With the help of Facebook and Twitter, word is getting around quickly that MegaUpload is not totally inaccessible; what appears to be a (very) limited version of the site can still be accessed using an IP address. The broken English in the message suggests that the site is less legit than MegaUpload (was), but even the basic details of the site's legal troubles continue to get murkier and murkier. Not only did we learn on Friday that the site's founder, Kim Dotcom (née Kim Schmitz), actually hid in a panic room as police stormed his house in New Zealand. Gawker's Maureen O'Connor wondered on Twitter,"So this MegaUpload guy is actually a character from an allegorical cartoon about the sins of greed and vanity, right?"
Indeed, the story of Mr. Dotcom and MegaUpload's mysterious leadership only gets weirder. The Wall Street Journal's Ethan Smith explained in a Friday afternoon blog post that the company's alleged CEO, "hip-hop super-producer" Swizz Beatz (aka, Kasseem Dean), wasn't actually the company's CEO, necessarily. It's complicated:
At the time the cyberlocker site was shut down and its "about us" page did list Dean/Beatz as its CEO. But whether or not he actually held a title or played an active role at the company, the Feds apparently didn’t believe he was among the site’s principals. The indictment released Thursday claimed to identify all of Megaupload’s owners -- led by the curiously named Kim Dotcom -- and Swizz Beatz wasn’t one of them. Nor was he one of the seven people arrested.
Further confusing matters, no one affiliated with Swizz Beatz has confirmed that any relationship with Megaupload actually exists. Reached Thursday, one of his agents said he wasn’t sure whether the claim was true and suggested contacting Dean’s record company. The agent was unwilling to share the name of any lawyer or manager for the musician.
So in the burgeoning saga of MegaUpload and the Department of Justice crackdown on copyright infringement, we're left with a maybe fake shell site, a definitely insanely interesting founder and a hip-hop super-producer who possibly cut a deal to distance himself from the company. (Extra emphasis on possibly.) We can't wait to see how this story is going to end. But unlike the debate over the anti-piracy laws in the House and the Senate that had been surging forward at an alarming rate until this week, we're also sort of afraid that it never will…
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.