Tag Archives: MegaUpload

Kim Dotcom Set to Mobilize Former Megaupload Users Against Joe Biden

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-set-to-mobilize-former-megaupload-users-against-joe-biden-190812/

After being targeted by the US government in 2012, it seems possible that Kim Dotcom may yet slip through the hands of at least two presidents and potentially more.

It’s now seven years since the raids that dismantled his Megaupload empire yet Kim Dotcom is still in New Zealand and leading what appears to be a very privileged life.

At the same time as fighting with every legal bone in his body, he is clearly determined to stir up a political storm in the United States too, a country he will remind you again and again that he has never even been to. For Dotcom, you see, there are old scores to be settled.

Dotcom is convinced that current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was the political driving force behind the fate of Megaupload. The former vice president burnt the file-hosting site to the ground as a “gift” to his friends in Hollywood, Dotcom insists. And soon, it will be payback time.

In a series of tweets this morning, Dotcom said that next year he will be mirroring his infamous campaign against former candidate Hillary Clinton to ensure that Joe Biden never sets foot in the White House.

“Like @HillaryClinton he’s corrupt to the core and can never become US President. Watch me in 2020,” he warned.

Dotcom usually plays some of his cards close to his chest, while teasing others well in advance of their production. However, he’s now on record that he’ll be using a database of former Megaupload users apparently still in his possession to mobilize against Biden.

“Still waiting to get access to your Megaupload files?” he wrote.

“I will email 30 million former US Megaupload users a video link in 2020 explaining how @JoeBiden destroyed your favorite website. Most of you were teenagers or students then but now you’re voters. Let’s retire Biden together,” the Megaupload founder added.

Putting the two parts together suggests that Dotcom not only has uploaders’ IP addresses to geo-locate them but their corresponding email addresses too. With the statute of limitations long exceeded in cases of alleged copyright infringement, errant users probably shouldn’t be too concerned, even if those can be matched to uploads.

While it seems extremely unlikely that any will ever get access to their files again, Dotcom says they will be receiving something else from him, something that he hopes will undermine both Biden and his campaign.

“Everyone who ever uploaded a file to Megaupload from a US IP address will receive this video link about how @JoeBiden abused his power to destroy Megaupload, incl. commentary from an insider and Biden bragging to a lawyer we planted at a fundraiser that HE destroyed MU,” Dotcom added.

Although the content of the forthcoming video is yet to be seen, the allegations against Biden certainly aren’t new. They are almost as old as the case against Dotcom himself, which has been moving at a glacial pace since its inception more than three-quarters of a decade ago.

And according to Dotcom, it might still only be at its halfway point.

In June, after a tortuous path through the lower courts, New Zealand’s Supreme Court heard the extradition case against Dotcom. It is yet to hand down any decision but even at this stage, the Megaupload founder is making his predictions. In tweets over the past several weeks, Dotcom has predicted that he will lose by a slim margin.

“I can tell you from my experience with the Courts that relationships are more important than laws. Judges are appointed to support the govt of the time and not for guardianship of the law. My upcoming 2-3 Supreme Court judgment will prove my point,” he wrote last week.

But even then the show won’t be over, far from it.

Another seven years? Possibly…

At the time of writing, Dotcom claims that he’s has already been on bail longer than anyone in New Zealand’s history but he’s vowing to stick it out “until the end” while making as much mud stick as he can – both at home and in the United States.

“My case is the biggest stain on New Zealand’s rule of law. My gift to the ‘independent’ Judiciary,” he concludes.

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Kim Dotcom Begins Final Supreme Court Battle to Avoid US Extradition

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/kim-dotcom-begins-final-supreme-court-battle-to-avoid-us-extradition-190610/

When file-hosting site Megaupload was shut down in 2012, few could have predicted the events of the years to follow.

The arrest of founder Kim Dotcom and colleagues Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato in New Zealand, triggered dozens of legal processes, many designed to expedite, delay or indeed avoid the quartet’s extradition to the United States.

Before it was closed, Megaupload claimed responsibility for around 4% of global Internet traffic. Much of this, the United States government claims, was pirated content, particularly movies, TV shows and music, costing US companies around US$500 million.

Dotcom has persistently argued that as an online service provider, Megaupload should receive safe harbor protections in respect of the activities of its users. US authorities, on the other hand, see a massive criminal conspiracy for which the four should face justice on the other side of the world.

At every step thus far, the New Zealand legal system has found in favor of sending the men to the United States.

In December 2015, Judge Dawson in the District Court found that Dotcom and his associates were eligible for extradition. That decision was subsequently appealed to the High Court, with Dotcom and his now former colleagues launching an appeal alongside a demand for a judicial review.

During February 2017, the appellants discovered that both of those efforts had proven unsuccessful. However, the men were granted leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal on two questions of law, including whether the High Court was correct to find that their alleged conduct amounted to an extradition offense.

In July 2018, the Court of Appeal upheld the earlier decision that Dotcom and the others were indeed eligible to be extradited. Importantly, the Court considered whether copyright infringement can be a criminal offense in New Zealand and the United States.

It was ultimately found that the alleged conduct of the men would breach various offenses under the Crimes Act 1961, meaning that extradition would be permissible. But this wouldn’t be a typical Dotcom matter if a final chance of appeal wasn’t grabbed with both hands.

As a result, the case headed to the Supreme Court, where the final hearing is taking place over five days this week, beginning today.

“In 2005 I created a website that allowed people to upload files to the cloud. At the time only small files could be attached to emails. Megaupload allowed users to email a link to a file. That’s it,” Dotcom wrote on Twitter this morning.

“In 2019 the NZ Supreme Court decides if I should be extradited for this ‘crime’.”

While lawyers for the accused are set to pick at every available thread in order to unravel the decision against their clients, early reports from the Supreme Court suggest already familiar themes.

Grant Illingworth, representing Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk, told the Court that he would be arguing that the alleged offenses did not amount to a crime in New Zealand, meaning that they could not be extraditable offenses. But, even if they were, insufficient evidence had been produced to show that offenses had even occurred.

“The district court judge misapplied the law at every stage of the judicial analysis,” Illingworth said, as quoted by RNZ.

“That constituted a serious miscarriage of justice. No higher court could have justified a finding of that kind, no matter how much they agreed with the outcome.”

Interestingly – or perhaps worryingly – it appears that discussions over how Megaupload operated were conducted via analogies this morning. At issue was Megaupload offering content for download and, in some cases, rewarding uploaders for putting that content there in the first place.

Justice Susan Glazebrook asked Illingworth whether it would be a breach of copyright if she photocopied a novel hypothetically written by one of her fellow judges and then sold it on a street corner. Illingworth said Megaupload didn’t make the copies, its users did.

“They’re providing the photocopier, someone else comes along and uses the photocopier. They’re [Megaupload] not putting up a sign saying, ‘Please come and use our photocopier for illegal purposes,’” he said.

Justice Joe Williams then elaborated on the analogy, alluding to Megaupload’s reward program.

“What if I get a wheelbarrow and I convey the copies [of the novel] to the street corner, knowing that she’ll be selling them, and she and I have some kind of agreement to share the profits?” he said.

Illingworth responded by saying it was never Megaupload’s intention to reward people for illegal behavior, it was all about rewarding them for increasing the site’s traffic.

While the hearing is set to run until Friday, any decision will take months to reach. Even if extradition is upheld, it will still need the approval of New Zealand’s Minister of Justice Andrew Little to take place.

His signature would mean that the men would be shipped to the US to face charges of copyright infringement, racketeering, and money laundering plus the possibility of years – even decades – in prison.

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MPAA and RIAA’s Megaupload Lawsuits Remain ‘Frozen’

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-and-riaas-megaupload-lawsuits-remain-frozen/

Well over seven years have passed since Megaupload was shut down.

Aside from Andrus Nomm’s plea deal, progress in the criminal proceedings against Megaupload’s founder and former associates is slow.

The United States wants New Zealand to extradite Kim Dotcom. However, the German-born entrepreneur and his former colleagues are fighting this request vigorously. 

Late last year, David Boldt, a lawyer for the United States, suggested that the extradition battle “might almost be at half-time”, opening up the potential for more years of legal battling.

This means that the criminal case in the United States remains pending as well. The same goes for the lawsuits the MPAA and RIAA filed against Megaupload in 2014.

Since the civil cases may influence the criminal proceedings, Megaupload’s legal team previously managed to put these cases on hold. Since there’s no progress on the extradition front, this hold continues to be extended.

Previously there were concerns that the long delays could result in the destruction of evidence, as some of Megaupload’s hard drives were starting to fail. However, after the parties agreed on a solution to back-up and restore the files two years ago, this is no longer an issue.

“With the preservation order in place and there being no other objection,
Defendant Megaupload hereby moves the Court to enter the attached proposed order, continuing the stay in this case for an additional six months,” Megaupload’s legal team wrote in its most recent request.

Following a renewed request from Megaupload’s legal team, US District Court Judge Liam O’Grady recently agreed to stay the case until October 1st, pending any new developments.

If recent history is any indication, we can expect another extension, six months from now.

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MPAA Chief Says Fighting Piracy Remains “Top Priority”

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-chief-says-fighting-piracy-remains-top-priority-180425/

After several high-profile years at the helm of the movie industry’s most powerful lobbying group, last year saw the departure of Chris Dodd from the role of Chairman and CEO at the MPAA.

The former Senator, who earned more than $3.5m a year championing the causes of the major Hollywood studios since 2011, was immediately replaced by another political heavyweight.

Charles Rivkin, who took up his new role September 5, 2017, previously served as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs in the Obama administration. With an underperforming domestic box office year behind him fortunately overshadowed by massive successes globally, this week he spoke before US movie exhibitors for the first time at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

“Globally, we hit a record high of $40.6 billion at the box office. Domestically, our $11.1 billion box office was slightly down from the 2016 record. But it exactly matched the previous high from 2015. And it was the second highest total in the past decade,” Rivkin said.

“But it exactly matched the previous high from 2015. And it was the second highest total in the past decade.”

Rivkin, who spent time as President and CEO of The Jim Henson Company, told those in attendance that he shares a deep passion for the movie industry and looks forward optimistically to the future, a future in which content is secured from those who intend on sharing it for free.

“Making sure our creative works are valued and protected is one of the most important things we can do to keep that industry heartbeat strong. At the Henson Company, and WildBrain, I learned just how much intellectual property affects everyone. Our entire business model depended on our ability to license Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and the Muppets and distribute them across the globe,” Rivkin said.

“I understand, on a visceral level, how important copyright is to any creative business and in particular our country’s small and medium enterprises – which are the backbone of the American economy. As Chairman and CEO of the MPAA, I guarantee you that fighting piracy in all forms remains our top priority.”

That tackling piracy is high on the MPAA’s agenda won’t comes as a surprise but at least in terms of the numbers of headlines plastered over the media, high-profile anti-piracy action has been somewhat lacking in recent years.

With lawsuits against torrent sites seemingly a thing of the past and a faltering Megaupload case that will conclude who-knows-when, the MPAA has taken a broader view, seeking partnerships with sometimes rival content creators and distributors, each with a shared desire to curtail illicit media.

“One of the ways that we’re already doing that is through the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment – or ACE as we call it,” Rivkin said.

“This is a coalition of 30 leading global content creators, including the MPAA’s six member studios as well as Netflix, and Amazon. We work together as a powerful team to ensure our stories are seen as they were intended to be, and that their creators are rewarded for their hard work.”

Announced in June 2017, ACE has become a united anti-piracy powerhouse for a huge range of entertainment industry groups, encompassing the likes of CBS, HBO, BBC, Sky, Bell Canada, CBS, Hulu, Lionsgate, Foxtel and Village Roadshow, to name a few.

The coalition was announced by former MPAA Chief Chris Dodd and now, with serious financial input from all companies involved, appears to be picking its fights carefully, focusing on the growing problem of streaming piracy centered around misuse of Kodi and similar platforms.

From threatening relatively small-time producers and distributors of third-party addons and builds (1,2,3), ACE is also attempting to make its mark among the profiteers.

The group now has several lawsuits underway in the United States against people selling piracy-enabled IPTV boxes including Tickbox, Dragon Box, and during the last week, Set TV.

With these important cases pending, Rivkin offered assurances that his organization remains committed to anti-piracy enforcement and he thanked exhibitors for their efforts to prevent people quickly running away with copies of the latest releases.

“I am grateful to all of you for recognizing what is at stake, and for working with us to protect creativity, such as fighting the use of illegal camcorders in theaters,” he said.

“Protecting our creativity isn’t only a fundamental right. It’s an economic necessity, for us and all creative economies. Film and television are among the most valuable – and most impactful – exports we have.

Thus far at least, Rivkin has a noticeably less aggressive tone on piracy than his predecessor Chris Dodd but it’s unlikely that will be mistaken for weakness among pirates, nor should it. The MPAA isn’t known for going soft on pirates and it certainly won’t be changing course anytime soon.

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