Kim Dotcom launches ‘legal’ Mega site

A year to the day after the raid on his New Zealand house, Kim Dotcom has launched his new file sharing site, Mega.

Last January, the FBI shut down his previous site, Megaupload, and charged Dotcom with copyright infringement and conspiracy. But you can’t keep a man like Dotcom down – not without some pretty heavy-duty bungees, anyway – and the replacement site he promised late last year is now up and running.

Within a couple of hours of launch, however, the site was seriously overloaded, gaining 100,000 registered users within an hour.

“250,000 user registrations. Server capacity on maximum load. Should get better when initial frenzy is over. Wow!!!” tweeted Dotcom. While access is still slow, Dotcom says his team is working to increase capacity.

Mega gives each user 50GB of free storage, with paid plans starting at $13.30 for 500GB storage and one terabit of bandwidth.

Unlike Megaupload, Mega forces users to encrypt their data before it’s uploaded, which Dotcom hopes will protect him from more accusations of copyright infringement: if the site’s organizers don’t know what’s being uploaded, they can’t be held responsible for its content.

The site uses on-the-fly symmetric key encryption in the browser, with users supplying a file’s key to anyone they want to share it with.

And Dotcom’s also distancing himself from any copyright infringement through a statement on the site. “You are strictly prohibited from using our services to infringe copyright,” it reads. “You may not upload, download, store, share, display, stream, distribute, e-mail, link to, transmit or otherwise make available any files, data, or content that infringes any copyright or other proprietary rights of any person or entity.”

In typical fashion, Dotcom launched the site with a bang: a re-enactment of last year’s police raid. A helicopter swooped over the heads of the 300 guests, and ‘FBI agents’ rappelled down the side of his house.

Dotcom and his three co-defendants are still fighting extradition to the US, where they’re accused of having deprived content producers of $500 million in lost copyright.