When New Zealand authorities raided in January of this year the $24 million compound of Kim Dotcom, the indicted founder of shuttered file-sharing service Megaupload, they found with the eccentric hacker a life of self-documentation and promotion. Dotcom was no stranger to showing his lavish lifestyle on YouTube, creating over-produced music videos, such as the uncomfortable “Mega Song,” publicity stunts, and travelogues, even as the government and entertainment world closed slowly in. However, as the eccentric hacker now faces over 50 years in jail on copyright infringement charges tracking more than $500 million in losses, show business types have been quick to forgive, tapping a number of different projects for Dotcom to tell his side of the story.
THR reports that, according to business associates and close acquaintances, Kim Dotcom is eyeing a documentary, biography, and album for release in the next few years. Actor Donovan Leitch is producing the doc, currently titled “Mega Conspiracy,” along with Dotcom’s friend Alex Mardikian, and Marc Levin (“Prayer for a Perfect Season”) is in talks to direct, with a distribution deal still in the works.
After the January raid, it seems Leitch, who’s met with Dotcom three times since last fall, and Mardikian immediately began filming every little event for fear of missing a turning point in the case. As a result, the duo have logged roughly 60 hours of footage so far, interviewing Dotcom as well as Megaupload employees named in the Jan. 6th indictment. While initially the film was to be just a simple account of Dotcom’s legal battle, it has inevitably grown into an examination of content ownership and freedom over the Internet. It might also follow Dotcom as he uses his electronically monitored bail to record an electronica album with Black Eyed Peas producer Printz Board, slated for release mid-summer. One thing’s for sure though: Dotcom will remain solely as the documentary’s focus. “If it is under Kim’s direction,” Mardikian said, “It is not a documentary, it is a freaking commercial for Mega. That’s what we are avoiding.”
One person definitely unsuited to whitewash portrayals is journalist Neil Strauss (“The Game“), who has been separately working on a biography after a NZ trip to meet Dotcom found them hitting it off. While Strauss has always been known for his indulgent, over-dramatic writing style, his ability to embed himself in a subject like Dotcom’s life should make for a fascinating read nonetheless.
If one of the few who wonders about the fuss over Megaupload, apparently the attempt to catch up on missed TV, listen to music, or upload a file during your Internet career never came into play. Essentially the service tore a hole in how online and physical business operated, and shifted the governmental focus onto the issue for the first real time since Napster. Whatever the outcome, pay close attention to the Dotcom trial, as it will undoubtedly have a ripple effect in years to come. But until then, nod along to Dotcom’s beats as he awaits his fate.