The new site (Kim.com) is interesting to browse through beginning with a picture of the White House with a new flag flying over it. The flag is supposed to be a representation of the fact that the Entertainment industry is controlling the US (they do have a rather large lobby effort). This is backed up by comments from MPAA leader Chris Dodd when SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) was mothballed. He stated that if the members of Congress would not support him now he would not be there when they needed him to write checks. It was a subtle hint that he would pull campaign support from anyone that was not behind what he and the MPAA wants. Moving into 2013 Dodd will be able to personally enter the fray and have direct contact with members of congress. This is something he was forbidden from doing due to ethics restrictions after he left the Senate.
Dotcom goes further in his allegations and claims that the entertainment industry improperly influenced Vice President Joe Biden to get him to order the Megaupload takedown without any real legal justification. Now the takedown of an alleged infringing site without evidence is nothing new and has happened many times in the past. These take downs often leave the site owners little or no recourse when their domains are seized. In one case the domain was offline for almost a year before the US government admitted it had made a mistake and returned the site to operation. In the Megaupload case the Entertainment Industry knew they were not facing a smaller site, but an organization with considerable funds to defend themselves with.
To get around this small hurdle they had to make the charges a little more than just criminal copyright infringement. They concocted allegations of money laundering, conspiracy to promote infringement and racketeering. Once they were able to get the FBI and DoJ to buy into this it became a matter of procedure to seize all assets of the company. This has limited both Kim Dotcom and Megaupload from presenting a proper defense. We talked about this in our article on the siege tactics in use by the DoJ against Megaupload. Once the charges were agreed upon things got ugly pretty quickly as the FBI and DoJ knew they did not have what they needed to support their claims they had to get evidence fast.
To do this they issued seizure notices and search warrants in several countries to make sure they got everything they could from Megaupload. In the case of Dotcom they even had an armed raid on his residence. Unfortunately for the FBI the search warrants were illegal as they were not detailed as required by law in New Zealand. This is something that the police that executed the warrants knew and now must answer for (we would love to read their explanation of this). The FBI also might have known that what they were doing was not legal in New Zealand as they rushed to get copies of the Evidence back to the US to avoid any complications that might arise from needing to follow anything like the law. Instead they took everything in the hopes that they would find something to support their claims. The fact that the FBI has not brought any evidence out makes us wonder if their fishing efforts were in vain. We are guessing that if the FBI had found anything incriminating that it would have “leaked” by now.
Knowing that their case in on shaky legal grounds the Entertainment industry has also tried to remove the legal defense that Dotcom and Megaupload has. They have tried to claim (unsecessfully) that the lawyers defending Dotcom and Megaupload have a conflict of interest since they have represented some of the plaintiffs in the case as well. It is a cry they often toss out when it suits them and completely forget when it does not (just look at The Pirate Bay case). The reason they (the DoJ and Entertainment Industry) are so concerned right now is that their entire legal case is predicated on an improper extension of civil law into a criminal case.
“Mr Davison then goes on to consider the disclosure necessary in the present case and acknowledges that this case is complex primarily because of the allegation of criminal copyright infringement. Normally the disclosure would be confined to issues of identity or impossibility or fundamental elements but in this particular case there are involved issues arising involving inferences from a wide range of material which makes matters even more complex. The attempt to transfer civil copyright concepts into the criminal arena necessitates a consideration of principles such as the dual use of technology and other attendant complex legal and factual issues”
The US would like the New Zealand government to simply hand Dotcom over so they can exercise greater control over his activities which in part are intended to expose the many failing of the case. With him in Jail in the US the PR campaign he has started would be shut down and they (the US DoJ and Entertainment Industry) feel that the case would be quickly won. However, the Courts in New Zealand are not cooperating in the way the US felt they would and again Dotcom is not helping them out either. He has already made an open proposal to the US stating he would voluntarily come to the US and enter a plea if and only if money is released for a proper defense. As you might expect the US has declined this.
Instead they are continuing to try and make the flimsy charges stick, they have to find evidence of something or their whole case falls apart (which it is in danger of doing anyway). According to many rulings of the New Zealand courts the US must prove criminal copyright infringement in order for their extended charges to mean anything. This puts everything on their evidence of criminal copyright infringement. It is something they will have a hard time proving considering the fact that they (the entertainment Industry) cooperated with Megaupload to design the real-time take down system that Megaupload had in place. The industry had their own self-use tools to take down infringing material. They did not even need to submit a request; they could simply go in and remove the links.
Right now the US DoJ and Entertainment Industry are scrambling to find a way to silence Dotcom and close down Megaupload as an example to the rest of the world. They want everyone to understand that they are in control and can seize any site that displeases them without due process and with little more than an allegation of infringement. It has become their pattern and one that will continue to erode away at our economy and the technological advances that are coming out. None of the three, The MPAA, RIAA and the DoJ, have properly addressed the massive amount of legal content that they have illegally seized in their efforts to close down Megaupload. This obstinate move only makes them look worse in the public’s eye and validates the claims that Dotcom is making about their goals (to send a message to other potential cloud storage services). Like we said, the US and the Entertainment Industry are in a very embarrassing situation and one that they will have a hard time getting out of.
If you want to read more about the issue in Kim Dotcom’s own words you should check out the site. He also has a poll going asking what the citizens of the web will do if Megaupload is still down on November 1st. He is implying that the President and Vice President are involved in this and unless they take the appropriate action to resolve the issue they should be voted out of office. You can also catch Dotcom’s latest video Mr. President.
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