If you’ve ever streamed online content, you’re likely familiar with the “Mega” brand, which includes sites such as Megaupload.com and Megavideo.com. The man behind these websites is Kim Dotcom.
Kim Dotcom was born as Kim Schmitz in Kiel, West Germany on the 21st of January 1974. He is a German-Finnish internet entrepreneur who first rose to fame in Germany in the 1990s as a self-proclaimed hacker after having made his first online fortune. In 2001, his company Kimvestor.com was valued at 200 million Euros and he frequented European and international tabloids due to his luxurious lifestyle which included yachts, parties and fast cars. In 2005, he changed his surname to Dotcom to pay homage to the Dotcom stock market bubble which made him a millionaire and he launched Mega upload and its sister sites. In 2012, he was the top-ranked Modern Warfare 3 player out of over 15 million online players.
Megavideo.com received special scrutiny, as it allowed its users to stream copyrighted video content. Dotcom earned millions from subscription fees from the site’s 150 million registered users as well as from advertisements. His success was costing the US entertainment industry over US$500 million, and in 2012 his New Zealand home was raided by US authorities who arrested him, seized most of his assets and froze his bank accounts as part of an investigation for criminal copyright infringement charges.
Megaupload was consequently shut down but Dotcom controversially launched a new cloud service called Mega in 2013.
Dotcom maintains his residency in New Zealand although an effort by US authorities to extradite him to America is still pending. During his career, Dotcom has been convicted of crimes including internet fraud and data espionage, and he has served a suspended sentence for insider trading and embezzlement. In a 2011 article published on TorrentFreak, Dotcom wrote: “I made mistakes when I was young and I paid the price… I am married, I have children and I know that I am not a bad person. I have grown and I have learned.”
Dotcom is cited as “one of the world’s largest tech entrepreneurs” because of his success and his physical appearance – he is a large man, two metres in height and weighing around 130 kilograms. He made his millions by refusing to play by the rules; his argument is that some of the rules should be changed to promote social equality and restrict government surveillance.