A year after file-storage site Megaupload was brought down by US law-enforcement officials targeting piracy, flamboyant founder Kim Dotcom has cut the ribbon on his new site, Mega.
(Screenshot by CNET)
"As of this minute one year ago #Megaupload was destroyed by the US Government. Welcome to http://Mega.co.nz," Dotcom tweeted.
Not long after, he followed up with a tweet trumpeting what he said is the site's immediate popularity: "Site is extremely busy. Currently thousands of user registrations PER MINUTE." And indeed, as of this writing, the site was difficult to access at times, perhaps because of heavy traffic.
Dotcom tweeted last month that he'd be staging a "press conference like no other" on 20 January. He delivered, with a function described by attendees as "lavish" and "insane". At the launch, Dotcom claimed that 1 million people had registered for Mega, stating bluntly that "we cannot be stopped".
"The internet belongs to no man or industry or government," said Dotcom. "I am convinced that the internet is the key to the betterment of mankind."
The event — which included a Maori Haka at the start — can be seen on YouTube, and included a Q&A at the end.
On Thursday, Dotcom said that Mega users would get 50GB of storage for free, and that his lawyers are working on giving former Megaupload premium users their premium statuses on the new site.
On top of the free storage, Mega — which offers encryption and is being touted as "an awesome cloud-storage service that will help protect your privacy" — offers three pricing plans, with added storage space and bandwidth.
An image from the Mega site shows the larger-than-life Dotcom on the far left, along with members of the Mega team.
(Screenshot by CNET)
Dotcom's earlier cyber storage locker, Megaupload, was launched in 2005, only to be shuttered by US federal agencies, which argued that it was a service that pirates were using to facilitate copyright infringement. After being taken to court by US officials for running an alleged "criminal enterprise", Dotcom said that he had "no intention" of reactivating Megaupload, and furthermore would not establish any similar business while extradition proceedings were taking place.
The arrival of mega.co.nz as a cloud-based storage locker may have US prosecutors in a tizzy, but Megaupload's defence team said that Dotcom is "entitled to innovate and work in technology like any other innocent New Zealander" until he's found to be otherwise.
One of Dotcom's lawyers, Ira Rothken, told Ars Technica during a recent interview with him and Dotcom that anyone who tries to take down Mega will have no legal ground to stand on.
"You have companies like Dropbox and Google with Drive with materially similar technologies," Rothken said. "And they are in business and they're thriving — and Mega adds encryption."
An extradition hearing has been scheduled for March as American authorities continue to try to remove the entrepreneur from New Zealand, though some reports have suggested that it could be pushed back to July.
CNET's Charlie Osborne contributed to this report.