In New Zealand, electronic-bracelet-wearing Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has gone on the offensive again, launching a new dance video produced by Black Eyed Peas’ musical director Printz Board that directly attacks John Banks, the NZ cabinet minister whom Dotcom claims asked for – and received – an anonymous and illegal $50,000 campaign donation from him.
This is the track, titled Amnesia:
Kim Dotcom (his legal name) was recently arrested by a SWAT team at his mansion. He is currently facing criminal prosecution from the NZ government, which is acting in conjunction with (and likely in response to pressure from) the US government. He is accused of serious criminal media actions including facilitating the illegal sharing of movies (No!) on his globally popular Megaupload site.
Dotcom has been portrayed as a pirate and an outlaw. But his production and sharing of original media puts the lie to the notion that he is in the media-sharing game as a parasite. He is part of the new media culture, self-named as Kim Dotcom, and his media-sharing activities include both uploading and downloading, both producing and sharing. I’m pretty sure that he sees helping others to do the same as a valuable social contribution (as well as a good business model). Which for millions of people it is.
So Dotcom is fighting back against his politically-motivated arrest for media-sharing by…yep…sharing more media! It only makes sense, right? He is fighting their battle on the literate front (in court, with lawyers, in relation to written IP law) but he is also taking the battle to his political enemies on the digital front, where he is far more comfortable, and where he has more power. Will this new track succeed in undermining a cabinet minister who is a crucial cog in the NZ government’s narrow parliamentary majority? Could his music videos topple that government, resulting in a new one with a different approach to media-sharing, one that would halt Dotcom’s prosecution? Well, probably not. But you never know…
And in the meantime, he is doing what he can with the weapons at his disposal, engaging in politically-charged high-stakes media warfare in defense of his own liberty, and of the file-sharing ethos that he clearly embraces. It would be stretching things to call the idiosyncratic and unpredictable Kim Dotcom heroic, even if he is in a sense defending the liberty of millions of media-sharers. But he is – at least – a cagey and capable agent in the ongoing techno-cultural battle between literate and digital values and systems. Someone worth keeping an eye on who could yet – should circumstances align – see ‘greatness thrust upon him’.