Writers fundraising, Kim Dotcom, and Bond villains

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom appeared at a New Zealand writers’ fundraising event this week, debating whether the internet has killed the ‘copyright star’.

Dotcom is currently fighting extradition to the US on copyright charges. Last year he referred to himself as a real-life Bond villain in a ‘real-life political copyright thriller’, which I suppose is why he was asked, during the debate, whether he owned a white cat.

Printed books, Dotcom is reported to have said, were being crushed by the internet. And in that, he’s probably right, though I think it’s over-simplifying to think of it as substitution.

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I wasn’t there, but wish I had been. It was all a good cause. The debate – apparently, an excuse for some good-hearted fun – was held to raise money for the Michael King Writers’ Centre. It’s a house set up in Auckland for writers to work from, in memorial to King – one of New Zealand’s best known writers and historians – who died in a motor accident in 2004.

King and myself remain the only New Zealand historians, working outside the academy or public sector, to have written a general history of New Zealand.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013