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Mega v2 to launch exactly one year after v1’s shutdown

By | Published on Monday 29 October 2012

MegaUpload

Ever the showman, Kim ‘Dotcom’ Schmitz has announced that his new digital venture, to be known simply as Mega, will go live on 19 Jan 2013, a year to the day since the American authorities took the internet maverick’s original business, MegaUpload, offline amidst allegations of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering.

As previously reported, Mega will be an enhanced version of MegaUpload, the controversial file-transfer and video-sharing platform that the music and movie industries accused of being a massive hub for piracy.

However, any files uploaded to the new Mega digital locker will be automatically encrypted, with a unique unlock key provided to the user, which – Dotcom and his associates reckon – will protect them from any liability for contributory copyright infringement, because the Mega company will have no way of knowing what files are being stored on its servers, and so will not be able to control the distribution of infringing material over its networks.

Mega will also be based outside the US, and in multiple locations in different territories. It was because most of the MegaUpload servers were stored in facilities in the States that the American authorities were able to so swiftly and resolutely take the original Mega service offline when they launched their criminal action at the start of the year.

Dotcom had previously indicated that the all-new Mega would go live this year, though announced this weekend that “the new Mega will launch exactly one year after the raid”. Assuming it does, that will mean Mega v2 is up and running before the US’s attempt to extradite Dotcom and three other former Mega execs from New Zealand has reached the courts there. Even if that was successful, it could then take years for the criminal case to reach a court in America.

It’s thought Dotcom wants to expand the range of services the new Mega offers, and the extra add-ons may include Megabox, the direct-to-fan platform he has also been developing. Whether the new venture can ever reach the scale of the original MegaUpload remains to be seen.

While Dotcom says he has investors lined up, some potential backers will be wary of investing while the criminal case against the original Mega company is ongoing. Plus the encryption system will arguably make it harder for users to use the Mega network to access free music and movie files stored in other users’ digital lockers, and the music and movie industries would argue that it was that easily accessible free content, rather than any of the technical services the platform offered, that made the original MegaUpload such a big hit.

Either way, 19 Jan 2013 could be interesting.



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