Kim Dotcom, born Kim Schmitz is a German-Finnish computer programmer and businessman. He is also known as the founder of Megaupload and its associated websites. He legally changed his surname to Dotcom circa 2005. He is known for his large frame, as he is 2 metres (6.6 ft) tall and weighs 130 kilograms (290 lb).
As a teenager, Dotcom earned a reputation in his native Germany for cracking corporate PBX systems in the United States, and tried to parlay it into a career in data security. In 2001, Dotcom purchased $375,000 worth of shares of the nearly bankrupt company LetsBuyIt.com and subsequently announced his intention to invest €50 million in the company. Unknown to others, Dotcom did not have the funds available to invest, although the announcement caused the share value of LetsBuyIt.com to jump by nearly 300%.Dotcom quickly sold the shares and profited $1.5 million as a result.
Megaupload Ltd – Business shutdown (the changing face of the internet)
On 21 March 2005, Mr.Dotcom founded Megaupload Limited, a Hong Kong-based file hosting and sharing business that eventually became the 13th most popular site on the internet with over 150 employees, US $175 million revenues, 50 million visitors daily, and estimated to be responsible at its peak for 4% of all internet traffic.
In early January 2012, the popular Hong Kong-based file-sharing service was shut down by U.S. authorities, who accuse the founder of facilitating millions of illegal downloads, which they claim cost $500 million in lost revenue for entertainment artists. On January 21, 2012, Dotcom was arrested on his birthday on his massive estate in New Zealand. Meanwhile, Megaupload is also locked in a legal battle with reps for R&B artist Mary J. Blige and Kanye West over an ad that features the singers allegedly endorsing the site.
As the fight in Washington heats up over piracy legislation, the Dotcom case is taking center stage in the press.