Why Kim Dotcom should go away.

Having gained a degree of celebrity and notoriety, Kim Dotcom has managed to slip his way out (for now at least) of an extradition to the United States, he's now managed to slither his way into our political system. But why he's been put under such legal scrutiny in the first place is, I think, worth noting. 
 
Megaupload.com was a website which basically charged customers to upload files to a site where other paying members could download them. Sounds innocent enough. But, inevitably, the site was used to upload and download various intellectual properties, most notably the likes of movies, music and computer programmes. Of course, it’s illegal to acquire these files without going through the legitimate channels so that the developer can “get their cut”. So, essentially, Dotcom is being legally pursued for making massive amounts of money facilitating a website which was used for 
downloading and uploading tonnes of illegal material. 
 
Kim Dotcom’s defence of this is fairly straight forward: he argues that, though the site was his and he made a tonne of money off of it, he is not ultimately responsible for how people use it or what material people choose to share across it. So, he should not be held liable for the illicit material which was distributed using his website. 
 
If this seems to be a reasonable point, it’s not. This is nonsense. And here’s why:
 
Imagine that I had set up a photo sharing website which charged a fee for people to upload and download photos and maybe even homemade videos. And, let’s say that that website winds up being taken over by an underground group of paedophiles who then use the website to share illicit material with one another. It would, I think, be fair to say that I have a responsibility to take the website down. Of course I do. I need to knock that website on the head as soon as possible. Imagine if I instead decided to continue collecting money from these people and allowing them to go about their nefarious business. I would be vilified beyond recognition, and rightly so. What’s the difference between this and what Dotcom has done? 
 
The only real difference is that distributing material like this is clearly a terrible moral affront, whereas taking a bit of money from the pockets of a few fat-cats in Hollywood isn’t as obvious. So, it’s worth looking at whether it really is unethical.
 
I think we would mostly all agree, that if we create something for others, it’s reasonable enough to expect something in return. Movies and music are no different really. But this should come with some clarification. I actually am ethically comfortable with certain people downloading things for free. Those people are the poor. If you struggle to pay the bills each week, then to download a movie is, I don’t have an issue with you downloading a movie. My reasoning is this: if you don’t have the money to pay for it, then downloading it isn’t depriving the creator of income. 
 
Either you don’t download it, don’t have it, and the creator receives no income from you, or you do download it, you have it, and the creator receives no income from you. Either way there is no money for the creator. At least in the latter case they receive advertising in the form of word of mouth and notoriety. And there are ways of acquiring things online without paying a dime.
 
But, in the case of Kim Dotcom, he charged people. This tells me that the people using Megaupload.com had at least some money to buy these things through the legitimate sources and thus to send some money the way of the people who put the time and effort into creating these things. But instead, that money went into the pockets of a portly German with penchant for video games. Thus Dotcom’s defence fails. 
 
To add insult to injury, he has now weaselled his way into our political system with one of the most cynical political party collaborations (at least I’m cynical of it) I’ve ever seen in the form of the Internet-Mana party. One way or another, whether he’s extradited or simply ignored by anyone and everyone until he disappears, Kim Dotcom needs to go.
Kim Dotcom
Internet
Mana party
New Zealand
elections

Comments

This is a very well argued blog. It is very refreshing to hear a argument that runs counter to Kim Dotcom's propaganda machine. How in the world did he ever become part of our political system? It is worth noting that Hitler (whom he admires) came to power as the leader of a minority party. This was because the political system at the time was so fragmented. I hope that doesn't happen here because we don't want someone who studies Mein Kampf to be in any position that allows him to influence opinion.