Piracy Prince to Pauper: Kim Dotcom Ends the Year “Broke”on December 2, 2014 at 9:34 pm
After starting the year guiding 60 Minutes’ Bob Simon around his luxury mansion in New Zealand, piracy magnate Kim Dotcom will end 2014 at the other end of the wealth gap. Confirming to an audience in London that he is “officially broke,” Dotcom hits the headlines once again following a turbulent 12 months.
When it comes to Kim Dotcom we’ve learned to take everything with a grain of PR-infused salt, but either way his world does seem to be unraveling.
First, he’s been pursued throughout the year by the U.S. Department of Justice, which wants to extradite Dotcom so that he can be formally charged with racketeering, copyright infringement, and money laundering. He currently lives in New Zealand, where the government has been equally at odds with its flamboyant temporary resident and last year raided his mansion on behalf of their counterparts in the U.S.
Then there are his abortive attempts to start up new technology “innovations,” like the music streaming service Baboom. Initially the platform launched with Dotcom as its only artist – the term is used especially loosely in his case – before severing all ties with him in October. In a moment of rare perceptive clarity, he stated that “the music industry hates me” and described himself as holding the service back.
And after failing to produce his big “moment of truth” at the recent elections in New Zealand, it appears that now big Kim’s finances are shrinking to a size where his bizarre publicity machine will have to run on small time statements and even, heaven forbid, a healthy dose of reality. Being “officially broke” is perhaps the most honest statement we’ll hear from him all year.
Before you feel too bad for pirate prince-turned-pauper, however, remember that the estimated $40 million he has allegedly blown in legal fees came largely from exploiting the content of honest creators. Taking what was not is own, building an international “service” on it, and profiting from the audience it attracted. If only that money could somehow be siphoned back to artists there may be some justice, but the reality is that it temporarily lined pirate pockets before moving on to the lawyers.
If Kim Dotcom is truly as broke as he claims, it will only strengthen the hand of those bidding to bring him back to the U.S. next year to answer for his crimes against creators.
If not, he may want to consider pouring even more money from publicity stunts to his legal fees, as he’s going to have a lot more to fight in 2015.