Anonymous staged one of its largest attacks ever yesterday in retaliation for the Feds shutting down file-sharing site MegaUpload for allegedly being a criminal copyright-infringement conspiracy. Anonymous should probably learn about the spectacularly greedy playboy they've rallied behind in the name of free culture (and tricked others into rallying behind).
Megaupload's fat millionaire founder Kim Dotcom (born Schmitz) was arrested yesterday in New Zealand, cowering in a safe room in his sprawling rented estate, the Dotcom Mansion. (Dotcom is a German citizen.) This is a man who changed his name to Dotcom, which he then named his mansion. Dotcom had a sawed off shotgun at his side, according to the New York Times.
37-year-old Kim Dotcom lived an absurdly lavish lifestyle thanks to Megaupload and its pirated content, like some geek Kanye West. Police seized $4.8 million worth of cars at Doctom Mansion, including a 2010 Maserati, a pink cadillac and a 2008 Rolls Royce, with license plates like "GUILTY," "EVIL," "MAFIA" and "STONED." He's been convicted of criminal hacking, insider trading and embezzlement.
Before his arrest, Dotcom was famous for his YouTube videos. In some he's racing his Mercedes at 200 mph, "in other clips, Schmitz bathes in grand marble tubs, suns himself on yachts, and cavorts with bikini-clad women," according to CNET. (What is it with Anonymous' love of womanizing geeks?)
Dotcom's sleaziness aside, the specifics of the charges against him, for criminal copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering, suggests the internet's favorite vigilante hive mind may want to steer clear. Megaupload has raked in $175 million since 2005—the company's graphic designer made $1 million in 2010, according to the indictment, as summarized by Ars Technica. This even as Megaupload employees traded Megaupload links to pirated Seinfeld episodes amongst themselves. Is the copyright battle really about letting a German hacker get obscenely rich off copyrighted material, instead of Hollywood studio execs?
But Anonymous' Operation Megaupload is still going strong: they're trying to take down the FBI's website now. If Anonymous is going to make a habit of defending millionaires just to spite the U.S. government, maybe they can help out Rupert Murdoch next. The FBI has been giving him some trouble recently, too.