Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom made international headlines in January when his websites were seized by the U.S. Department of Justice. Now, though, a few organizations are doing their best to ignore him.
Twitter regularly issues an identity certification stamp to its most-followed users. The symbol — a blue flower petal surrounding white check mark — ensures the legitimacy of the account holder, a necessary tool in the case of politicians and other public figures. Yet Dotcom, despite maintaining more than 114,000 followers on the social networking website, cannot convince Twitter executives that he is who he says he is.
“@Twitter declines to certify me,” wrote Dotcom in a tweet early Tuesday morning. “I faxed an ID. They think it’s fake. A search for my name shows imposter as the first result.”
Indeed, the first item to appear after a search for the 38-year old German native’s name is an account with over 3,000 followers, but no one is sure who’s running it. Nearly ten other accounts, some demonstrating clear intentions of malice, also exist. But Dotcom’s well-known sense of humor has once again arrived at the situation’s forefront. Less than an hour after his first tweet, he posted a new one.
“Hey @Twitter, it’s really me,” wrote Dotcom. “Please certify my account and disable the imposter.”
Attached to the tweet was a picture of the man himself. Striking a goofy pose for the camera, Dotcom holds a notebook inscribed with a smiley face and the words “Twitter, it’s really me!”
A few commentators have suggested that lawmakers are pressuring Twitter to remain uncooperative with the Megaupload founder, but it is worth noting that the social networking website has been quite transparent about its relationship with the U.S. government, going so far as to release an extensive report in early July detailing government requests for user information.
The U.S. government’s relationship with Megaupload is a bit different.
The federal raid at Dotcom’s New Zealand home was viewed by many as nothing short of aggressive. However, this aggression turned into passivity when a New Zealand judge ruled in June that the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s initial search warrants unlawful. Now the U.S. government is ignoring Dotcom in a new kind of way: it’s trying to find loopholes in legal statutes.
Dotcom’s attorneys argue that Megaupload is not subject to U.S. criminal law because the company has no offices in the country. Its headquarters, located in Hong Kong, only subject Megaupload to Hong Kong’s own legal framework. Prosecutors tried citing how the U.S. government served notice to FARC, a Colombian guerilla group which also has no office in the U.S. According to Ars Technica, though, Judge Liam O’Grady, who is overseeing Dotcom’s extradition case, “seemed skeptical” of the arguments. Nonetheless the U.S. government insists that it can freeze Megaupload’s user assets indefinitely or until the company’s executives agree to be properly served for the extradition process.
Lawmakers, too, have taken notice of the attention this case is receiving worldwide. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-C.A.) recently spoke with other House members about the future of copyright enforcement, asking how it can be better executed in order to “protect innocent users when there are enforcement actions.” Kim Dotcom’s future may very well be a significant precedent in the question of how to enforce, if at all, intellectual property.