This has all the makings of an incredible embarrassment for Hollywood, not to mention the US and New Zealand governments. As the FBI’s case against MegaUpload and Kim Dotcom continues to weaken, Dotcom has gone and started a replacement: MEGA. It’s now live in beta, and available for your pleasure at mega.co.nz.
The timing of this is no accident. It was one year ago today that US authorities raided and shut down MegaUpload, though a sloppy execution and an extreme show-of-force could be creating a digital folk hero.
The relaunch raises another extremely scary possibility for the FBI and US Department of Justice, not to mention Hollywood and by association, groups like the RIAA. That is, MEGA could become bigger than MegaUpload ever was, thanks to the very raid that tried to shut it down. You just can’t buy this kind of publicity, not to mention underdog emotion, and Dotcom is now pointing to extremely heavy uptake upon launch.
Meanwhile, the music industry may also be confronted with something scary: MegaBox. Just weeks before the early-2012 raid, MegaUpload unveiled plans to deliver the ‘artist-friendly’ distribution site that would give artists 90 percent of their earnings. But the concept, just ahead of beta in late-2011 with partners like 7digital, Gracenote, ROVI, and Amazon, never saw the light of day.
The strange timings eventually fed a conspiracy theory that major labels were also motivated to raid MegaUpload, if for no other reason than to squash a disruptive competitor. Indeed, major label artists like Busta Rhymes subsequently praised MegaUpload, will.i.am was a paid sponsor along with Snoop Dogg, Game and Kanye West, and Swizz Beats was even the company CEO. “Universal Music Group knows that we are going to compete with them via our own music venture called Megabox.com, a site that will soon allow artists to sell their creations directly to consumers while allowing artists to keep 90 percent of earnings,” Dotcom said just weeks before the raid. “Yes that’s right, we will pay artists even for free downloads. The Megakey business model has been tested with over a million users and it works.”
Written while listening to the Pixies.