One of the surprise films for me this year at SXSW was Kim Dotcom: Caught In The Web.
The documentary chronicles the rise of hacker turned internet mogul and notorious copyright target Kim Dotcom who is currently fighting extradition attempts from the United States for creating the insanely popular internet cloud storage service called Megaupload. And I mean, who didn’t use Megaupload in it’s hayday? I did and in to this day, most of us still do. Ever use WeTransfer or services like Rapidgator or Nitroflare…you’re using technology that Kim Dotcom pretty much championed and invented.
The film strikes a nerve for defenders of internet freedoms who believe that the government has no place spying on our privacy. If you’re one of the defenders of internet freedom, like me, who believe that the work of Julian Asange and Edward Snowden is hugely important in the ever-changing landscape of innovative progression, you’ll find yourself completely captivated with exclusive access that director Annie Goldson was given to create this documentary.
The somewhat misunderstood Kim Dotcom was one of the first internet moguls whose work, back then, teetered on the cusp of right vs. wrong. Like Napster, Megaupload made millions from creating cloud-based file sharing services in which users could exchange digital files of whatever they wanted with a simple click of link. Copyright infringement? Eh, depends on who you ask and grant it, most of us used Megaupload to send music and movies to each other. This concept isn’t anything new in this day and age, but back in 2005, this was considered “the shit” in terms of being savvy.
Why is it good? Kim Dotcom: Caught In The Web not only tells the provocative story of the international legal targeting of the internet mogul by the United States, but it also looks into the psyche of man who simply had a dream, put his talents to use to achieve that dream, ultimately succeeded, then fell from grace. Perhaps Kim’s only crime was flaunting his success to the entertainment industry who, in my humble opinion, couldn’t keep up with the changing times, couldn’t be flexible to new business modules, nor could stand the fact that somebody who is way more smarter than them disrupted their business and took their piece of the pie.
The music industry is still being dumbfounded by changing technology today and continues to allow services like Spotify and Apple Music to rule the roost. But try as they did to make Kim Dotcom a target for their incompetence, the music industry never really won the war on modern technology versus music distribution and has had to eventually adapt to the changing times. Nowadays, money is made from brand partnerships and deals and that all-important record deal, which was once the holy grail of success in the music industry, no longer really matters. Put your music online for people to hear and your fanbase will grow and the more fans you have, the more money you’ll make. This was something I think Kim Dotcom knew back then and believed in.
Kim Dotcom: Caught In The Web is kind of a sad story too. You’ll witness the breakup of his marriage, his failed attempt at being a musician himself and failing to become a viable political voice, but what you will see is the story of a man who was willing to risk it all and quite publicly took on disgraceful humiliation based on the shortcomings of others. I honestly believe that hackers and disrupters like Kim Dotcom and Edward Snowden should be celebrated and given the keys to the ivory towers these days. I don’t understand why the US government is afraid of hackers and in general, people that are smarter than they are. The hackers and the nerds of the world can really help the world become a better place, promote new ways of creating commerce and ultimately help the economic development of the world. Sure there are some hackers that will use their talents for evil and they should be twarted, but people like Kim Dotcom clearly aren’t the enemy here. Everyone is just jealous because he made some serious money from an industry that never really cared about it’s customers to begin with.
Kim Dotcom: Caught In The Web will be released soon now that it’s premiered at SXSW. You might have to search a bit to find where it’s playing, but I highly suggest you see this important piece of filmmaking – it will make you think and force you to choose which side of internet history you belong on.