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The Persuader

My personal blog, started in 2006.



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22.09.2014

Brand Kim Dotcom: what has changed?

Equal access: an audio recording of this blog post can be found here.

It’s disturbing to see so many Kim Dotcom jokes post-General Election, with plenty of Kiwis happy to ridicule the bloke because of Internet Mana’s terrible showing in the polls, and the loss of Hone Harawira’s seat.
   Yet not too long ago, the overall public perception was that this was a guy hard done by the authorities, with the criminalization of his alleged copyright infringement and the victim of illegal spying that forced a law change, by an all-too-eager-to-please New Zealand government trying to impress the FBI.
   I thought it was above us as New Zealanders, first, to kick a guy when he’s down, and secondly, subject him to ridicule when absolutely nothing about his legal position has changed.
   However, the perception now is he’s a foreigner—not only that, a German owner of a copy of Mein Kampf against whom we should now display a heightened level of xenophobia once reserved for Basil Fawlty’s hotel guests—who had interfered, along with some other foreigners, in our political processes.
   I’ll admit that my first impression of this hard-partying, fast-driving playboy with his Mercs wasn’t a positive one. But as news of what he had allegedly done came to light, and the US still refusing to let him see all the evidence so that he can defend himself, my thoughts about him changed.
   Since the legislation was enacted, I’ve been involved twice in DMCA allegations against our firm—though I send out dozens of take-down notices each year—and the standard procedure that we follow, as do Google and Facebook, is pretty clear. If you find it, we’ll remove it. But till you tell us about it, we don’t know. In Dotcom’s case, as with Google or Dropbox, there are so many files that they don’t know. Further, there are privacy laws preventing his former company from looking into what you’ve stored on his servers.
   So here’s a guy that, as far as I can see, is doing the same thing as the big players when it comes to copyrighted materials. I’ve no comment on the racketeering, money laundering and fraud charges, as I simply have no facts on them—and I don’t think he has, either, with the secretive processes the US prosecutors have used. Thank goodness our judiciary remains independent.
   Thanks to him, we’ve learned that the GCSB has been spying on him and other New Zealanders illegally, prompting a law change that applied retroactively. And that is important for us as New Zealanders to realize. We should be concerned about the misuse of a government agency, and we should be concerned that the US has been taking the lead on our copyright laws, including the “three strikes” amendments that the Prime Minister was for before he was against, and before he then decided to vote for anyway.
   Put yourself in Dotcom’s shoes: you’re a guy who is running a business in the same way Google and Dropbox are, and you’ve been pissed on by the country you call home with illegal activity, an armed raid, and a government who has taken all your stuff and has frozen your assets.
   You can shrug your shoulders and let them keep pissing on you, or you might just want to take the fight back to the minister in charge of the GCSB—the Prime Minister—and who knew or did not know about you or your name.
   You might just want to bankroll a political campaign and find the easiest way in there to get some hard facts about what is going on, so you can simply bloody defend yourself.
   I said then that this was the oddest marriage and it felt doomed, but maybe it was the one option he felt was available to him.
   Most didn’t complain when Bob Jones did it with the New Zealand Party—and I don’t accept that that was for the public good—or when he said he wanted to field a bunch of contestants in the local body elections in 2010 here in Wellington. Nor did we complain when Colin Craig decided he would use his own cash to bankroll his own party.
   I’m not a fan of money influencing politics—certainly not corporate donors wanting to extract favours from candidates—but if these guys want to sink some cash into the country in which they reside to make a change, then that is their choice.
   Sure, this is a convicted criminal who probably shouldn’t have been let in in the first place, but the fact is we did let him in, he is now a New Zealand resident, and he is entitled to do the same things other New Zealand residents can.
   And to all those who complained that here is this one foreigner living here who involved three other foreigners in his backfiring ‘Moment of Truth’ last week (embedded above), I take it that you all have never commented, and will never comment, on the politics of the countries that Dotcom, Assange, Snowden and Greenwald are residents of.
   I don’t know Kim Dotcom and we have exchanged only a couple of Tweets over the years. I can’t tell you if I think he is a good bloke or not. I believe that Kim Dotcom is out for Kim Dotcom, rather than the New Zealand public, but that’s his prerogative. But I can tell you I’m grateful for some of the stuff that has come out because of his case—you don’t need Nicky Hager to put any slant on it, the facts are on the record, from both his and the government’s side, so you can make up your own mind. Maybe ‘brand Kim Dotcom’, as he put it, was poisonous to Mana, which he has apologized for—but not long ago, ‘brand Kim Dotcom’ was heroic for revealing to us that things weren’t fair in our nation.
   The fact remains that he is a New Zealand resident who is innocent till proved guilty, that he has been denied the sort of due process you and I could have if we have been accused of the same crimes, and if he didn’t deserve the xenophobic, toxic remarks before, he doesn’t deserve them now. Honestly, folks, I thought we were better.

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Filed under: branding, business, culture, internet, New Zealand, politics—Jack Yan @ 12.22

11 Responses to ‘Brand Kim Dotcom: what has changed?’

  1. […] See also:  Brand Kim Dotcom: what has changed? […]

  2. Brenda Agnew says:

    Great article, I agree 100%. It was very disappointing to see that prejudice has won the day. I am grateful that he brought Assange, Snowden and Greenwald here. It was a gift. I’m embarrassed at the way NZ and the media have treated this guy.

  3. Jack Yan says:

    Thank you, Brenda. As I re-read it, I was reminded: unlike Bob Jones, Kim Dotcom didn’t physically beat up journalists. Yet Bob still gets better treatment from the media.

  4. Karen Te Papa says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with you. Tall poppy syndrome? or maybe some people are just too ignorant for their own good. He is a resident, but he is also a person, and for people to villify him in this way is disgusting. Ignorance and prejudice, is that all this country has become????

  5. Jack Yan says:

    Well said, Karen. There has been far too much divisiveness in this election season—the local body elections last year were the same. It’s symptomatic of much bigger problems going on behind the scenes, making politics less pleasant—and, consequently, driving ordinary New Zealanders away from the process. It shouldn’t be like this.

  6. Greg 0s says:

    Dotcom did not beat up any media, but the media certainly beat up on him.
    What I noticed over the last few months has been the constant denigration of anything, especially the really good stuff, that has come from anyone left of National.
    The way the media painted Dotcom, Cunliffe and Harawira one would have thought these were filthy thieving lepers and that Jesus Key would continue saving the country as per usual.
    Is it any wonder we had such poor turnout at the booths.

  7. David B says:

    This country is full on red necks and idiots. Just a pack of sheep really. It’s worse than living in Australia, at least over there they have real kangaroo’s in their courts

  8. […] rather than examine the messages.’    New Zealanders begin vilifying Kim Dotcom: I respond.    I blog about Occupy Central in Hong Kong—which led to a television appearance on […]

  9. […] The passing of Richard ‘Jaws’ Kiel.    New Zealanders begin vilifying Kim Dotcom: I respond.    Hong Kong’s Occupy Central protests […]

  10. […] materials as Google and Dropbox has been indicted by the US Government—that’s right, I am talking about Kim Dotcom. It’s a reminder that we haven’t done enough for our tech sector, the one which […]

  11. […]    I see an appalling double standard when it comes to how this bloke is dealt with, e.g. he is dissed for spending money funding a political party but Colin Craig gets a pass for doing the …. He is dissed for showing us how our government monitors us by bringing in Glenn Greenwald yet we […]

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