Indicted Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom launched a new file-sharing website on Sunday, promising users ramped-up privacy levels in a defiant move against the U.S. prosecutors, who accuse him of facilitating massive online piracy.
The entrepreneur unveiled the ‘Mega’ site ahead of a lavish gala and press conference at his New Zealand mansion on Sunday night, the anniversary of his arrest on racketeering charges related to his now-shuttered Megaupload file-sharing site. Megaupload, which Mr. Dotcom started in 2005, was one of the most popular sites on the Web until U.S. prosecutors shut it down, accusing Mr. Dotcom and several company officials of facilitating millions of illegal downloads.
Interest in the site was certainly high. Mr. Dotcom said half-a-million users registered for Mega in its first 14 hours.
U.S. authorities are trying to extradite the German-born Internet tycoon from New Zealand, where he is free on bail. Prosecutors say Mr. Dotcom made tens of millions of dollars while filmmakers and songwriters lost around $500 million in copyright revenue.
Mr. Dotcom argues that he can’t be held responsible for copyright infringement committed by others, and insists Megaupload complied with copyrights by removing links to pirated material when asked.
‘Mega’, like Megaupload, allows users to store and share large files. It offers 50 gigabytes of free storage, much more than similar sites such as ‘Dropbox’ and ‘Google Drive’, and features a drag-and-drop upload tool.
The key difference is an encryption and decryption feature for data transfers that Mr. Dotcom says will protect him from the legal drama that has entangled Megaupload and threatened to put him behind bars.