I love the "It's just file storage/storage locker" arguments/analogies, which always ignore the fact that MegaUpload's affiliate program paid uploaders when what they uploaded was downloaded. That was MU's business model, NOT providing storage space for you to upload the mad-beats for the track you're laying down, and so your partner 1000 miles a way could download, add their part, then re-upload back to you, etc. That's the 'front' to the operation...
So, if your storage space company provided drug dealers a place to store their stash, AND a way to re-sell that stash, AND laundered the money from those sales, AND tried to provide you with plausible deniability for your activities, then you'd have a honest analogy for MegaUpload.
Trying to say that MegaUpload and a Storage Locker company are the same is like trying to say the Sun and a grain of sand are the same, because both happen to be round.
"Oh come on. We put that system in place so that artists could get paid for uploading their tracks and releasing them for free to the community. If you uploaded your own music to mega, and 1,000,000 of your fans downloaded it, then we would share some of the advertising revenue with you.
It's a cooperative business model that helps struggling artists. Need I remind you again that we worked with recording companies to remove copyrighted content?"
But I'm tired of hearing about this guy's lifestyle or his character.
That's not the really interesting issue here. The issue is technology. Some people undertand it, some don't. Dotcom says as a youth he took the time to undersatnd X.25 and PBX's. Yet the companies using these systems did not. Regardless of his character, it's everyone else's failure to take the same sort of interest in understanding technology, yet at the same time using it _and_ placing an enormous amount of trust in it, that leads to problems.
Hollywood wouldn't be in quite the same mess they're in if they aggressively pursued understanding competitive technology down to the last detail. And why couldn't they? It's going to eat them alive and they know it. By becoming the "experts", they could stay one step ahead of competitors. They might end up competing with themselves (the old technology), but that's inevitable anyway. Technoloy is going to transition. No one can stop this. If the entertainment industry made the effort to know internet technology the best, no one could out maneuver them.
All Dotcom's riches are riches that would normally belong to Hollywood execs. Why are the riches moving to nerds (many of dubious character)? Because they are moving to the new technology. In a sense, money doesn't care who the recipient is. It generally moves to the technology, not the person. Whoever understands the tech the best has the best shot at getting the money.
The issue here really isn't some nerd like Dotcom, or his life story, it's the transition of technology and the refusal of some who have deeply vested interests in what this technology can do (distribute entertainment), to make the effort to understand it.
The spy agency in NZ dismissed the gentleman who was in charge of tapping Dotcom's communications. The news tried interviewing him and he refused to talk to them. I'm guessing here bu I doubt he ever wanted to get involved in this mess. Do we need covert intelliegnce to discover copyright infringement? People are downloading free movies! Red alert! His dismissal seems totally unnecessary. This whole incident should never have happened.
Forget about Dotcom. It's time for the entertainment industry to come to terms with the internet. It's early yet. They have as good a shot as anyone to profit. Maybe this case will finally get the message to Hollywood execs that their defensive strategies are not working. They are not fighting people (like Dotcom) they are fighting technology. They need to start thinking like entrepreneurs.
That's the core problem they have; most of the organizations don't have any.
I tend to think that entrepreneurs are builders of machines made out of people. You create roles and cogs to turn A into B, B into C, then C is sold by D. An entire system with it's own level of fault tolerance built in. These types of organizations are not meant to innovate.
(There are organizations that do innovate, but they are the exception and not the rule)
These are probably the Guns Table Lamp by Phillipe Starck (for Flos), but it's certainly possible that he just chromed some actual AK-47s and had them turned into lamps.
Actually at $1400, you certainly could just get someone to do it custom with an actual AK, provided you live in a country without an assault weapons ban.