Who Is Kim Dotcom? The Megaupload Founder Could Be Extradited To The U.S.
The Kim-possible happened. A New Zealand court on Wednesday ruled that Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom could be extradited to the United States to face piracy-related charges such as copyright infringement, racketeering, and money laundering. After losing the four-month extradition battle, Dotcom told reporters he and his fellow Megaupload founders — Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk, and Finn Batato — will appeal the ruling. If Dotcom is extradited and found guilty in U.S. court, he could spend up to 20 years in jail.
After the decision, Dotcom took to Twitter to thank his supporters. "Thank you for your support," he tweeted. "The fight goes on. Enjoy the holidays. I'm happy to be with my kids. There are bigger things than copyright :-)"
Dotcom was the mastermind behind Megaupload, a file-sharing site where people freely downloaded movies, pictures, and music. At its height, the site commanded 50 million daily users, and 2010 estimates put Dotcom's paycheck from the site at $42 million. In 2012, the FBI shut Megaupload down on the claim that the site illegally collected $175 million in profit at the expense of the movie and music industry, which reportedly saw losses of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Dotcom has claimed Megaupload monitored copy infringement violations and that he could not be held responsible for the behaviors of the site's millions of users. After his 2012 arrest, Dotcom threatened to file a suit in Hong Kong that seeks $2 billion in damages for Megaupload's shutdown.
Dotcom, whose real name is Kim Schmitz, is a German national who lives in Auckland, New Zealand. He's a father of five and regularly shows off photos of his children. He's known for displaying lavish lifestyle — yachts, cars, mansions, you name it. In 2014, he announced he would set up the Internet Party in the United States, which would fight for free Internet and legal weed. A year after Megaupload was shut down, Dotcom launched cloud storage and file hosting site Mega.
His legal problems are far from over, but Dotcom has shown a positive outlook on the issue. Still, if there's any question on whether Dotcom has wavered in his stance, just take a look at a pinned tweet from March 28: "I never lived there. I never traveled there. I had no company there. But all I worked for now belongs to the U.S."