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  1. Providers who defied TV company demands to switch off their VPN services have caved in following legal threats. CallPlus and Bypass Network Services faced action from media giants including Sky and TVNZ for allowing their customers to access geo-restricted content. Their 'Global Mode' services will be terminated by September 1. Unlocking geo-restricted digital content is an activity carried out by millions every day, but the practice is frowned upon by entertainment industry companies. The large amounts of time, effort and financial planning that go into complex licensing agreements can be undone in an instant by a user of a VPN or ‘smart’ DNS service, opening up services like Netflix and breaking down barriers to U.S-based products such as Hulu. In April, media companies SKY, TVNZ, Lightbox and MediaWorks told several Kiwi ISPs that if they didn’t stop providing geo-unblocking services to their subscribers, legal action wouldn’t be far ahead. Within days and following claims of breaches of the Copyright Act, Unlimited Internet pulled its VPN service. However, CallPlus and Bypass Network Services stood firm and stated that they weren’t going to be bullied. Now, just two months later, both providers have caved in to the demands of the media companies. The news was revealed in the briefest of announcements posted to the NZX by Sky TV this morning. “The legal proceedings against ‘Global Mode’ service providers have been settled. As a result, from 1 September 2015, the ‘Global Mode’ service will not be available to any person for use in New Zealand,†the statement reads. The news will come as a blow to users of the ‘Global Mode’ service who will now have to find alternatives if they wish to continue accessing geo-locked content. While that will be extremely easy, Global Mode was a free product so it’s likely that additional costs could be on the horizon. InternetNZ, the non-profit group that oversees the Internet in New Zealand, says it is “deeply disappointed†by the news. “Global Mode was a great example of Internet-based innovation that challenged traditional content distribution models. It was by no means clear that the service was illegal, and we were keen to see the matter go before the courts to provide users and the industry with clarity,†said InternetNZ Chief Executive Jordan Carter. “Withdrawing the service and settling before court seems a worse outcome for all concerned. The media companies have said that they wanted to clarify their own legal rights over content – a settlement doesn’t achieve this, and leaves us all none the wiser.†Noting that both Internet users and innovation have “taken a back seat to entrenched old media interestsâ€, the InternetNZ chief called for a revised look at local copyright legislation. “This outcome makes it ever more important that we review New Zealand copyright law, to ensure that the interests of consumers and creators are appropriately balanced.†Those looking for the all-important details on why the companies backed down will be disappointed. The details of the settlement between the providers and entertainment companies are confidential. Submissions will be made to the court but they will not be for public consumption.
  2. The new boss of Canadian telecoms giant Bell Media has confessed that her own daughter is a "thief". Speaking at the Canadian Telecom Summit, Mary Ann Turcke says her 15-year-old was using a VPN to access Netflix's superior U.S. service but she quickly put a stop to it. Netflix could've done so earlier, she added, but chose not to. While the video entertainment business needs to do better, Netflix is definitely going some way to filling the online movie and TV show streaming void. Nevertheless, even when consumers put their hands in their pockets for the service, elements of the industry still find cause to complain. The issue is one of geo-location. Essentially, users of Netflix in the United States get a more content-rich service than those accessing it from elsewhere. These restrictions are easily overcome by using a VPN service to tunnel in to the U.S. from outside but that annoys content companies no end. Licensing deals are to be respected, they argue. Just lately critics of the phenomenon have switched from using terms such as “geo-blockingâ€, favoring the emotive “Netflix piracy†and “Netflix theft†instead. Yesterday another heavyweight poured more fuel on the fire and pointed the finger at her own family while doing so. Mary Ann Turcke is the new boss of BCE Inc.’s Bell Media division in Canada. In a keynote speech to the Canadian Telecom Summit yesterday, Turcke raised the issue of Netflix but surprisingly relayed a story from within her own household, triggered by a ‘Life Pro Tip’ from her own daughter. “Mom, did you know that you can hack into U.S. Netflix and get sooo many more shows?†Turcke’s 15-year-old-daughter revealed. But far from mom being impressed at the ingenuity of her child, mom found her actions tantamount to theft. “She is 15 and she was stealing,†Turcke told the Toronto audience. “Suffice to say, there is no more VPNing.†For the teenager and probably most adults, this must be a frustrating concept to grasp. After shunning the lure of The Pirate Bay and its first-run movies on tap – for free, someone in the household has done the ‘right’ thing and bought Netflix. Yet someone, somewhere, has deemed Canadians to be unworthy of the full service and when that injustice gets addressed, mom plays the ‘thief’ card. “It takes behavioral change and it is the people — friend to friend, parent to child, coworker to coworker — that set the cultural framework for acceptable and unacceptable behaviour,†Turcke said. “It has to become socially unacceptable to admit to another human being that you are VPNing into U.S. Netflix. Like throwing garbage out of your car window, you just don’t do it. We have to get engaged and tell people they’re stealing.†Despite Ms. Turcke’s enthusiasm for establishing geo-busting as a crime, Canadian law professor Michael Geist previously rejected the assertion, an opinion also shared by Ottawa intellectual property lawyer Howard Knopf. “This is another manifestation of that good old Canadian phenomenon known as cross-border shopping in a free market,†Knopf said. “‎Some Canadian rights owners and licensees seem to think it’s smart to limit Canadian choice and raise Canadian prices. Maybe they are being shortsighted or greedy but that’s what they try to do.†While Turcke sees her own child as the thief, she also lays blame at the door of Netflix for not doing more to stop so-called ‘VPN pirates’. “Digital-rights management is one of the most sophisticated and heavily negotiated relationship aspects of our deals with Hollywood,†Turcke said. “As an industry, the players up and down the value chain can’t allow Netflix to continue doing what they’re doing, and Netflix has a choice to stop it. This is a business model decision on Netflix’s part. It’s not a technical problem.†But while Turcke criticizes Netflix for allowing people to access what they like, the notion of providing content on customer-friendly terms is certainly not alien to the entertainment industry veteran. “We, Bell Media, we, the industry, need to make our content more accessible. Viewers are demanding simplicity. And they will seek it out,†she said. Noting that consumers are simply not willing to tolerate restrictions surrounding online streaming rights, ‘windowing’ and national borders, Turcke warned the audience: “It is enough to drive anyone to the dreaded Netflix. Legally or illegally.†
  3. Don't expect the Federal Court to protect Australians from the claws of Dallas Buyers Club's Voltage Pictures. Sure, Justice Perram will cast an eye over their initial scare letter to alleged pirates, but then the gloves will come off. While defense lawyers have their place, the only people with the ability to hold copyright trolls to account are Australia's journalists. Dealing with people who receive threatening letters from so-called copyright trolls can be a draining experience. On the one hand there are those who are arrogant about their offending (and that’s their prerogative) but it’s the innocent parties that make things so difficult. For at least seven years TorrentFreak has been receiving sometimes heartbreaking emails from people who just don’t know where to turn. Most received aggressive cash demands to make supposed lawsuits go away and some were threatened with the loss of their homes if they didn’t pay up. These are multi-million dollar corporations bullying the little man simply because they can, and it’s a horrible thing to behold. This week, in what can only be described as a massive effort by the Australian press, dozens of outlets informed us that U.S.-based Voltage Pictures had won its case against ISPs including iiNet. This means that close to 5,000 Aussies will shortly receive letters demanding cash settlements and all the misery they entail. Many publications did note a positive, however. In a move designed to limit Voltage’s ability to abuse the vulnerable, Justice Perram stated the following: “Having regard to the likely identity of many account holders and their potential vulnerability to what may appear to be abusive practices I propose to impose conditions on [Voltage Pictures] that will prevent speculative invoicing,†he wrote. This means that Voltage will be required to send a draft of the letter it intends to send to alleged downloaders for the Judge to approve. Sadly, no matter how well intentioned, this ‘safeguard’ will likely do absolutely nothing to change the outcome or business model of this notorious copyright troll. As pointed out by Justice Perram in his ruling, the same approach was ordered in Golden Eye (International) Ltd v Telefonica UK Ltd [2012], another trolling case in the UK. Judicial oversight in that case stopped Golden Eye from citing any precise monetary claim whatsoever in their initial letter, thus removing their ‘invoicing’ value. While great in theory, no subsequent correspondence was monitored by the court and the topic of money was raised immediately after the court turned its back. The same thing also happened in the recent case involving a company called Mircom. As required, no money was claimed in the initial letter but as soon as people wrote back, all protestations of innocence were ignored and cash demands were forthcoming alongside threats of financial ruin. Make no mistake, the Speculative Invoice WILL come to Australia. Justice Perram (for all his good intentions) has just delayed it by one envelope, at most. It’s possible he will read this piece and decide to do more, but it’s unlikely. So, presuming no further protection will be forthcoming from the Federal Court, the responsibility for looking after the interests of the innocent – and there will be plenty of them – will fall into the laps of the only people with the power to bring this under control – the ladies and gentlemen of the media. Aussie publications large and small need to step up to the mark, listen to the people being targeted and tell their stories. Sure, some will have brought this on themselves, but there will be others – such as account holders identified as infringers merely by virtue of them paying the Internet bill – who will have done absolutely nothing wrong. They deserve a voice. It’s also worth noting that Voltage has indicated awareness over potential negative media coverage but take those comments with two large pinches of salt. This company knows exactly what it’s doing and in the United States they have had a very easy ride, no matter who they sued. That easy ride has only encouraged them to expand elsewhere, including Europe, Australia and more recently, Singapore. That said, Voltage are not immune from criticism. Their claims – that they will not target the one time downloader, those on welfare, the disabled, or those in the military – should be closely monitored, and when they wrongfully pressure innocent account holders to give up the identities of those around them so that they can be pursued too, the public should hear about these tactics. Their inevitable demands for many hundreds, possibly several thousands of dollars from regular citizens based on mere allegations that have never been taken to a fully contested trial, should be publicized too. But the people can’t do this alone, they need the assistance of an inquisitive and persistent media determined to monitor Voltage’s behavior every step of the way. It won’t be pretty and there will be plenty of misdirection, but allow this company free reign in Australia and they will be only the first of many trolls to land Down Under. There’s no question that copyright holders should have the ability to protect their content, but trolling is a business that only thrives because of its success in intimidating the weak and vulnerable. Any company engaged in these practices that claims otherwise is taking us all for fools, and should be held to account – publicly and in print.
  4. A new report released by Tru Optik shows that there are hundreds of millions of active BitTorrent users who together shared 18 billion files last year. The data is being used to show media companies the scale of the "unmonetized" demand for their products while offering a tool to target pirates with the right offerings. When major movie and TV companies discuss piracy they often mention the massive losses incurred as a result of unauthorized downloads and streams. However, this unofficial market also offers a valuable pool of publicly available data on the media consumption habits of a relatively young generation. Many believe that piracy is in part a market signal showing rightsholders what consumers want. This makes piracy statistics key business intelligence, which many large companies already actively use. Netflix Vice President of Content Acquisition Kelly Merryman, for example, previously said that their offering is partly based on what shows do well on BitTorrent networks and other pirate sites. One of the companies very active on the business intelligence side is Tru Optik. Unlike other monitoring outfits the company does not collect info on torrent users for legal campaigns or other enforcement purposes. “[Tracking users for lawsuits] is a worthless business model and we feel there is more value in helping content owners better understand consumers so they can monetize their attention than suing them,†Tru Optik CEO Andre Swanston tells TF. After tracking BitTorrent downloads for several years, today the company released a partial summary of the 2014 piracy landscape. According to its statistics torrent users shared 18 billion files last year, with movies and TV-shows accounting for half of them. The results offer insight into what’s popular on BitTorrent and where downloaders are based. Game of Thrones is listed as the most downloaded TV-show, for example, and Minecraft tops the gaming list. The United States harbors the most pirates according to the data, followed by Brazil and the UK. Tru Optik is using this pirate consumption data to help media companies make better business decisions. Piracy signals demand for a product and this data can be used to optimize legal offerings. “P2P users are some of the most important and influential consumers in the world. P2P consumption is also the best leading indicator of demand for media. If no one torrents your content that means pretty much it’s irrelevant to consumers between age 18 and 40,†Swanston says. “At the end of the day young P2P users trend more educated, more affluent, more likely to have a child and spend far more of their disposable income on media and entertainment than non P2P users,†he adds. The gathered data also allows the company to direct tailored ads at P2P users based on their IP-addresses. Hypothetically, this means that a Game of Thrones downloader can be targeted with an ad for a discounted HBO subscription the week before a new season starts. This positive approach is working well, according to the company. Swanston says that several of the top studios are already on board with the program, and no client has ever asked about enforcement options. “Several of the world’s top producers of original television and movie content have already started using our audience insight and measurement to drive strategic decisions on millennial facing content production, international licensing of content and evaluating new ways to distribute their content,†Swanston notes. Tru Optik believes that their approach is much more effective than traditional cookie and social media-based methods. Data comes from real people and allows the company to analyze interest across various titles and content categories. While not mentioned in the report, there are also downsides to the approach. An IP-address says very little about a person’s age, gender and other demographic variables, for example. On top of that, IP-addresses can be shared with multiple people, and single users can have multiple IPs. In total there were 970 million unique IP-addresses identified in 2014. However, it is likely that the number of downloaders is lower. In Australia there were more than 30 million torrenting IP-addresses, which is more than the country’s entire population. That said, the relative popularity of content in various countries and various intercorrelations can prove to be an important marketing tool for media companies. They can cater better to the “pirate†audience and convert people to paying customers. That could very well be a win-win for all involved. According to Swanston, it’s a must. “Any millennial focused media company, agency or brand that isn’t preparing for a massive shift to OTT and utilizing P2P audience insight in 2015 risks being left behind by their competitors by 2016,†he says.
  5. This week’s expanded Japanese software sales are as follows: 01./01. [3DS] Yo-kai Watch 2: Shin Uchi (Level 5) {2014.12.13} (¥4.968) – 532.724 / 1.776.895 (-57%) 02./02. [3DS] Pokemon Omega Ruby / Alpha Sapphire (Pokemon Co.) {2014.11.21} (¥4.937) – 167.534 / 2.118.015 (+10%) 03./00. [3DS] Final Fantasy Explorers (Square Enix) {2014.12.18} (¥6.264) – 161.197 / NEW 04./04. [WIU] Super Smash Bros. for Wii U # (Nintendo) {2014.12.06} (¥7.776) – 78.927 / 385.460 (+0%) 05./06. [3DS] Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (Nintendo) {2014.09.13} (¥5.616) – 74.226 / 1.910.078 (+57%) 06./00. [PS3] Gundam Breaker 2 (Bandai Namco Games) {2014.12.18} (¥8.208) – 66.532 / NEW 07./00. [PSV] Gundam Breaker 2 (Bandai Namco Games) {2014.12.18} (¥7.171) – 57.188 / NEW 08./07. [3DS] Yo-kai Watch 2: Ganso / Honke (Level 5) {2014.07.10} (¥4.937) – 39.223 / 2.997.335 (+22%) 09./08. [3DS] Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate # (Capcom) {2014.10.11} (¥6.264) – 38.681 / 2.293.954 (+31%) 10./09. [WIU] Mario Kart 8 # (Nintendo) {2014.05.29} (¥6.156) – 34.331 / 813.139 (+38%) 11./00. [PSV] Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 3: V Century # (Compile Heart) {2014.12.18} (¥6.264) – 26.313 / NEW 12./00. [3DS] 12-Sai. Honto no Kimochi (Happinet) {2014.12.18} (¥5.480) – 23.026 / NEW 13./13. [WIU] Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Nintendo) {2014.11.13} (¥3.996) – 20.376 / 100.886 (+39%) 14./03. [PS4] Grand Theft Auto V # (Take-Two Interactive Japan) {2014.12.11} (¥7.992) – 20.130 / 101.789 (-75%) 15./16. [3DS] Sumikko Gurashi: Koko ga Ochitsukundesu (Nippon Columbia) {2014.11.20} (¥5.184) – 19.848 / 55.901 (+62%) 16./00. [PS3] Godzilla (Bandai Namco Games) {2014.12.18} (¥8.208) – 19.777 / NEW 17./12. [3DS] Aikatsu! 365-Hi no Idol Days (Bandai Namco Games) {2014.12.04} (¥5.627) – 19.064 / 68.238 (+19%) 18./19. [3DS] Animal Crossing: New Leaf # (Nintendo) {2012.11.08} (¥4.800) – 17.190 / 3.847.566 (+73%) 19./05. [PS3] Shining Resonance # (Sega) {2014.12.11} (¥8.880) – 16.384 / 83.667 (-76%) 20./15. [3DS] Attack on Titan: The Last Wings of Mankind – Chain (Spike Chunsoft) {2014.12.04} (¥5.378) – 12.377 / 44.100 (-2%) 21./23. [3DS] Mario Kart 7 (Nintendo) {2011.12.01} (¥4.800) 22./25. [3DS] Gotouchi Tetsudou: Gotouchi Chara to Nihon Zenkoku no Tabi (Bandai Namco Games) {2014.11.27} (¥5.626) 23./30. [3DS] Kirby Triple Deluxe (Nintendo) {2014.01.11} (¥4.800) 24./27. [3DS] Yoshi’s New Island (Nintendo) {2014.07.24} (¥4.936) 25./33. [3DS] Tomodachi Life # (Nintendo) {2013.04.18} (¥4.800) 26./11. [3DS] Derby Stallion Gold (Kadokawa Games) {2014.12.04} (¥6.264) 27./35. [WIU] Taiko no Tatsujin: Tokumori! # (Bandai Namco Games) {2014.11.20} (¥5.627) 28./38. [3DS] Mario Party: Island Tour (Nintendo) {2014.03.20} (¥4.800) 29./44. [3DS] New Super Mario Bros. 2 # (Nintendo) {2012.07.28} (¥4.800) 30./36. [3DS] One Piece: Super Grand Battle! X (Bandai Namco Games) {2014.11.13} (¥6.145) 31./42. [3DS] Taiko no Tatsujin: Don to Katsu no Jikuu Daibouken (Bandai Namco Games) {2014.06.26} (¥5.119) 32./43. [WIU] Super Mario 3D World (Nintendo) {2013.11.21} (¥5.985) 33./18. [PSV] Phantasy Star Nova (Sega) {2014.11.27} (¥6.458) 34./24. [PS3] World Soccer Winning Eleven 2015 (Konami) {2014.11.13} (¥8.208) 35./20. [PS3] Resident Evil HD Remaster # (Capcom) {2014.11.27} (¥4.309) 36./45. [3DS] Hoppechan: Minna de Odekake! Waku Waku Hoppe Land!! (Nippon Columbia) {2014.07.17} (¥5.184) 37./00. [3DS] Super Mario 3D Land # (Nintendo) {2011.11.03} (¥4.800) 38./00. [3DS] Sega 3D Reprint Archives: Space Harrier/Fantasy Zone/OutRun/Streets of Rage/Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master/Ecco the Dolphin (Sega) {2014.12.18} (¥4.298) 39./48. [3DS] Dragon Ball Heroes: Ultimate Mission 2 (Bandai Namco Games) {2014.08.07} (¥6.145) 40./00. [PS3] Gundam Breaker 2: Best Takeout Pack (Bandai Namco Games) {2014.12.18} (¥12.744) 41./49. [3DS] Pokemon Art Academy (Nintendo) {2014.06.19} (¥3.908) 42./21. [PS3] Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Dubbed Edition (Square Enix) {2014.12.04} (¥8.424) 43./29. [3DS] Samurai Warriors: Chronicles 3 # (Koei Tecmo) {2014.12.04} (¥6.264) 44./00. [3DS] Style Savvy: Trendsetters – Tokimeki Up! (Nintendo) {2014.04.17} (¥4.936) 45./10. [PS3] Assassin’s Creed: Rogue (Ubisoft) {2014.12.11} (¥7.992) 46./46. [3DS] Yo-kai Watch (Level 5) {2013.07.11} (¥4.800) 47./14. [PS3] Nobunaga’s Ambition: Creation with Power-Up Kit # (Koei Tecmo) {2014.12.11} (¥10.584) 48./00. [3DS] Dolly Kanon Doki Doki Tokimeki Himitsu no Ongaku Katsudou Start Desu!! (Happinet) {2014.11.20} (¥5.480) 49./00. [PS3] Grand Theft Auto V [bargain Edition] (Rockstar Games) {2014.06.26} (¥5.389) 50./00. [3DS] Cooking Mama: Watashi no Sweets Shop (Office Create) {2014.11.06} (¥4.968)
  6. TorrentFreak has learned that several porn companies have teamed up to target alleged file-sharers in the UK. ISP Virgin Media has been ordered by the High Court to hand over the personal details of around 800 subscribers. Lawfirm Wagner & Co, which handled previous cases for copyright troll GoldenEye, is handling the case. It’s been more than seven years since so-called copyright trolls first tried their luck with the British public. UK lawfirm Davenport Lyons, a company that attempted to mislead future targets with a semi-bogus high-profile damages ‘ruling’, went into administration early 2014 but not before its partners were disciplined for targeting innocent people. The follow-up debacle involving ACS:Law was widely documented, with owner Andrew Crossley being forced to close down his business after being suspended by the Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority for misconduct. After misleading the courts, bankruptcy was just the icing on the cake. None of this was a deterrent to porn outfit GoldenEye International. They embarked on a similar scheme, sending letters to alleged file-sharers and demanding hundreds of pounds in settlements to make supposed lawsuits go away. However, GoldenEye learned from its predecessors by proceeding with caution and staying largely under the radar. But quite predictably and despite legal bluster and empty threats, the company took not a single case to court. So today, quite possibly due to the tendency of the public to pay up rather than become linked with embarrassing porn movie titles, the porn trolls are back once again in the UK. TorrentFreak has learned that last year four porn producers teamed up in an effort to force ISP Virgin Media to hand over the names and addresses of more than 1,500 subscribers said to have downloaded and shared adult content without permission. The companies, none of which appear to be based in the UK, teamed up with Wagner & Co, the London lawfirm also working with GoldenEye. They are Mircom International Content Management & Consulting Ltd, Sunlust Pictures, Combat Zone Corporation and Pink Bonnet, Consultores de Imagem LDA. Mircom International Content Management & Consulting Ltd are active in Europe, particularly when it comes to demanding cash settlements from alleged file-sharers in Germany. Sunlust Pictures is an adult movie company founded in 2009 by former porn actress Sunny Leone, who – entirely unsurprisingly – has featured in copyright trolling cases in the United States. Combat Zone Corporation is an adult movie company based in California. They’re no strangers to the cash settlement model either. TorrentFreak contacted Mark Wagner at Wagner & Co to find out what his clients hope to achieve in the UK, but unfortunately our emails went unanswered. The company doesn’t appear to have a working website and its address relates to a house in residential area. Fortunately, Virgin Media were rather more accommodating. In the past the ISP has been criticized for not doing more to protect its subscribers’ personal details but it turns out the battle with Wagner & Co has been going on for some time. “We have contested the validity of Wagner & Co’s claims (ongoing for 12 months), asking the Judge to thoroughly review the application and the supporting evidence. We have challenged the reliability of the software used to obtain evidence of infringement (FileWatchBT) and the accuracy of the data collected,†spokesperson Emma Hutchinson told TF. But despite Virgin Media’s efforts the High Court took the decision to side with Wagner & Co and order the ISP to hand over the details of its subscribers. While the situation is pretty grim, things could have been worse. “The original request was for double the number of addresses than we have been forced to disclose, now fewer than 800,†Virgin explain. “We advise any of our customers who receive a speculative letter from Wagner & Co, who also represented Golden Eye International in action against O2 customers last year, to seek independent advice from organizations such as Citizens Advice,†the ISP concludes. Restrictions placed on GoldenEye in previous procedures indicate that initial letters sent to Virgin customers by Wagner & Co and its clients will not be as aggressive as the ones sent out by ACS:Law and will not contain a precise settlement amount. However, it is guaranteed that cash will be requested at some point. Upon receipt of these “speculative invoices†there will be those who panic and pay up, and that’s their prerogative. But it’s highly likely that those who admit nothing and stand firm will pay what they’ve always paid in UK cases – absolutely nothing. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  7. Since his hectic election campaign came to a close last month, Kim Dotcom hasn't given a single interview. On TorrentFreak today he breaks his silence, opening up on his fight with two governments, his departure from Baboom, and what he views as almost "religious extremism" employed by the labels and Hollywood to destroy him. When it comes to the online space, Kim Dotcom is undoubtedly one of the most polarizing personalities around. From Megaupload to Mega to his fledgling music service Baboom, everything touched by the man has been bathed in publicity and heated opinion. It is this ability to attract attention that undoubtedly played a key role in his creation of the Internet Party, a political movement with a stated aim to shake up New Zealand politics and put Dotcom-affiliated politicians in Parliament. Last month, however, the elections failed to go as planned. The Internet Partyconceded defeat without winning a single seat, with its founder honoring tradition by politely congratulating Prime Minister and arch-rival John Key on his success. After endless appearances and endless daily tweets, Dotcom essentially disappeared from public life, only breaking his silence to comment on the video game Destiny and his exit from Baboom. Today we catch up with the controversial entrepreneur to find out what happened. “Baboom is this great idea of unchaining the artists from major record labels, allowing them to deal directly with their fanbase and using groundbreaking new ways of monetization that pay artists even when fans access content for free,†Dotcom told TF. “But Baboom is facing tough opposition from the labels. Baboom has had to deal with unfair and deliberate efforts to make us fail. I won’t go into details.†Dotcom says that for the sake of the artists he wants Baboom to succeed. But, in order for that to happen, a sacrifice needed to be made. “The best way to achieve that success was to take me out of Baboom completely. We have a great management team and some brave investors in place. The brand ‘Kim Dotcom’ is toxic and a major distractor to what Baboom is trying to achieve,†he concedes. While sometimes problematic, Dotcom’s branding is clearly a double-edged sword, one only needs to look at the 2012 launch of to see that. On the tiniest of budgets, Dotcom managed to rally the world’s press to witness the launch of his new cloud-storage site. And without him it’s doubtful that Baboom would’ve achieved the profile it has today. But while those same strengths allowed the Internet Party to became a news event every day leading up to the election, Dotcom’s profile and history – by his own admission – became a millstone around the party’s neck. Every aspect of his private life became a point of leverage for his political opposition. “The Internet Party failed to deliver meaningful change in New Zealand at the last election because of the media spin by our opponents,†Dotcom says. “They have successfully turned me into a villain, a German Nazi, a horrible employer, a political hacker, a practitioner of prohibited digital voodoo magic and nothing short of a monster. I would hate that guy too if I didn’t know that it wasn’t true.†Dotcom says that part of the problem is that he has powerful enemies who in turn have friends in positions of influence, including in the press. “When you have the US Government, the NZ Government, all Hollywood studios and all major record labels fighting against you, you don’t have a lot of friends, especially in the media,†Dotcom says. “They either own the media (like in the US) or control the media with their significant advertising spending. Their passion to destroy me and everything I do, because of a copyright disagreement, is almost as fanatical as some of the religious extremism I see on TV.†So with the election over, and maybe even Dotcom’s entire political career with it, the entrepreneur still has huge adversity to overcome. As he cuts Baboom free and wishes the company every success, Dotcom thoughts and energies turn to his pending extradition case. He knows it’s not going to be easy, especially given the mauling he received at the hands of New Zealand’s political heavyweights in the run up to the election. “If I was a judge in New Zealand I wouldn’t think too highly of ‘Kim Dotcom’ after months of prime time media bashing by the Prime Minister personally and his media helpers,†Dotcom says. “John Key constantly made the Internet Party and its goals for Internet Freedom about my extradition case and he accused me of attempting to subvert the New Zealand judiciary. He basically told the judiciary every day that I’m a selfish, criminal man who ‘has to go away’.†While Dotcom insists his motives were altruistic, there can be little doubt that if the election had gone his way the words of John Key and friends might have meant just that little bit less. As it stands, things went pretty badly. The details of that extradition fight will become clear during the months to come, but in closing Dotcom shared with us an interesting development. “After 1000 days of waiting we finally got access to our own data (copies of our personal computers / hard drives). Remember, the Government made us wait this long for a single reason only: They demanded access to our encryption codes,†he says. “But here’s the twist: It turns out that the Government had access to the encryption codes all along. Who would have thought that they didn’t install a trojan on my computer while they had the GCSB / NSA spying on me.†Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing is currently scheduled to take place in February 2015. Expect the media circus to get going again soon.