WELLINGTON – Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom claimed a “massive” response to his new file-sharing service Sunday, launched exactly one year after he was arrested in the world’s biggest online piracy case.
The mega.co.nz website, which replaces Megaupload, went live at dawn, on the anniversary of armed police raid on the New Zealand-based Internet tycoon’s mansion in Auckland, which saw him arrested and the site shuttered. The 38-year-old German national, who changed his name from Kim Schmitz, is now on bail as U.S. authorities seek his extradition on a range of charges including money laundering, racketeering and copyright theft.
Dotcom hopes the new venture will repeat the success of Megaupload, which boasted 50 million visitors daily, and initial demand triggered overloads that caused long delays in accessing the site. His lawyer, Ira Rothken, said they were satisfied the new service was legal and that Dotcom believed it was the “most legally scrutinized startup” ever.
The website offers cloud storage with state-of-the-art encryption to ensure only users, not the site administrators, know what they are uploading.
That would theoretically stop authorities from accusing administrators of knowingly aiding online piracy, the central allegation facing Megaupload.
Despite the system overloads, Dotcom expressed delight with the rollout, tweeting within an hour of the launch that there were already 100,000 users registered in possibly the “fastest growing startup in Internet history.”