“The war for the Internet has begun. Hollywood is in control of politics. The Government is killing innovation. Don’t let them get away with that.” So begins the latest music video from Kim Dotcom, the 38-year old founder of Megaupload, the file-hosting service that was shut down by the FBI at the beginning of this year. Indicted on copyright infringement charges, Dotcom has lost his company and is stuck under house arrest in New Zealand until a hearing next March, but that isn’t stopping the former hacker turned web mogul from launching a campaign for Internet freedom.
It started with an open letter to Hollywood, published in the July 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Dotcom writes:
The Internet frightens you. But history has taught us that the greatest innovations were built on rejections. The VCR frightened you, but it ended up making billions of dollars in video sales.
You get so comfortable with your ways of doing business that any change is perceived as a threat. The problem is, we as a society don’t have a choice: The law of human nature is to communicate more efficiently. And the economic benefits of high-speed Internet and unlimited cloud storage are so great that we need to plan for the day when the transfer of terabytes of data will be measured in seconds.
He adds, “The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of changing their views to fit the facts, they try to change the facts to fit their views.” Dotcom stresses that he isn’t Hollywood’s enemy—Hollywood simply needs to open up its mind, instead of turning him into a scapegoat. “In my view,” he says, “MPAA CEO and former Sen. Chris Dodd lobbied his friends in the White House to turn me into a villain who has to be destroyed. Due process? Rule of law? Eliminate me and my innovation and worry about the consequences later.”
Days after the open letter was published, a brand new music video hit Kim Dotcom’s YouTube channel. The video, which has amassed nearly half a million views so far, is a response to the fact that, “The war on Internet freedom was declared on Obama’s watch.” Dotcom asks, “What about free speech, Mr. President? What happened to change, Mr. President? Are you pleading the fifth, Mr. President? Are you going to fix this, Mr. President?”
Personally, I think the comparison Dotcom makes between himself and Martin Luther King, Jr. (the lyrics “I have a dream, like Dr. King” paired with images of King) is a little (or a lot) extreme…not to mention ridiculous. Actually, most of the imagery in the video, along with the lyrics, is a bit extreme and chock-full of propaganda. That being said, the Megaupload shutdown, paired with the whole SOPA-PIPA fiasco of earlier this year, definitely indicate that the future of “Internet freedom” is on shaky ground and the craziness of this video just may draw more supporters to the cause.
Let us know what you think about Kim Dotcom’s open letter, as well as music video in the comments below.
Personal note: I should note that in no way to I personally support the stealing and reposting of other people’s content for profit. Dotcom excludes from his letter the point that he has made loads of money off of Hollywood content posted by Megaupload users without permission and without revshare or any other such compensation for those that worked hard to create the content.
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.