In a move bound to provoke US prosecutors and entertainment executives, indicted Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is planning to launch a replacement of his shuttered website and a new online music service this year.
The file-sharing site that Dotcom started in 2005 was one of the most popular online sites before US prosecutors shut it down and filed racketeering charges against Dotcom and six other Megaupload principals in January. Megaupload was registered to offices in Hong Kong.
United States authorities are now trying to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand.
The flamboyant Dotcom confirmed this week that he is almost completed work on "new Mega" and "Megabox", but said he did not want to divulge details ahead of a major press launch. However, statements on Twitter and a promotional video paint a picture of what he is planning.
In recent tweets, Dotcom has said his new version of Megaupload is nearly complete. "Quick update on the new Mega: Code 90% done. Servers on the way. Lawyers, Partners & Investors ready. Be patient. It's coming," he wrote. He said the new version will feature a one-click encryption option for data transfers and that the service would be hosted on servers outside the US.
Asked by one Twitter user if he was nervous that "what happened to Megaupload could happen to New Mega?" Dotcom replied: "That will be IMPOSSIBLE. Trust me!"
Dotcom says his planned music service Megabox will let users download music for free in exchange for advertisements. He says 90 per cent of the revenue will go to the artists and that the service will be a legitimate way of "unchaining artists and fans" to do business with each other.
A promotional video indicates Megabox will allow users to upload their own music.
Asked if US prosecutors might see his plans as a poke in the eye, Dotcom said, "probably."