Wozniak slams US government over Megaupload case as Kim Dotcom throws pool party

Macworld Australia Staff
27 June, 2012
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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has come to the defense of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom.

Dotcom is the founder of file sharing website Megaupload, which was shut down in January by the United States Department of Justice under copyright infringement charges. Dotcom has been under house arrest in New Zealand ever since and is fighting an attempt to be extradited to the US.

Wozniak recently paid a visit to Dotcom, and is involved and a supporter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EEF), partner of Megaupload’s hosting company Carpathia, helping Mega users getting their files back.

In an exclusive email interview with CNET, Wozniak made it clear that he fully supports Dotcom.

“When crimes occur through the mail, you don’t shut the post office down. When governments dream up charges of ‘racketeering’ for a typical IT guy who is just operating a file-sharing service, or accuse him of mail fraud because he said he had removed files [to alleged infringing content] when he’d just removed the links to them, this is evidence of how poorly thought out the attempt to extradite him is,” wrote Wozniak.

“Prosecutors are attempting to take advantage of loopholes. Too bad for the U.S. government that Dotcom lives in New Zealand, which is better on human rights.”

In April Kim Dotcom was granted a monthly allowance of NZ$60,000 from his frozen assets. Wozniak says in his email:

“How unfair that the United States will allow him living expenses out of his frozen assets but not give him any legal fees”, Wozniak argued.

“The side with access to the funds spends millions on lawyers hoping the other side goes bankrupt and gives in. Shame on the system that permits this one-sided advantage. Kim is well enough liked and respected that his legal team is working without up-front payment.”

“I scratch my head wondering why the studios went after the guy doing more than can be imagined to remove the links the studios wanted removed. Heck, I use my iDisk (MobileMe) and dropbox to share files by sending links to friends. They might even be copyrighted materials. I might even send a song in an e-mail to my son, although if I think he’ll keep it I will use the ‘Buy gift’ feature in iTunes. But there are so many legitimate uses to peer-to-peer file sharing and cloud storage.”

“Copyright violation is wrong. So is driving over the speed limit. But don’t let that halt the progress of the digital age. I will note that Apple was the pioneer in finding the first good compromise [with the music industry over the legal distribution of MP3 files] with iTunes. Thank Heavens that this wasn’t stopped at the beginning. When you can’t stop something like a steamroller, get out of the way,” Wozniak wrote.

Kim Dotcom last week posted a photo of Wozniak and himself on his instagram account, and then thanked Woz on his twitter profile.

However, thanking Woz was not the only thing Kim Dotcom was posting on twitter. He also asked a few lucky people to come to his New Zealand mansion for a dip in his pool on Sunday.

Ben Gracewood, a twitter user asked Dotcom if he spends all day driving around and posing for pictures. “I could live like that,” Gracewood joked.

Dotcom replied, “Come over now!”

Gracewood, along with two others, visited for a few hours and Kim Dotcom posted photos and live-tweeted the event with the hashtag #swimatkims. He tweeted the pool party was “fun” and hinted that he might hold another one in the future.

“#swimatkims will return for everybody. Need a big public pool. Awesome DJ. Sound and lights. Who’s in?,” Dotcom tweeted.

Gracewood created a website and posted on his blog about his experience, “It was a mix of completely surreal and utterly mundane”.


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