In the Wild, Wild West-era of digital media, there is no cowboy quite like Kim Dotcom. Part Sean Parker, part Kevin Mitnick, with a whiff of Notorious B.I.G., Dotcom embodies the most savage age of online piracy, having made a fortune on the edges of Internet freedom.
Dotcom, the megamind behind Megaupload, was arrested yesterday in New Zealand, his panic-room door busted down by officials, who found the hacker clinging to a sawed-off shotgun. Dotcom faces up to 55 years in prison if extradited to the U.S. and convicted on charges of racketeering, copyright infringement, and money laundering. The hacker-turned-multimillionaire businessman has been accused of costing the entertainment industry $500 million through pirated content uploaded to his popular file-sharing site, which boasted 180 million registered users and celebrity endorsements from Kanye West to Kim Kardashian. [read]