raided by police at the behest of the US law enforcement agency.

The source of the US government’s ire was a hugely popular content sharing website called Megaupload which allowed users to post files such as movies, music and TV shows.

Dotcom and three other Megaupload founders were arrested and are accused of piracy, facilitating copyright breaches and money laundering.If convicted Dotcom, 42, faces 20 years in jail. But you wouldn’t know it from the way he acts.

The German born mogul who refers to himself as an “internet freedom fighter” has steadfastly framed his legal troubles as a crusade against the overreach of US government power spurred on by Hollywood powerbrokers.Last month he even announced he was going to relaunch Megaupload in January 2017, five years after it was pulled down by authorities.

This week Dotcom won the right to live stream his court appeal against extradition to the US — a small victory that has further emboldened the German-born computer programmer.

Never one to keep his thoughts to himself, Dotcom has flooded Twitter with his anti-establishment sentiment earning him an ever growing legion of fans, some of whom tuned it today to watch the live stream of what the defendant has promoted as “Kim Dotcom vs. US Empire”.

Once a judge ruled in favour of allowing him to live stream his appeals case, he posted a pointed message ostensibly aimed at the US government saying we will “make them pay”. “Then they will remember, Don’t attack the internet,” he wrote.


Known for his flamboyance, Kim Dotcom first rose to fame in Germany in the 1990s as a teenage internet entrepreneur. In the past the internet mogul was famous for routinely posting pictures to social media of his luxury cars with vanity license plates, partying with celebrities, shooting assault rifles and flying around the world in a private jet.

Founded in 2005, at its peak Megaupload was reported to be the 13th most visited site on the internet, accounting for four per cent of global web traffic. The FBI believes Dotcom was making $US115,000 a day during 2010 and estimate the site cost copyright holders $US500 million in total.During its heyday the Megaupload had 50 million users and Dotcom has continually argued that administrators tried to prevent copyright infringements but were not responsible for how people used the website.

Since his arrest authorities have seized much of his wealth and assets. At one point he even made a dance album to fund his legal battle.
But he remains forever defiant.

In July he tweeted: “I’ll be the first tech billionaire who got indicted, lost everything and created another billion $ tech company while on bail.” The prosecution has argued that Megaupload wilfully breached copyright by hosting illegally-created movie, music and software files.

In December last year, after a nine-week hearing, New Zealand Judge Nevin Dawson found there was “overwhelming” evidence to support extradition of the 42-year-old and three other Megaupload founders.

A lawyer for two of Mr Dotcom’s co-accused — Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk — told the court they were simply part of a group who “invented file storage”.The hearing against Dotcom’s extradition is slated to last six weeks, and even if he is successful it certainly won’t be the end of his legal battles.

But at the very least today’s landmark streaming of a case in the Auckland High Court, a first for New Zealand, is a noteworthy move to a more transparent and open approach to the justice system by allowing people from all over the world to tune in over the internet.

A development that would make Kim Dotcom proud.