Mega-rich Megaupload owner Kim Dotcom has received an official apology from New Zealand’s prime minister after Big Content sponsored SWAT squads raided his house – with the PM conceding that Dotcom had been illegally spied on by government spooks.
John Key told a room of hacks that New Zealand “failed to provide the appropriate protection” to Dotcom. An earlier report released by Key, according to the Wall Street Journal, was looking into the “unlawful interception of communications of certain individuals involved in the Megaupload case”.
Key said the way New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau acted was “hugely disappointing”. The bureau can only listen in on communications between foreign nationals. The bureau was apparently ignorant that Dotcom was a resident of New Zealand and was not subject to that sort of snooping – but the bureau allegedly relied on information from the police about residency status and did not bother to make any further checks.
Dotcom, along with three other defendents, is fighting extradition to the US on alleged racketeering and copyright infringement charges. Although it is hard to say with certainty, the case from the beginning has looked like the Content Industry flexing its global muscles and clamping down on a figure it perceived to be a threat to its own rigidness.
Dotcom owned the Megaupload website, which allowed users to upload files to its servers and then share them among friends. Although there was certainly an element of shared music and other copyrighted files, it also had many legitimate users, including architects, whose personal documents were seized when Dotcom’s property was raided. As for artists in the music industry, some of the biggest liked Dotcom and Megaupload enough to record a corny song about it.
This latest bungle will prove embarrassing to the litigious quarters of the content industry which do their best to bring the axe down on anyone they find disruptive to their market. As far as making an example of Dotcom is going, so far, much of the world is watching without sympathy to the industry that’s persecuting him.