Kim Dotcom Extradition Hearing Begins

Kim Dotcom's extradition hearing has begun in New Zealand. It is expected to take 4 weeks. It's being heard together with the extradition requests for his MegaUpload partners, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann, and Bram van der Kolk. [More...]

If you don't remember how big Megaupload was, at one time it had 50 million users a day and comprised 4% of the Internet.

At today's hearing:

Kim Dotcom's lawyer says New Zealand's copyright law provides a safe harbour for his client which should end the United States' extradition bid....Ron Mansfield said Megaupload was effectively an internet service provider and as such, under the Copyright Act, could not be prosecuted. It was the first time the issue had been raised in reference to Dotcom's cas

This case is now more than 3 years old.

Plenty has happened to the flamboyant 41-year-old playboy since his dramatic arrest in 2012. He’s launched a political career, made forays into the music industry and endured a high-profile separation from his wife, all the while crusading for his innocence and internet freedom.

Opinions are split over whether Dotcom is an internet criminal or a fearless freedom fighter. But what is undeniable is that even in the midst of a protracted legal battle, he has been far from boring.

According to Kim Dotcom:

“The question is innovator or pirate. The answer will be internet freedom or censorship.”

New Zealand prosecutors have spent $5.8 million and 30,000 hours:

Taxpayers have invested a "colossal" 29,344 hours of legal work into the Megaupload and Kim Dotcom legal cases - equivalent to $5.8 million in fees, the Crown Law Office has confirmed.

Of that, two-thirds of the hours have gone into the extradition request from the United States - ....It has been 1337 days since the January 2012 raid saw the arrest of Dotcom and three others at the request of the United States on charges of criminal copyright violations. The charges related to the operation of the filesharing website Megaupload.

My opinion: This case is a colossal waste of money and resources of two countries. This should be a civil case between Hollywood and MegaUpload. Having our Government intervene as a lackey for the Hollywood studios and attempt to tear these men from their lives and families while at the same time freezing their funds so they can't properly match the resources used against them is just plain wrong and unfair.

You can follow Kim Dotcom's tweets about the trial @kimdotcom. He's also got an entertaining website about the case here.

My 70 plus posts about the case are accessible here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    I can't believe it has been 3 years (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by sj on Mon Sep 21, 2015 at 08:57:47 PM EST
    Yes, this is a colossal waste of money and resources.

    Congress... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Sep 22, 2015 at 12:02:33 PM EST
    ...IMO created this problem when they didn't pass SOPA & PIPA, which was to happen either the day before or the day of the raid.

    Had those passed, Kim.com would be in jail without a defense.  I thin the DOJ was operating under the assumption that they would pass and acted accordingly, and now they have invested way too much to walk away.

    A real shame, but the bigger shame would have been Congress passing SOPA & PIPA.  And say what you want about the media, had they not intervened(reported) and put this on the front page with the aid of the internet blackout in 2012.

    I don't know the law he's trying to hide behind, (none / 0) (#4)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Sep 22, 2015 at 02:38:34 PM EST
    the ISP as common carrier thing.  But I do know what was available on megaupload.com.  Movies, movies, and more movies.  People have tried to argue that he was simply allowing safe archival or storage of personal data, but that was an infinitesimal part of what was up there.  It was a candy store.

    Captain Howdy was on the other side of this issue.  I feel for Hollywood's working stiffs, if they were affected by the downloading.  


    Not me personally thank goodness (none / 0) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Sep 22, 2015 at 03:26:13 PM EST
    But friends.  They are still dealing with the fallout.  

    Not So Much the Actual IP Address... (none / 0) (#6)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Sep 22, 2015 at 05:04:25 PM EST
    ...as to the powers it gave the DOJ to shut down and confiscate along with the rules of evidence in court, that would have turned this case into an instant winner.  I am convinced they were betting it would be approved when they raided Kim.com, otherwise what they did makes no sense.

    If anything, everything the DOJ destroyed that was unique and user created was destroying copyrighted data, and there was a lot of it, and that is what they are claiming to protect, but they were the ones doing it.  The difference of course is those users don't have the funds to have the DOJ arresting the perpetrators of those kinds of copyright crimes.


    Hollywood can kiss my @ss, when I own the album, tape, and CD and I can't find anyplace to download it, I will be damned if I am going to pay retail again just so I can put it on my phone, iPod, or whatever.

    Same with movies, If I already purchased the VHS, DVD, or a format that would work on my first phone/laptop, I will be GD'ed if I am going to pay retail again so that I can watch it on a format suited for my latest devise.  I already own the rights, and especially with music, I have bought the rights again and again and again.

    I guarantee that I have at least 10 albums in which I have purchased the rights for over 10 times, from broken LP's to tapes in the sun, to losing a hard-drive long ago with loads of music on it.  If there is a new, better format that MP3, MOV, MPEG, or AAC, and there will be, they will insist you purchase, again.

    Hollywood is so stuck on getting royalties for things they don't deserve royalties on that they have completely failed to cater to people who actually buy their goods but find themselves needing something they already purchased, but in the 'new' format.  

    Either I own the rights or the media, same with them, they want to say they own both, they do not.  I bought one or the other.  And since I purchased a $.05 CD for $15 dollars, I am going to say that is a purchase of the rights to that music, so I should be able to get it in the future in any format and only have to pay for the media, which now is basically free (0's & 1's).  They could easily create a website where you could register what you purchased, and if your phone finds itself in a pool, your harddrive gets a virus, you go and get what you already purchased.  But they want you to pay for again, even though you already own it.

    They are driving people to go where they can buy what they already own, cheaply, and once they are there, and realize the convenience that the black-market offers, specially with movies and formats, they lose paying customers because of their obvious greed.

    So I will say it again, Hollywood can kiss my @ss.

    ~End of rant~

    And sorry for getting off topic.


    Being a musician, (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by lentinel on Tue Sep 22, 2015 at 06:21:27 PM EST
    it is hard for me to feel that you own anything but the physical copy you purchased. I can't see that you own any of the rights to the music. The music belongs to the composer and the publisher, and is generally copyrighted by one or the other or both.

    I have personally purchased CDs of music which I have already owned on LP. And visa/versa.
    I never considered that I had any right to receive a copy for free in a different format.

    Perhaps I misunderstood your post.


    No, You Did Not... (none / 0) (#9)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Sep 23, 2015 at 09:32:51 AM EST
    ...and when I say rights, I mean the rights to listen to the music or view the movie, legally.  Now, that right isn't always to own, sometimes, like with spotify and movies, you pay for the rights for a designated time period, a day, a month.  There is no media beyond downloading/streaming to your device/TV.

    This is the crux of the entire debate, who owns(rentals are temporary ownership) what.  They don't bust people for sharing the media, they bust them for sharing copyrighted information.

    Example, you buy a CD, you let a friend get a copy.  That is illegal, not because of the media, a CD, or tape, or electronic impulses, it is illegal because only you purchased the rights to listen to that music, your friend did not, even though they own the actual media/devise the copyrighted information is on.

    The two are separable and generally the true object is the music, not the media.

    FWIW, my beef is with the people you work for, not the artists.  I would imagine many of then have the same beef, ridiculously greedy executives taking advantage of them.


    Same here. I have zero sympathy (none / 0) (#10)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Sep 23, 2015 at 02:55:49 PM EST
    for the pigs at the top of that food chain.

    Neither do the artists.  About twenty years ago I saw Joni Mitchell in concert.  She spoke for a moment during the show, explaining why she was singing none of her old songs.  It was because of the unmitigated greed of her old publisher, whose tentacles remained firmly in her flesh even after decades.


    The DMCA at the heart of Kim's problems (none / 0) (#2)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Sep 22, 2015 at 11:48:04 AM EST
    Back in the day (none / 0) (#7)
    by ragebot on Tue Sep 22, 2015 at 05:54:26 PM EST
    I remember running some analysis using SPSS on a big CDC mainframe and my stat prof remarked when I turned in the assignment if I had done the same thing ten years ago I would have been in contention for a Nobel Prize.

    Even if the prof's analysis was not correct it did underline just how far and how quickly computer technology had advanced.

    That is the heart of what is happening with this issue.  I remember on the old Cyberia usenet group discussion about how in Shakespear's time artists only expected to be paid for live performances.  Once Edison developed a method to record music which could be replayed again and again the genie was out of the bottle.  The Sony case made it clear time shifting was OK according to the courts.

    Problem was as technology got better the price of creating a copy of movies, music, electronic books was reduced to almost nothing.  And the cost for sharing those copies was also almost nothing.

    Say what you want about Kim, or Pirate Bay.  But the reason we know those names are because they are the biggest targets.  As soon as one big target goes down multiple smaller one pop up.

    Even with massive bribes from Hollywood to corrupt pols it has been obvious file sharing is here to stay and trying to fight it is even sillier than trying to fight the war on drugs.

    At least with drugs there is a physical product that has to be transported from place to place; not so with digital files you simply press a button and it goes over the internet.