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 Post subject: Government: We can freeze Mega assets even if case is dismis
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:43 pm 
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idontfeardeath wrote:
The knock on effects.

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All free file hosting sites are disabling sharing one after another. As a result, our downloads area is a mess since yesterday night. We'll need to figure out a long term solution asap. Hosting the files in-house could be an option, but it would skyrocket our hosting costs. Your feedback is appreciated.


From a football manager forum.


Yeah and now comes the real cost to ordinary legal users of services like the one MegaUpload offered. But hey, so long as Hollywood is happy nobody cares about legit web users... and SOPA was about to f**k us permanently. :hmm:

It's clearly crackpot maths that led to MegaUpload are being accused of costing Hollywood and other rights owners half a billion dollars! :rolleyes: To get a fantasy figure as high as $500m you must be adding up every file and then adding on the total cost of producing the content or something!? Per user! :blink: It's even more incredible when you think that there actually NO proven links that any of this is costing anybody any money whatsoever... it's all one big assumption.

In fact there's some evidence that the more copied a game/streamed music, tv or movies that the higher the total sales and income earned from it. It's just bum spanking for the sake of bum spanking. By the time the rights owners collective finish bribing the politicians they'll find their old industry and business models are extinct and they got left behind like so many who didn't adapt before them. EG the music biz with iTunes, Kodak in chemicals/photography, etc. there's a lot of examples where companies with a profit to protect refuse to change as the world does.

But that won't stop the paid-up politicians pretending there's a problem. Well, at least until public opinion goes against them, then they'll postpone it....

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:44 pm 
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MPAA threat sparks White House petition for bribery probe

Politicians should remember who bought them, MPAA CEO warns


By Iain Thomson • The Register 23rd January 2012



Chris Dodd, ex–US senator and current CEO of the Motion Picture Ass. of America, may face a White House investigation after he made an extraordinary outburst that appeared to threaten politicians who had the audacity to take the entertainment industry’s money and then abandon SOPA/PIPA online-piracy legislation.

“Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake," Dodd told Fox News. "Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.”

The comments caused a huge stir, and prompted a petition, hosted on the White House's "We the People" opinion-seeking site, that calls for an investigation of the MPAA on bribery charges.

Once the number of signatures on the petition reaches 25,000, the White House has to issue a statement – and as of early afternoon Washington DC time, over 19,000 signatures had been attached. It was such a petition, by the way, that prompted the White House to express its initial disapproval of SOPA.

“This is an open admission of bribery,” the petition reads, "and a threat designed to provoke a specific policy goal. This is a brazen flouting of the 'above the law' status people of Dodd's position and wealth enjoy. We demand justice. Investigate this blatant bribery and indict every person, especially government officials and lawmakers, who is involved.”

Dodd may have thought he was among friends on Rupert Murdoch’s “Fair and Balanced” Fox network, or could just have been angry at the temporary hold put on the legislation, but it’s highly unusual for anyone in his position to openly acknowledge the way the US political system works. Companies and individuals who "donate" to US lawmakers usually express the convenient fiction that their financial contributions are expressions of support for a candidate, and not attempts to bribe them on specific issues.

“It was Hollywood’s arrogance in pushing bills through Congress without proper vetting that caused them to be withdrawn; these threats also are not helpful to figuring out what ails the industry and how to solve their issues,” said Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge, which is fighting the legislation. “If the MPAA is truly concerned about the jobs of truck drivers and others in the industry, then it can bring its overseas filming back to the US and create more jobs.”

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:07 pm 
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How the entire American government and the accompanying Hollywood paymasters don't get marched straight into court for their crimes I have no idea... oh wait, they control their own corrupt legal system. :rolleyes: Outrageous crimes, worse than any file sharing site (imo) when there's comments like that from the MPAA hit squad.

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:08 pm 
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No bail for Kim Dotcom

Come back in a month


By Richard Chirgwin • The Register



Kim Dotcom has been denied bail in a New Zealand court, and remanded in custody until February 22. The reserved decision by district court judge David McNaughton has now been released.

Bail applications for his co-accused in New Zealand – Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk – will be heard later today.

Dotcom was described as a flight risk (with the police even identifying his helicopters as apparently offering a getaway) in the previous bail hearing. According to New Zealand’s National Business Review, he will remain in custody while America’s extradition application is considered.

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:51 pm 
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Feds seize $50 million in Megaupload assets, lodge new charges

By David Kravets, wired.com




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Kim Dotcom living large in happier times

The authorities said Friday they have seized $50 million in Megaupload-related assets and added additional charges in one of the United States' largest criminal copyright infringement prosecutions.

Megaupload, the popular file-sharing site, was shuttered last month and its top officials indicted by the Justice Department, just days after online protests scuttled a Congressional proposal to make changes to the internet to reduce online copyright infringement.

Seven individuals connected to the Hong Kong-based site were indicted on a variety of charges, including criminal copyright infringement and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Five of the members of what the authorities called a five-year-old "racketeering conspiracy" have been arrested in New Zealand, where they are being held pending extradition to the United States.

One of those arrested was Kim Schmitz, aka Kim Dotcom, Megaupload's high-flying founder, who has been denied bail in New Zealand. Items seized from Dotcom include a large collection of cars, a mansion, bank accounts, jet skis and jewelry.

The government said the site, which generated millions in user fees and advertising, facilitated copyright infringement of movies "often before their theatrical release, music, television programs, electronic books, and business and entertainment software on a massive scale." The government said Megaupload's "estimated harm" to copyright holders was "well in excess of $500 million."

Megaupload was on the recording and movie industries' most-hated lists, often being accused of facilitating wanton infringement of their members' copyrights. The indictment claims Megaupload induced users to upload copyrighted works for others to download, and that it often failed to comply with removal notices from rights holders under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

New charges (PDF) levied Friday allege that Megaupload falsely represented to rights holders that it had removed infringing works from its servers.

The superseding indictment in the Eastern District of Virginia also claims that Megaupload paid one of its registered users $3,400 between 2008 and 2009 for uploading 16,960 files that generated 34 million views. The files included motion pictures Ocean's Thirteen, Ratatouille and Evan Almighty, the government said.

The government, meanwhile, also said Friday that, despite claims of having 180 million registered users, the site had 66.6 million. The authorities said that 5.86 million of these registered users uploaded files, "demonstrating that more than 90 percent of their registered users only used the defendant's system to download."

Still, anyone who used Megaupload as a way to share and store legitimate files is now likely never going to be able to get them back.

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 Post subject: Re: Kiwis collar Megaupload kingpin, Anonymous exacts revenge
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:50 am 
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Feds Move to Extradite Megaupload Founder Kim Dotcom

By David Kravets - Wired.com


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The U.S. officially moved to extradite Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom from New Zealand, where he was arrested in January on criminal copyright charges. Photo: Handout

Federal authorities have moved to extradite Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, who was arrested in New Zealand in January in connection with what authorities called one of the largest criminal copyright infringement cases ever.

The New Zealand Herald said Monday that the paperwork, which the Justice Department declined to make available to Wired, was filed with North Shore District Court.

The U.S. government wants New Zealand to extradite Dotcom and Megaupload associates Mathias Ortmann, Bran van der Kolk and Finn Batato.

Among other things, the government is demanding New Zealand authorities send the four, whom remain free on bail, to the United States to face trial on racketeering, money laundering, copyright infringement and other charges.

The United States claims Megaupload facilitated copyright infringement of movies, music, television programs, electronic books, and business and entertainment software on “a massive scale.” The government said Megaupload’s “estimated harm” to copyright holders was “well in excess of $500 million.”

A hearing in New Zealand — which has an extradition treaty with the U.S. — won’t likely be held until August.

David Kravets is a senior staff writer for Wired.com and founder of the fake news site TheYellowDailyNews.com.

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 Post subject: Re: Feds Move to Extradite Megaupload Founder Kim Dotcom
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:04 am 
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Kim Dotcom seizures "null and void"

Kiwi cops got it wrong, says High Court


By Richard Chirgwin • The Register


In an astonishing blunder, New Zealand’s Crown Law Office and its police commissioner have admitted to a ‘procedural error’ when they seized cash, cars and other property from Megaupload chief Kim Dotcom.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Justice Judith Potter of the High Court has declared the first restraining order under which the seizures were made to be "null and void" and having "no legal effect".

The slip-up happened when the police applied for the seizure of Megaupload assets during January, and was discovered within the week, with police making a revised application on January 30. However, the approach taken by NZ Police and the Crown Law Office had denied Dotcom a chance to mount a defense, the judge said.

The blog Talkleft has noted that the mistake was made despite NZ Police boasting that a team of five from the OFCANZ (New Zealand’s organized crime agency) had worked on the case, up to and including the seizures, hand-in-hand with the FBI.

Radio New Zealand reports that during the next week, Justice Potter will hold another hearing to decide whether or not the assets should be returned.

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 Post subject: Re: Feds Move to Extradite Megaupload Founder Kim Dotcom
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:09 am 
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So first he's out on bail, and now it looks like he'll get all his stuff back! :snigger:

Way to go, and that was with the combined brain power of the NZ police and the FBI. :doh:

And isn't copyright infringement supposed to be a civil rather than a criminal law matter anyway..? :think:



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Megaupload boss: Site popular among US government users

May be tempted to name names in Justice, Senate


By Iain Thomson in San Francisco • Register



The boss of the recently shut-down Megaupload file-sharing site claims that his records show plenty of US government users, including members of the Senate and the Department of Justice.

"Guess what – we found a large number of Mega accounts from US Government officials including the Department of Justice and the US Senate," Kim Dotcom (formerly Schmitz), the portly potentate of Megaupload, told the Torrentfreak blog. "I hope we will soon have permission to give them and the rest of our users access to their files."

No doubt government officials will claim that these accounts are for "research processes", or owned by a few "bad apples", but it does seem that Dotcom is willing to name names when his case comes the trial. Megaupload was one of the largest sites of its type, and the fallout could be very interesting if lists of users are made public.

Dotcom is currently fighting extradition from US authorities in the New Zealand courts, after he was arrested with three others at a rented New Zealand mansion following an investigation by the FBI into the site. He is currently out on bail – despite FBI objections – and faces extradition hearings in August.

His main concern now is making sure users of the site get their data back, Dotcom told the blog. The government has warned that users face mass deletion of both legal and pirated content – something that the Electronic Frontier Foundation unsurprisingly has a problem with.

"Megaupload's legal team is working hard to reunite our users with their data," Dotcom said. "We are negotiating with the Department of Justice to allow all Mega users to retrieve their data."


Why am I not surprised... :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Feds Move to Extradite Megaupload Founder Kim Dotcom
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:36 pm 
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Raid of Dotcom mansion was videotaped, footage nowhere to be found

By Megan Geuss | Arstechnica.com



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View from one of the CCTV cameras at Kim Dotcom's New Zealand mansion

Megaupload.com's servers aren't the only ones being held in limbo by government authorities in the early stages of the prosecution of Kim Dotcom. Now it seems a single personal server storing extensive CCTV footage of the Dotcom mansion—including video documenting the police raid of the Megaupload CEO's sprawling estate—is being held by authorities with no intention of handing it over.

While courts have declared Kim Dotcom a flight risk, leveled firearms charges at Dotcom's head of security, and seized $50 million in Megaupload assets, some have wondered if it all seems a little much for someone embroiled in what is essentially nothing more than a copyright infringement case. And reporter John Campbell of New Zealand's 3 News channel says despite the fact that "security camera footage was not on any seizure warrant and had no bearing whatsoever on any charges laid against Kim Dotcom," the public in general and the Dotcom defense specifically are not being allowed access to the only record of what happened during the raid.

Without the videos, it's unclear whether the FBI was at the house, what guns were carried, and whether they were pointed at anyone. In Campbell's report, Dotcom family Security Chief Wayne Tempero said on the day of the raid he was confronted on the grounds by men who did not identify themselves as police. According to 3 News' report, Dotcom's legal team wants the footage to file a "Complaint to the Independent Police Conduct Authority about the police raid that day," which "was excessive and heavy handed."

In a February interview with 3 News, Deputy Police Commissioner Malcom Burgess said of the video footage, "I'm not sure whether we have that footage...we are reasonably satisfied that we were upright in an environment that had multiple cameras."

Since January, the Dotcom legal team has asked for the footage, but police refused, until finally the agency agreed that an IT expert for DotCom could come and collect a copy of the footage. When the IT expert arrived at the police station, he found the server completely disassembled, and authorities said they could not reassemble it or give him any footage. Now, no one outside the police agency is sure the footage still exists.

The New Zealand police declined to give an interview to Campbell, but sent an e-mail stating, "Police would happily release the footage in question but currently have no authority to do so. The footage is contained on a hard drive lawfully seized on a warrant obtained by police at the direction of Crown Law following a properly formulated mutual legal assistance request from the United States." Still, as long as the footage remains unavailable, it is impossible to know whether Dotcom's story or the police's story is true.

Image courtesy of 3 News

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 Post subject: Re: Feds Move to Extradite Megaupload Founder Kim Dotcom
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:39 pm 
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Megaupload: Erasing our servers as the US wants would deny us a fair trial

By Timothy B. Lee | Arstechnica.com


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On Friday, Megaupload asked the Virginia judge overseeing its criminal copyright case to spare the data on its servers from deletion. Megaupload had leased 1,103 servers holding 25 petabytes of data from Carpathia Hosting, but it was unable to continue paying its bills after the government froze its assets. Carpathia recently complained that maintaining the servers was costing thousands of dollars per day. The hosting company asked to either be compensated for the expenses of running the servers or be given permission to re-provision them for use by other customers.

Megaupload has been trying for months to get custody of the servers. It had previously negotiated a deal to purchase the servers from Carpathia for about $1.5 million. But because Megaupload's assets have been frozen, it lacked the funds to complete the transaction without court approval. And the government objected, claiming, among other things, that the servers could contain child pornography.

Of course, as Megaupload pointed out in Friday's court filing, the presence of child pornography on the servers would be an argument in favor of preserving the data, since the government would presumably want to prosecute whoever uploaded it. More to the point, Megaupload argues that allowing the data on its servers to be destroyed would deprive Megaupload of the opportunity to fully defend itself in court.

In criminal cases, defendants are entitled to any evidence that could be helpful in their defense. Given that the government's case is likely to focus heavily on the contents of Megaupload's servers, access to that same data may be essential to rebutting the government's arguments.

Yet as Megaupload's filing points out, the defense team won't know which evidence it needs until it sees the government's own case. The government has copied "selected" data from the Megaupload servers, but it has not even revealed to the defendants which evidence has been preserved. Megaupload argues that the government may have "cherry picked" the data that will cast Megaupload in the most negative possible light. The company argues that allowing the rest of the data to be destroyed will make it impossible for Megaupload to unearth evidence that could cast the company in a more favorable light.

Megaupload argues that the government should bear the cost of preserving the Megaupload servers. But it said that if the government won't pay the bill, Megaupload is willing to cover the costs from its own funds. It asked the court to unfreeze sufficient assets to pay Carpathia for its servers, and to give Carpathia permission to transfer them. Megaupload proposes that safeguards be taken so that the servers only be used to prepare Megaupload's defense, and that no data on the servers be modified.

The government's intransigence on the preservation of evidence is the latest example of the government's scorched-earth approach to the Megaupload prosecution. Theoretically, criminal defendants are innocent until proven guilty. Yet the seizure of Megaupload's servers, freezing of its assets, and arrest of its top executives did immense damage to the company long before they had a chance to tell their side of the story to the jury. Now, the government seems to be trying to deny Megaupload the opportunity to fully defend itself in court. Megaupload may be found guilty, but like everyone else it has the right to a fair trial.

Photograph by Mrs TeePot

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 Post subject: Re: Feds Move to Extradite Megaupload Founder Kim Dotcom
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:24 am 
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Kim Dotcom says Megaupload shutdown was Joe Biden's idea

Dotcom says he has insider information to prove it.


by Megan Geuss - Arstechnica.com



Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, who currently stands accused by the US of copyright infringement and racketeering, told TorrentFreak that he has insider information implicating none other than Vice President of the United States Joe Biden in ordering the shutdown of Megaupload.

Dotcom said the information from his unnamed source led his associates to search the publicly available White House visitor logs to find meetings between Biden and MPAA chief Chris Dodd, apparently a close friend of the vice president.

What they found was a meeting at the White House on July 27, 2011 that included Barry Meyer, CEO of Warner Bros Entertainment; Brad Grey, CEO of Paramount Pictures; Chris Dodd, CEO of the MPAA; Jeff Blake, Vice Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment; Ronald Meyer, President Universal Studios; Michael O’Leary, MPAA Senior Executive Vice President for Global Policy and External Affairs; Rich Ross, Chairman of Walt Disney Studios at the time; and Michael Ellis, Managing Director MPA Asia Pacific, who is, according to Dotcom, "an extradition expert and former superintendent of the Hong Kong police."

According to the New Zealand Herald, Simon Power, the country's former justice minister, met with Ellis in March 2011. Power is rumored to have known about the raid on Dotcom's mansion, and in July 2011 Power is said to have declined Dotcom's application to buy the mansion he was renting, even after "[o]fficials at Immigration NZ and the Overseas Investment Office investigated Megaupload, raising no concerns about its operation," the Herald reported. "They also investigated Dotcom's wealth, saying it had been earned legitimately."

Still, Dotcom hasn't revealed who his source is, or how that source knows that Joe Biden ordered US State attorney Neil MacBride to go after Megaupload. As the New Zealand Herald points out, this announcement is just days ahead of the expected release of Dotcom's first music single "Mr. President," which "is about the shutdown of his website and is directly aimed at US President Barack Obama," the Herald notes.

The calculated press leak is also timed with his court appearance for judicial review into an order that the FBI show evidence against him for an August 6 extradition hearing.

"At the appropriate time we will release what we know," Dotcom told TorrentFreak. "The whole Mega case is quite the political thriller."

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 Post subject: Re: Kim Dotcom says Megaupload shutdown was Joe Biden's idea
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:31 am 
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Mega-victory: Kim Dotcom search warrants "invalid," mansion raid "illegal"

A New Zealand judge savages the process used to target Megaupload's Kim Dotcom.


by Nate Anderson - Jun 28 Arstechnica.com



On January 20, New Zealand police showed up in style at the mansion of flamboyant Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, swarming over the property and bringing along two police helicopters. They cut their way through locks and into the home's "panic room," where Dotcom was hiding in apparent fear of a kidnapping or robbery. They seized 18 luxury vehicles. They secured NZ$11 million in cash from bank accounts. And they grabbed a whopping 150TB of data from Dotcom's many digital devices.

"It was definitely not as simple as knocking at the front door," said Detective Inspector Grant Wormald in a police press release at the time.

It was also totally illegal. That's the ruling of New Zealand High Court judge Helen Winkelmann, who today ripped the "invalid" warrant and the subsequent search and seizure in a 56-page decision.

The ruling marks a major win for the Kim Dotcom defense, which is trying to prevent their client from being extradited to the US on a host of copyright and money laundering charges. Still, it's not yet clear if Dotcom will actually get his data back; the FBI already flew to New Zealand, imaged much of the data in March, and FedExed it back to the US.

"The search and seizure was therefore illegal”

At the instigation of groups like the MPAA, the FBI opened an investigation two years ago into Megaupload's activities. The online file locker had become a popular place to store and share large files online, some which were copyrighted and shared without authorization.

By January, the FBI had elevated its informal contacts about the case with New Zealand officials into an official "government to government" request for legal assistance under an extradition treaty between the two countries. The US would prosecute the case in Virginia, where a grand jury had been convened, but it needed New Zealand cops to actually arrest Dotcom and search his property.

The goal was to swoop in during Dotcom's birthday in mid-January, since several of his Megaupload co-defendants were going to be at his mansion outside of Auckland. On January 17, the New Zealand Deputy Solicitor-General issued an authorization for local police to apply for warrants. They did so the next day, showing up with affidavits at the North Shore District Court—but the duty judge didn't have time to deal with the request. The matter was held over until January 19, when the warrants to search Dotcom's house and two other properties were approved; police had 14 days in which to execute them.

They needed only a day; on January 20, they arrived at the house. Dotcom later told the court he had no idea that the people he saw flooding into his property were police, so he fled to his home's secure room. After realizing they were cops, he says he decided to stay put rather than take the risk of popping out and perhaps getting shot.

"Not once did they say they were police," he testified. "They had civilian clothes on. The only things that I saw were flack jackets with a lot of pistols and automatic weapons."

Once they arrived at the panic room, Dotcom said, "I was punched in the face. I was kicked down on the floor. One guy was standing on my hand so my nail was ruptured and my hand was bleeding. It was quite aggressive."

In the police view, however, Dotcom was hiding from them—and had retreated to a room with a weapon "which had the appearance of a shortened shotgun." CCTV footage from the house, which might show more of what really happened, has been seized by police and not yet returned.

In any event, with the initial unpleasantness of the raid behind them, New Zealand investigators pored over the house and began packing up evidence. They showed Dotcom the judicial warrant, as required, but it was a confusing document. The warrant didn't make clear, for instance, very basic facts like: under which country's laws was he being targeted? The actual warrant application didn't even make clear that the US was involved. As Judge Winkelmann put it:

Quote:
The failure to refer to the laws of the United States on the face of the warrants, would no doubt cause confusion to the subjects of the searches. They would likely read the warrants as authorizing a search for evidence of offenses as defined by New Zealand's law. The only clue that they are not is that each one is headed "the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1992." That is not much of a clue.


And what were the cops looking for? They didn't know, exactly. Because they were not investigating the case—the FBI was doing that—the police executing the search had limited knowledge of what was truly useful and necessary. As the judge put it, the people executing the warrant "were not the investigating officers and had limited knowledge of the operation," despite being briefed before the raid went down.

They had the warrant document to guide them, of course—but it was a remarkably open-ended piece of work. Dotcom was accused of "breach of copyright," but in what way? The warrant didn't say.

“Copyright can exist in many things," wrote the judge. "A breach of copyright can be affected in many ways."

Warrants need to allege specific crimes for which evidence is being gathered; it's the difference between rummaging through a home looking for evidence of "murder" and rummaging through a home looking for evidence about "the murder of such-and-such, killed on such-and-such a date, by such-and-such a weapon."

Quote:
The requirement imposed by [New Zealand law] is not to describe the type of offense, but rather the offense or offenses in respect of which the warrant was sought and obtained.


Without the specific allegation of a crime, a warrant might veer into over-broad territory, becoming a "general warrant" so vague as to be illegal. According to Judge Winkelmann, that's exactly what happened here. "These were general warrants both in form and reality," she wrote. Proper warrants must be “framed with as much specificity as the relevant context permits."

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Kim Dotcom's new image: family man


Local laws apply

In this case, the broad nature of the alleged crimes was combined with a broad list of things to grab. For instance, the warrant targeted "all digital devices, including electronic devices capable of storing and/or processing data in digital form."

This was pretty indiscriminate. Everyone involved admits that police must be allowed to grab some information that turns out later to be irrelevant to their case; otherwise, the standard for searches would be so high that much useful material would never be found. But the key point is that the cops need to quickly triage the material taken and return everything not relevant to the investigation.

In this case, the cops had a problem doing so. Because the actual investigators were the FBI, local New Zealand police had no idea which data was relevant. Besides, they had grabbed 150TB of material, and analysts admitted to the court that they couldn't process such a volume without spending a substantial sum of money for more workers and equipment. So the idea was: we'll just ship it all to America and let the FBI do the minimization there.

But that's not an option. The warrant was executed in New Zealand under New Zealand law against a New Zealand resident, and cops can't simply act as agents for another country and then tell aggrieved parties that they have to go deal with that country if they want their irrelevant data back.

"In this day and age computers (and even phones) are used by individuals and families to store a wide range of material information, family photos and films; personal correspondence (e-mails) and generally information of a private and purely personal nature," wrote the judge. Such information must be promptly returned.

Instead, the police "exceeded what they could lawfully be authorized to do. This is because they continue to hold, along with the relevant, material they concede will be irrelevant. They've taken few steps to identify the material, and no steps where the material resides on the computer hard drives... They intend to allow the FBI to do that in the United States. That is an approach that is not available to them.”

Instead, the judge noted that the police could have invited FBI officials to come to New Zealand and assist with the initial data triage. Simply offloading their legal responsibility for "minimization" to the FBI won't wash, however.

The rule of law

To sum up the ruling: the warrants were "general warrants, and as such, are invalid.” Because the police relied on invalid warrants, "The search and seizure was therefore illegal.” And the data should not have been imaged wholesale by the FBI without Dotcom's consent, which the judge found no evidence of.

New Zealand's government took one last stab at keeping Judge Winkelmann away from the whole issue of the warrant's validity and argued that local courts should not review the warrant; only the trial court—in this case, the Virginia District Court in the US—had that power. Winkelmann was having no truck with this, for reasons much like those surrounding data minimization.

"It would not be consistent with the object of promoting the rule of law internationally, were the domestic courts to refuse to review the lawfulness of warrants" obtained in this manner, she noted.

"If having conducted a review, it is determined that there was a fundamental defect in the warrant, it is difficult to see why a Court should decline to declare as much, even where trial processes are engaged in another jurisdiction.”

What comes next

Winkelmann is proceeding cautiously, given the complexity of the case. Today's ruling does make clear both that the warrants were illegal and that removing the cloned data to the US was "unlawful."

But how to proceed? The FBI already has the data it wants; is Winkelmann going to ask US law enforcement to return all cloned copies to New Zealand, as Dotcom's lawyers would like? Will she set up a New Zealand-based process to vet all the data and only then release relevant information to the US?

Tricky questions, and all potentially expensive. Winkelmann will hear further arguments on how to proceed on July 4. Until then, though, Dotcom can celebrate an important early victory in the case. Perhaps he can even look forward to getting his home's CCTV footage back from police—and we can get a better picture of what went down on January 20.

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 Post subject: Re: Kim Dotcom says Megaupload shutdown was Joe Biden's idea
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:00 am 
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Government: we can freeze Mega assets even if case is dismissed

Judge is weighing argument that Megaupload is beyond reach of US criminal law.


by Timothy B. Lee - Arstechnica.com



The United States government said today that even if the indictment of the Megaupload corporation is dismissed, it can continue its indefinite freeze on the corporation's assets while it awaits the extradition of founder Kim Dotcom and his associates.

Judge Liam O'Grady is weighing a request to dismiss the indictment against Megaupload because (in Megaupload's view) the federal rules of criminal procedure provide no way to serve notice on corporations with no US address. At a hearing in Alexandria, VA, he grilled both attorneys in the case but did not issue a ruling.

O'Grady speculated, with evident sarcasm, that Congress intended to allow foreign corporations like Megaupload to "be able to violate our laws indiscriminately from an island in the South Pacific."

But Megaupload's attorney insisted that this may not be too far from the truth. Megaupload, they said, is a Hong Kong corporation with no presence in the United States. He argued it was perfectly reasonable for Megaupload to be subject to the criminal laws of Hong Kong, but not the United States.

"It's never had a US address"

For its part, the government suggested that it could sidestep the mailing requirement in one of several ways. For example, it could wait for Kim Dotcom to be extradited to the United States and then mail notice to him, as Megaupload's representative, at his address in prison. Or, they suggested, the government could send notice of the indictment to Carpathia Hosting, a Virginia company that has leased hundreds of servers to the locker site.

The government also mentioned the possibility that it could use the provisions of a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty to send notice to Megaupload's Hong Kong address.

But Judge O'Grady seemed skeptical of these argument. He noted that the "plain language" of the law required sending notice to the company's address in the United States. "You don't have a location in the United States to mail it to," he said. "It's never had an address" in the United States.

And Megaupload pointed out that the government hadn't produced a single example in which the government had satisfied the rules of criminal procedure using one of the methods it was suggesting in this case. Most of the precedents the government has produced were in civil cases, which have different rules. And most involved serving a corporate parent via its subsidiary. That's a very different relationship than, for example, the vendor-customer relationship between Megaupload and Carpathia.

The government brought up one new example during the hearing: an instance in which a judge allowed notice to be sent via e-mail to the Columbian guerilla group FARC. But Megaupload's attorneys dismissed this example as well, pointing out that FARC was not a corporation and that the propriety of that service was never tested in court.

The government also argued that it could keep Megaupload in legal limbo indefinitely. "None of the cases impose a time limit on service," the government's attorney told the judge. Therefore, the government believes it can leave the indictment hanging over the company's head, and keep its assets frozen, indefinitely.

Not only that, but the government believes it can continue to freeze Megaupload's assets and paralyze its operations even if the judge grants the motion to dismiss. That's because in the government's view, the assets are the proceeds of criminal activity and the prosecution against founder Kim Dotcom will still be pending. The fact that the assets are in the name of Megaupload rather than its founder is of no consequence, the government claimed.

Hollywood, at least, seems nervous that Judge O'Grady might buy Megaupload's argument. In a conference call held Wednesday in advance of today's hearing, a senior vice president at the Motion Picture Association of America argued that the dismissal of the case against Megaupload would have little practical impact, since the company's principals would still be facing indictment. And he rejected Kim Dotcom's efforts to frame the case as a test of Internet freedom, describing Dotcom as a "career criminal" who had grown wealthy stealing the work of others.

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 Post subject: Re: Government: We can freeze Mega assets even if case dismissed
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:16 am 
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Looks like the US is just making up the law as it goes here.

And if the US government are saying they can steal and keep all of your property - even if they're not legally allowed to - please remind me who the big bad pirates are again? :hmm:

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 Post subject: Re: Government: We can freeze Mega assets even if case dismissed
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:20 am 
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Here's an interesting comment I read:

Quote:
It's entertaining to see these fairly bright and experienced lawyers trying to argue that the law doesn't matter, and that it should be interpreted in whatever convoluted ways are necessary to produce the desired result.

The precedent's a little scary, though. I wonder how U.S. companies feel about the prospect of being tried in foreign courts where they don't even do business or have an address. Admittedly, it's not like Saudi Arabia could use the FBI as a puppet the way the U.S. used New Zealand's police, but this whole thing is still likely to come back and bite what we think of as "legitimate" businesses.



....It would be a horrible precedent to set up if we let any other countries do the same to the US.

A potential headline in the future:

'In other news, The US government approved extradition for every US citizen who has ever made a vitriolic comment on the internet about Saudi Arabia.'


It would certainly set a precedent than no US company would want.

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 Post subject: Re: Government: We can freeze Mega assets even if case dismissed
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:50 am 
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Seems like RJ post :D

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So true mate ...he is consistently inconsistent throughout his united career ..but what if he turns consistent ..he will get around 40 goals...ATM im waiting for that time as his age is 24/25 :wait: ... :|
on Rooney ,Jan 16th, ..and as they rest is history


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 Post subject: Re: Government: We can freeze Mega assets even if case dismissed
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:52 am 
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pakrooney wrote:
Seems like RJ post :D


I'll take that as a compliment. :p

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 Post subject: Re: Government: We can freeze Mega assets even if case dismissed
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:26 am 
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U.S forces maintain fire against Megaupload

MPAA labels Dotcom as career crim (for piracy, not rapping)


By Natalie Apostolou • The Register



The United States government is holding firm against the pursuit of file sharing platform Megaupload and its founders stating that even if the indictment of the Megaupload corporation is dismissed, it will continue the indefinite freeze on it’s assets.

During a federal hearing in the U.S last Friday, prosecutors urged U.S. District Judge Liam O'Grady to uphold their charges against infamous file-hosting site Megaupload.

Megaupload’s team have been arguing to dismiss the indictment as they posit that criminal procedure does not allow a way to serve notice on corporations that do not have a US address. Judge Liam O'Grady did not issue a ruling.

Founder Kim Dotcom received a reprieve from the New Zealand courts earlier this month with the delay of his extradition hearing until 2013, based on his legal team argument that the court violated the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by failing to mail a summon to their client's last known address in the United States.

Team Megaupload also maintain that U.S. prosecutors have no legal jurisdiction over the company as it is a foreign entity with no official presence in the United States.

"They wiped out a foreign company that does not reside in the United States by bringing a criminal case against it. If this were a person ... there would be little argument that there were due process violations," Megaupload lawyer William Burck said during Friday's hearing.


Burck requested that Judge O'Grady dismiss the indictment without prejudice and force the Department of Justice to re-file charges.

The U.S prosecutors claimed that mailing summons to the offices of Dotcom's U.S based lawyers or to Megaupload’s Virginia based hosting supplier Carpethia Hosting was sufficient process.

They added that under a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty they would also be able to send a summons to Megaupload's address in Hong Kong.

The Justice Department's Ryan Dickey said that Congress has "made it crystal clear" that they will address global copyright crime and that they would be relentless in the pursuit of Dotcom and his employees with criminal charges whenever they are extradited to the United States.

Last week, the Motion Picture Association of America branded Dotocm a “career criminal” and claimed that even if the case against Megaupload were dismissed it would have little practical impact as Dotocom and his co-founders are still facing indictment.

Dotcom remains under house arrest in his New Zealand mansion where he waging an aggressive social media campaign against the MPA and the U.S government’s actions.

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 Post subject: Re: Government: We can freeze Mega assets even if case dismissed
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:35 am 
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Not that I like Kim Dotcom much, but this is absolutely ridiculous. How can any lawyer stand there and state on the court record that they will get this man and his company regardless of what the law says that they can do... and not face charges themselves?


Quote:
A lawyer stating on the court record that:

a) they're seizing assets for evidence for a case where jurisdiction is not established;

b) the case might never go further than a threatened indictment or indictment without intent to actually prosecute "to hang around their heads", and;

c) they have the intention of maintaining possession of the seized property regardless of any actual court case being possible.


How is this in any way a legal process? The law seems to have nothing to do with it. :blink:

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 Post subject: Re: Government: We can freeze Mega assets even if case dismissed
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:39 am 
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Gotta love America, home of the free... as long as you do what they want you to.

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You know what Paks like. He's probably voted JSP for woman of the year or something.


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