Arguably one of the biggest was the final take down of The Pirate Bay. The trial that followed was nothing less than a mockery of the justice system as it existed in Sweden. The original judge presiding over the case was part of pro-copyright group while the lead investigator was offered a high paying job with one of the studios in question. Even the charges of copyright infringement had to be modified as The Pirate Bay did not host any files, they simply allowed someone to search for it.
Other smaller incidents have resonated with the internet community and have given rise to the belief that the copyright industry will not actually stop at the border of legal and illegal to get what they want. There have been multiple domain seizures that were not just questionable, but actually wrong. This is on top of take down notices for work that the requestor does not even have rights to.
This is why many people are very willing to believe the recent claims by MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom that the MPAA conspired with the New Zealand government to get him set up for extradition. The claim is one of many that have tried to prove that the original take down and seizure of MegaUpload was orchestrated by the MPAA along with other copyright holders in cooperation with the US Government and in particular the current US Vice President Joe Biden.
The claims seem like they are right out of the movies and might require a tin foil hat to truly appreciate. However, there is some very concerning information in these claims and some compelling circumstantial evidence to support the theory.
With the claim that the MPAA colluded with the US to get MegaUpload taken down there are records of visits to the VP by industry big wigs on record shortly before the US DoJ filed the suit complete with money laundering charges. It is also not a secret that Joe Biden and MPAA boss Chris Dodd are close and used to work together when they were both in Congress. Dodd had made statements that he would be using his influence to get what he wanted in terms of more copyright laws and controls in mid-2013 which also plays into the timeline. None of this constitutes concrete proof, but then again it does not have to. The simple fact that Dotcom can construct a hypothetical timeline using these events can be enough to sway popular opinion. This opinion, if used in the right way can change policy and laws.
The proof has not surfaced yet, but it was rumored to have been in the form of an email from Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Bros CEO to Michael Ellis who works for the MPAA. The email (which Warner Bros is claim is a fabrication) appears to show Tsujihara confirming that PM John Key was allowing Dotcom to become a citizen of New Zealand with the express purpose of setting up extradition. One of the quotes from the alleged email is “His AG will do everything in his power to assist us with our case. VIP treatment and then a one-way ticket to Virginia”
Of course Warner Bros would claim this is a fake even if it were true. There is no way they would ever admit to this as it would be a PR nightmare for them (and the New Zealand Government) to show that they are colluding in this manner. For Dotcom the simple possibility that the email might be real is enough to get people motivated. At this point he does not have to prove it is real to get things rolling in the manner that he wants. It would be a bigger push if it is real and he can prove it, but that is not needed at this point.
The MPAA and other members of the copyright industry have set themselves up for this failure with their antics and their push for punishments that are not representative of any actual losses. Their continued claims of financial harm despite record profits and blockbuster earnings are becoming harder to defend. On top of this the public is growing tired with the push to watch what they do on the internet and control their habits. The Dotcom case including the possibility that US corporations acted in this manner could be the spark that turns the tide for them politically. Even their longtime friends could start to distance themselves from them if the press gets too bad. They (politicians) know that their continued seats in government are at risk if they continue to support a company that public opinion has turned on. Dotcom’s claims combined with Edward Snowden and others could be the start of this new trend, at least we hope it will be.
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