WELLINGTON — Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom has announced plans to launch a new online music venture this year as he prepares to fight a US attempt to extradite him from New Zealand to face online piracy charges.
Dotcom's original plans for the service, called Megabox, were disrupted in January when New Zealand police arrested him after raiding his Auckland mansion as part of a major US investigation into alleged copyright theft.
The 38-year old, who is free on bail, took to Twitter this week to say that Megabox was back on the drawing board and would launch in 2012.
"Yes... Megabox is also coming this year," he told his 110,000 followers on the micro-blogging site, promising the service would be "Bigger. Better. Faster. 100 percent safe & unstoppable."
Dotcom did not reveal a specific launch date or details of how the service would work.
He told technology website torrentfreak.com last December that Megabox would allow artists keep 90 percent of earnings from their songs by letting them sell directly to consumers, bypassing record labels.
The German national is due to face a court hearing in March next year which will determine if US authorities can extradite him and three co-accused on charges of money laundering, racketeering, fraud and online copyright theft.
He faces up to 20 years jail if convicted in a US court.
Dotcom, who changed his name from Kim Schmitz, has denied the charges and tweeted as recently as Tuesday that he was not guilty.
The FBI and US Justice Department allege Megaupload sites netted more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and cost copyright owners more than $500 million by offering pirated copies of movies, TV shows and other content.