It’s not usually the pirate that offers the bounty; but Megaupload founder and alleged pirate Kim Dotcom has said he’ll give $5 million to anyone leaking information that helps him successfully defend himself.
Dotcom is currently in New Zealand, resisting extradition to the US, where he’s accused of racketeering, money laundering and copyright theft, with potential jail terms of 20 years. He’s said to have cost copyright owners more than $500 million. He’s also facing civil actions from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Dotcom is hoping for evidence of unlawful or corrupt behavior on the part of the US government, the New Zealand government, spy agencies, law enforcement and Hollywood.
“It is the opinion of my legal team that disclosure of such information would be lawful,” he told TorrentFreak. “I would also guarantee any whistleblower coming forward would have the best legal representation at zero cost.”
He suggests potential whistleblowers use the Guardian newspaper’s SecureDrop tool – from an internet cafe, to be on the safe side.
A Supreme Court hearing on Dotcom’s extradition from New Zealand is set to begin – after several delays – in Aukland on July 7. Today, lawyers for ten music companies and film studios appealed to the High Court in Auckland to have his assets frozen while the case is underway.
An interesting feature of Dotcom’s case is that many of his most vocal supporters are cheerfully convinced of his guilt. This is clearly partly an exercise in self-justification on the part of file sharers; but it’s also down to his – literal and metaphorical – larger than life nature. His stunts have ranged from projecting the words ‘United Stasi of America’ onto the wall of the US embassy in Germany to announcing plans to stand for the New Zealand parliament.
Dotcom’s Twitter followers are, in their droves, expressing their regret that they don’t have any evidence that will get him off – but it’s pretty unlikely that anybody will.