Speaking to Wired, Kim Doctom – the dynamic founder of Megaupload, detailed his plans for a comeback. Earlier this year, in a controversial move, the United States Department of Justice seized and shut down the file-hosting site Megaupload.com and moved criminal cases against its owners. However, Dotcom is already out on bail and working on his next venture – Mega.
Like Megaupload, Mega will be a cyber-locker that will be driven by a subscription model, allowing users to upload and share files with ease. However, there will be a few crucial differences. Having been burnt once, Dotcom is trying to work around the legal pitfalls that led to the Megaupload’s downfall. Mega will automatically encrypt all uploaded files with AES algorithm and provide a key to the user. Mega itself won’t have the key, and hence won’t have any idea about the content of the files uploaded to its servers. Dotcom hopes that this will allow Mega to avoid liability for the uploaded content. However, if a content owner discovers that his content is being illegally shared through Mega, he can file a complaint with Mega and get his content removed. Dotcom informed the Wired that according to his legal experts, the only way to stop such a service from existing is to make encryption itself illegal. “And according to the U.N. Charter for Human Rights, privacy is a basic human right,” he elaborated. The presence of encryption algorithms will also mean that de-duplication, which is a technique used by file lockers to identify duplicate files and store only a single instance on their server, is not going to be possible. So, copyright owners will have to remove infringing content one instance at a time. Fingerprinting content to automatically remove copyrighted material is also out of the equation. As with Megaupload, Mega will allow content owners special privileges to directly remove infringing material themselves. “But this time, if they want to use that tool, they’ll have to accept, prior to getting access, that they’re not going to sue us or hold us accountable for the actions of our users,” Dotcom added.
Dotcom believes that his new entity will be on the right side of the law. However, he is not taking any chances. He is also making sure that Mega cannot be brought down by a single raid as it happened with Megaupload. Mega will store all data on two sets of redundant servers, located in two different countries. Additionally, in the long run, Dotcom wants Mega to become a network hosted by thousands of different entities with thousands of different servers, in countries all over the world. “We’re creating a system where any host in the world — from the $2,000 garage operation to the largest online host — can connect their own servers to this network,” Dotcom says. “We can work with anybody, because the hosts themselves cannot see what’s on the servers.”
In the face of increased resistance from copyright holders and law enforcement agencies, the piracy ring has little choice but to grow up. Couple of days back, we saw The Pirate Bay switching to cloud hosting to protect themselves from server seizures. Now, Mega – which on paper is a legitimate service, but will undoubtedly be exploited for distributing warez, is preparing to launch one of the most sophisticated file lockers we have seen. The cat and mouse game between the law enforcers and the law breakers is about to get a lot more interesting.