Kim Schmitz. Billionaire, Computer Programmer, Businessman, Call of Duty Champion, Racing Driver and now prisoner.
Schmitz is the founder of the now FBI seized, Megaupload website. The website started in 2005 and quickly became the 13th most popular site on the internet. It hosted and payed uploaders for film and television material. This was free to watch by whole world, the only caveat being if you wanted to watch more than 72 minutes, a premium payed for account was required. It was estimated that at the height of his success, Schmitz made on average $118,000 per day from Megaupload alone.
Users who uploaded content to the site were paid well too. A Vietnamese man was paid $55,000 for uploading a Italian television series and some Vietnamese films. The site had over 150 employees, working to keep the 50 million daily users happy. It is estimated that at it’s peak, Megaupload accounted for 4% of all internet traffic globally.
Known for his decadent lifestyle, which included a lavish collection of sports cars, yachts, and mansions, there’s a virtual prize Schmitz also greatly treasured, of which most are unaware. And which he also recently lost. Schmitz was, up until a few days ago, the top ranked player of “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3″ in the world, at least among Xbox 360 players; As MEGARACER, yet another alias of his, on Xbox Live.
As much hard work, skill, and dedication as it takes to claim such a coveted spot, it requires just as much to keep it secure. Which, unfortunately for Schmitz, is not quite possible when you’re spending time in a New Zealand prison cell. During the week in which he wasn’t been able to log into Live (and he may not again for a very long time), MEGARACER was overtaken by another player who goes by the handle Arazos.
Schmitz and the site’s founders have been charged with violating piracy laws. Federal prosecutors have accused it of costing copyright holders more than $500m (£320m) in lost revenue. The firm says it was diligent in responding to complaints about pirated material. Almost immediately after Megaupload was shut down, the hacker group Anonymous responded by crashing the websites of the FBI, MPAA, RIAA and Universal Music Group.
Schmitz is certainly an interesting character both in business and privately. His case is one that will be watched with interest, and will set a precedent for all internet piracy.
Is he a James Bondesque villain? Well Schmitz owned a Rolls Royce Phantom with a license plate that read “GOD”. Some of the plates on his other cars included: GUILTY, STONED, GOOD, CEO, MAFIA and HACKER. So, yes, possibly the closest thing to a real life one…