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Kim DotCom's 'Mega' goes live

The flamboyant entrepreneur's follow-up to MegaUpload, which was shuttered by U.S. authorities over piracy concerns, is now open to the public.

A year after file-storage site MegaUpload was brought down by U.S. law enforcement officials targeting piracy, flamboyant founder Kim DotCom has cut the ribbon on his new site, Mega.

"As of this minute one year ago #Megaupload was destroyed by the US Government. Welcome to," DotCom tweeted today.

Not long after, he followed up with a tweet trumpeting what he said was the site's immediate popularity: "Site is extremely busy. Currently thousands of user registrations PER MINUTE." And indeed, as of this writing the site was difficult to access at times, perhaps because of heavy traffic.

DotCom tweeted last month that he'd be staging a "press conference like no other" on January 20 (New Zealand time). It's set to take place at his multimillion-dollar mansion in that country about 13 hours from now.

And on Thursday, DotCom said Mega users would get 50GB of storage for free and that his lawyers are working on giving former MegaUpload premium users their premium statuses on the new site.

On top of the free storage, Mega -- which offers encryption and is being touted as "an awesome cloud storage service that will help protect your privacy" -- offers three pricing plans with added storage space and bandwidth.

An image from the Mega site shows the larger-than-life DotCom on the far left, along with members of the Mega team.

DotCom's earlier cyber storage locker, MegaUpload, was launched in 2005, only to be shuttered by U.S. federal agencies, which argued that it was a service pirates were using to facilitate copyright infringement. After being taken to court by U.S. officials for running an alleged "criminal enterprise," DotCom said he had "no intention" of reactivating MegaUpload, and furthermore would not establish any similar business while extradition proceedings were taking place.

The arrival of as a cloud-based storage locker may have U.S. prosecutors in a tizzy, but MegaUpload's defense team says DotCom is "entitled to innovate and work in technology like any other innocent New Zealander" until he's found to be otherwise.

One of DotCom's lawyers, Ira Rothken, told Ars Technica during a recent interview with him and DotCom that anyone who tries to take down Mega will have no legal ground to stand on.

"You have companies like Dropbox and Google with Drive with materially similar technologies," Rothken said. "and they are in business and they're thriving -- and Mega adds encryption."

An extradition hearing has been scheduled for March as American authorities continue to try to remove the entrepreneur from New Zealand, though some reports have suggested it could be pushed back to July.

CNET's Charlie Osborne contributed to this report.

Update, 11:37 a.m. PT Adds details.