This Man Is Not A Pirate


Jon Ronson gets inside the mind of digital warrior Kim Dotcom, whose file-sharing website Megaupload has cost copyright holders hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the FBI:

I don’t get many opportunities, during our two-hour conversation, to ask Kim questions. He is delivering a kind of sepia-tinted monologue. He couldn’t be less like Andrew [Auernheimer, a convicted hacker covered by the Dish here and here]. Andrew is an ideologue, a desperado. Andrew says he’s excited about prison. Kim really doesn’t want to go to prison. He loves his wife and children. He loves his cars and yachts and beaches. Talking to me is a charm offensive born from desperate circumstance. And he is charming. By the end of his recitation – there are stretches lasting 25 minutes when I don’t get a word in – I’m a jury member voting for acquittal. He says Megaupload is nothing more than a cloud service, beloved by pirates simply because it’s good and easy to use. He says he’s never personally uploaded an infringing file, and their terms of service were always clear: “‘You can’t share things that don’t belong to you.’ And now they are trying to blame me for third-party infringements. The entire internet is used by pirates. YouTube is the biggest hub for piracy in the world!”

He does have a point. In February 2011, NBC Universal commissioned a study [pdf] to establish what percentage of internet traffic “involved the theft of digital assets”. The answer: 23.8% worldwide.

(Photo of Kim Dotcom by Flickr user sam_churchill)