Kim Dotcom has become such a familiar part of New Zealand’s media and cultural furniture that it is easy to forget the jaw-dropping astonishment of the dawn raid on 20 January 2012, when 76 officers swarmed upon the German internet mogul’s mansion north of Auckland, bounding from helicopters, armed to the teeth.
In the definitive filmed account of the saga to date, Annie Goldson (Brother Number One) delivers a jolting reminder of the legal, political and personal upheavals ignited by the US government attempt to extradite Dotcom and colleagues for copyright-related offences. It begins with the formative years: convicted hacker turns security consultant turns file-sharing entrepreneur. The flamboyant career trajectory ultimately attracts the attention of Hollywood bosses bent not just upon disabling Megaupload, a website awash with pirated content, but sending a resounding message to those who might seek to emulate his business, wherever in the world they reside.
A freshly compelling chronicle of the Dotcom years, Caught in the Web corals a range of voices, among them journalists David Fisher and Glenn Greenwald, Motion Picture Association of America counsel Steve Fabrizio, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, musician Moby and Dotcom himself.
‘This whole thing is like a Hollywood movie,’ says Dotcom. But in documenting the drama – court tussles, scraps with John Key, the Internet Party, the ‘Moment of Truth’ – Goldson resists any temptation to extol or excoriate, while underscoring, beyond the political circus and braggadocio, just how pivotal this case is in the internet age. — Toby Manhire