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back to article Appeals court decides Dotcom warrant was legal after all

A court in New Zealand has ruled that the search warrant used in the arrest of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom was legal, toppling a large part of his defence. The warrant used to arrest Dotcom at his mansion two years ago, as well as to seize his laptops and hard drives was previously ruled illegal back in June 2012, after a …

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Big Brother

When Big Brother Is After You

Everything they do is legal.

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Re: When Big Brother Is After You

I thought the moral objection to a Big Brother was that Big Brother prohibited mere thought-crimes, harms to self alone, and offences against mere morality, on an undemocratic and unaccountable basis.

Kim Dotcom has harmed OTHER people in a big way, by stealing, and helping steal their property and life's work, on a massive scale, and through this destroying thousands of jobs and careers, destroying assets legitimately built up, don't get me started. These are real crimes of which he's rightly accused, properly legislated, by democratically elected governments, acting on behalf of the people, legislation with proper and supportible purposes, please don't even begin...

The executive discretion is indeed broad, but it needs to be. Who will protect you when we come and steal your home and possessions if not fallible police, part of a fallible executive, but who act on the basis of morally supportible and necessary purposes? The warrant might have had a t not crossed but that doesn't amount to an executive beyond the reach of the rule of law, that's an absurd and out-of-place caricature.

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Re: When Big Brother Is After You

Oh god, not another person who believes copyright infringement is theft, but not only theft, theft of property!? Come on, give it a break, we are fed up of the MPAA spiel already. It is, what it is,copyright infringement, that is why it is a separate law to theft. If it were the same, then surely the same law would apply, the fact it doesn't tells you even the authorities don't agree with it being theft.

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FAIL

Re: When Big Brother Is After You

"by stealing, and helping steal"

Is that not a libellous statement? Do you remember that old saying "Innocent until proven guilty"?

I suggest that you consult a lawyer immediately.

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Mushroom

Re: When Big Brother Is After You

I thought the moral objection to a...

I thought all you pro-MPAA/RIAA turds had been flushed down your respective toilets.

Despite you and the industry propaganda suggesting otherwise, copyright infringement is not theft - try reading Dowling v. United States (1985) sometime.

Stop perpetuating bullshit. Thanks.

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In the words of Cornelius Fudge

Laws can be changed if necessary, Dumbledore!

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Re: When Big Brother Is After You

"Who will protect you when we come and steal your home and possessions "

I think the better version of that would be:

Who will protect you when we come and made a copy of your home and possessions...

I will still have my home and possessions, and you will have a duplicate (which in my opinion is not a bad idea as I like my home and possessions).

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Re: When Big Brother Is After You

quote: "Kim Dotcom has harmed OTHER people in a big way, by stealing, and helping steal their property and life's work, on a massive scale, and through this destroying thousands of jobs and careers, destroying assets legitimately built up, don't get me started."

Citation needed. I watched a film the other night without paying the £10 cinema fee, or paying £10 for the DVD/BluRay. Was this the loss of £10 to the film-makers?

No, because I watched it on Sky, and I pay a hell of a lot less than £10 per film viewed for that service. If I can legitimately watch a film for a fraction of the cinema admittance or DVD cost, then someone else watching a film should not be held accountable for the maximum cinema or DVD cost, they should be held accountable for the most cost-effective method of seeing that film.

Napkin maths ahoy...

Sky Movies package cost: £16 per month

Divide by 30 days: £0.533 per day (you can only watch one channel at once, so I'm ignoring the fact you get 11 channels)

Assume 3 hours as a maximum for film length: £0.066 for 3 hours of viewing one Sky Movies channel, in order to watch a specific film

Using those figures, one billion people (1/7th of the total population of the entire world) pirating The Hobbit could be argued as being less than £66.6 million pounds of lost revenue to the movie studio (less than, because that amount has been paid to Sky, not the studio directly). Alternatively you could pick an arbitrary number of movies (note the site simply states "hundreds of movies to choose from"), divide £16 by that number and claim that that is the subscriber cost of any specific movie: 100 movies makes it 16 pence (£160 million per billion pirates), 1000 movies make it 1.6 pence (£16 million per billion pirates).

Compare that to the box-office takings (all legitimate revenue, and does not include legit purchases of DVD/BluRay or Sky licensing fees) of $1,017,003,568 (£609,747,535 at today's exchange rates) and it shows up just how much money the industry wouldn't have made from those people who refuse to pay cinema fees.

£600 million made from people going to the cinema to watch it legit, at best £160 million / probably more like £66 million / at worst £1.6 million cost for a billion subscribers to watch it themselves (multiple times) on Sky completely legitimately, instead of paying the comical cinema fees to see it a total of once.

Feel free to keep insisting that each pirate download is a missed cinema ticket sale, but I for one don't believe a fucking word of it. When one seventh* of the entire planet can use my patented method to legitimately watch a movie for (less than) 25% of the box office take, it doesn't sound like piracy is hurting the business anywhere near as much as they'd have us believe.

*Also note that from a population perspective, both Sky subscriptions and pirated downloads can be viewed as being relevant per household rather than per person: a pirate is likely to let the whole house watch their ill-gotten gains, just like a Sky subscriber lets the whole house watch their legitimate televisual content. Thus 1 billion households of pirates / Sky subscribers could in theory include 50% of the world population; up to around 4 billion people, if you choose to define an average household as 4 people, with an estimated total population of 7.1 billion to divide it by.

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@bigtimehustler Re: When Big Brother Is After You

I see, so there is a difference between copyright infringement in order to enjoy others' property without paying for it, and the crime of theft.

So what do you think the important difference(s) are exactly? Morally, lexically, economically? Morally and economically there is no difference. Lexically there is less than no difference. If you look in a dictionary for what theft means, it will say "stealing". If you look up "stealing" it will say "take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it".

Legally it is a formal rather than a substantive difference. The difference is entirely accounted for by the coming into being of non-physical goods, i.e. intellectual property, in the C19th with the industrial revolution.

It's one thing (and a stupid thing) to argue that in every instance the "big bad corporations" (which actually are the agents of individuals) should not be able to hold intellectual property.

It's another thing entirely to say that artists and technicians who've given their lives to perfecting their arts and crafts should not be paid for their creations which you steal to enjoy.

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Re: When Big Brother Is After You

@Mystic Megabyte

So he can sue me!

"Innocent until proven guilty" as you conceive of it would mean nobody should ever be charged, as we could never consider them blameworthy.

In truth the principle derives and has its FULL EXTENT in the doctrine that it is for the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the offence charged, RATHER than the burden of proof being on the defence to disprove a charge. This relates SOLELY to judges' directions to juries, who are the final arbiters of fact in criminal cases.

If someone is patently, brazenly, obviously a thief, and dishonest, amoral, and destructive, then there is nothing whatever libellous in saying so.

By the way if you knew the first thing about the law you'd know all of the above.

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@Ross K Re: When Big Brother Is After You

Ross, Dowling v United States (1985) relates solely to handling of stolen property. It found for the purposes of the law relating to the transport of stolen property over state lines, which was "stolen, converted or taken by fraud", stolen intellectual property wasn't to be treated in the same way as stolen tangible property in a particular state.

That doesn't mean filesharing of copyrighted work is any less stealing, is any less a moral wrong, is any less economically and socially destructive, besides the fact it doesn't make it any less illegal.

I'm afraid you have no moral arguments or legal arguments whatever.

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@JoshOvki Re: When Big Brother Is After You

What we're talking about Josh is expecting others not to be paid for their work. If we take either your earnings or that which you've bought through your earnings, that replicates the scenario in your life, which filesharers insist should be wrought upon owners and creators of intellectual property and their agents and assistants.

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@NumptyScrub Re: When Big Brother Is After You

"Feel free to keep insisting that each pirate download is a missed cinema ticket sale"

Straw man - at no point was that stated. I'm sorry but it's basic econ. Even if you argue that every dollar saved on buying movies is spent on skateboards, my moral premise still holds: those who've devoted their lives to giving you joy through their art are not being paid a penny for it. Why should we not likewise deprive you of your earnings? Why should we not support strong markets in the creative sector? Why should we not support the idea of markets and property as such, given they reward the efforts of some of the lowest-paid and most joy-giving people in our society, artists and those who support them?

The Freakonomics authors suggest the "skateboard" thesis but they don't account for misallocation of demand (see above) nor do they account for the possibility that macroeconomically there is a diminution of throughput because of transfer to sectors with lower monetary velocity, e.g. telecoms.

http://freakonomics.com/2012/01/12/how-much-do-music-and-movie-piracy-really-hurt-the-u-s-economy/

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Re: @Ross K When Big Brother Is After You

Read it. Bootleg records transported across the country, not stolen goods.

The argument was that bootleg = stolen but the Supreme Court said no.

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Re: When Big Brother Is After You

Although your arithmetic is a little fuzzy to me, I do agree with the thrust of you argument, for that you get an up-vote. I would have liked to hear you address this part too... "...harmed OTHER people in a big way, by stealing, and helping steal their property and life's work, on a massive scale, and through this destroying thousands of jobs and careers, destroying assets legitimately built up..."

Wow, talk about hyperbole.

In case anybody is passing judgement on my presumed digital activities based on my above stand, here I am: 23 years ago a friend and I traded CD collections to copy and archive as remote backups for each. I seldom listened to his stuff, and he mine. Now that collection is virtually mute. Yesterday, for the first time in almost a year, I listened to a half a dozen random songs out of boredom whilst waiting on a Source Forge download over a particularly bad connection.

P.S. Years ago some countries imposed surcharges, or taxes if you will, on CD sales, earmarked for the music industry to reimburse them for lost sales. I am curious as to how that worked out, especially for the artists, and whether such a scheme could work today with torrents and p2p.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: When Big Brother Is After You

surcharges legitimises piracy and give money to cunts that don't deserve money. Ergo, why should some shit western mega label get my money when all I do is listen to Japanese and Korean music? Answer they shouldn't.

Also why should you buy music when you have already paid for it via a surcharge.

Anyway it's all crap, the music and movie industries have never been hurting it''s all just one giant BS pile so they can keep their CD sales going. The only CDs worth picking up are ones with lots of bonus material (photobooks, autographs, photocards, booklets, etc, etc, etc)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: When Big Brother Is After You

> Kim Dotcom has harmed OTHER people

No mate, he hasn't. He's pissed on some greedy bastard corporations' parade.

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Re: When Big Brother Is After You

No, it's not. Dotcom is a confidence trickster, pure and simple, and nothing to do with copyright infringment. Check out his record as a pump-and-dump scammer in Germany before he fled that country.

Then you can consider why, despite loudly talking about all the great things he's going to do for New Zealand, he makes no effort to spend his court-allowed $30,000 per month living allowance on paying off some of his debts to ordinary, hard-working Kiwi businesses and people he owes.

Kim Dotcom is scum. Support him if you like, but be aware that if others don't share your opinion, that's not necessarily because they're shills for Big Copyright.

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Idiot

"Kim Dotcom has harmed OTHER people in a big way, by stealing, and helping steal their property and life's work, on a massive scale, and through this destroying thousands of jobs and careers, destroying assets legitimately built up, don't get me started."

Started thinking do you mean?

Because even the US government don't believe he is guilty yet.

They seem bent on proving it whether he is or not but that is besides the point.

If you change your mind about thinking, please let me know so that I can find out how you imagine he has destroyed "thousands of jobs and careers, destroying assets legitimately built up".

I am assuming you are assuming that he personally copied every one of the items you seem to think he has -whatever "they" are. So explain how he can do it at a profit when firms like AOL Time Warner couldn't.

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Re: @NumptyScrub When Big Brother Is After You

quote: "Straw man - at no point was that stated. I'm sorry but it's basic econ. Even if you argue that every dollar saved on buying movies is spent on skateboards, my moral premise still holds: those who've devoted their lives to giving you joy through their art are not being paid a penny for it."

Rebuttal: that same post points out that The Hobbit took more in the box office than would be made by possibly the entire planet legitimately paying Sky to watch it on their movie channels (1 billion households would be spending from £16m<£66.6m<£160m vs. the actual £600m box office take for The Hobbit as per my rubbish maths).

Your strawman is claiming that thousands of jobs are lost through piracy but not providing one single link backing up that claim, whereas my dubious maths at least uses the actual cost of Sky Movies, and the actual box office takings of that film to arrive at its debatable conclusion of the actual fiscal damage of piracy. You have all the info you need to use an alternative calculation method to rebuff my claimed "costs" and create your own. Almost every argument I have seen (including your post quoted above) claims or implies that there is a direct fiscal loss for every pirate download (aka "not being paid a penny for it").

So you show me exactly what the direct fiscal loss is, because I've already given you my calculation of it, and it is not a lot at all; somewhere between 1.6 pence and 16 pence, with my personal estimate at around 6.6 pence as a good average for "what it would cost someone to watch this film if they were looking for the cheapest legitimate option". Evey single soul on the planet (7.1 billion people) downloading the The Hobbit would, according to my calculations, have a direct fiscal loss of 1.6p * 7.1E9 = £113.6 million pounds revenue to Sky for them to watch it legitimately (at 6.6p per film it becomes £468.6 million, still short of the recorded £600 million box office earnings). That is, if every single person on the planet (including babies in Africa and the CEOs of the movie studios) all separately downloaded The Hobbit this evening, I am arguing that the direct fiscal loss should be calculated as a bit less than it already took at the box office.

Or to put it another way: I subscribe to Sky Movies (the whole package of crap, people in my house are apparently addicted to television). If I go and download "A Good Day to Die Hard" right now, which is being shown on Sky Movies as I type this and that I have thus already paid for the rights to watch (or Tivo it to timeshift), how much has that act of piracy cost the movie studios? It is an illegal download and copyright infringement, and if you are correct also a callous act of theft which will cause jobs to be lost and rights-holders to be denied payment.

It's on again at 20:00 this evening, and I'll probably watch it now (I haven't yet but this has piqued my interest). Exactly how much mayhem and (fiscal) damage will I cause if I accidentally watch an illegally downloaded copy instead of the one on Sky that I've paid for? Approximately fuck all as I see it (end result: I have watched a film I am entitled to watch), but legally one is a criminal act that is destroying the industry, and one is pefectly legitimate.

How many households do you know that don't have subscription television services? I suspect an awful lot of "piracy" is impatient idiots just pre-emptively timeshifting access to content that they will be able to legally watch in a mere few months, on the channels that they are already paying for. Still blatantly copyright infringement, of course, but they are contributing to the income of movie studios regardless, thanks to subscription TV's relentless push to have new films on, and willingness to sign licensing deals and pay the movie studios to do so.

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Vic
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Re: @NumptyScrub When Big Brother Is After You

> It's on again at 20:00 this evening, and I'll probably watch it now

Best not to.

It is an exceedingly disappointing attempt to bridge the brand over to another, younger actor...

Vic.

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Re: @bigtimehustler When Big Brother Is After You

'"take (another person's property) without permission or legal right and without intending to return it".'

"take"

Dotcom isn't accused of taking - he is accused of helping others to copy things. But copying isn't the same as taking

"another person's property"

Copyright isn't property. 'Intellectual property' is a horseshit phrase used to justify overreaction

"without intending to return it"

You can't return something that you haven't taken

"without permission or legal right"

Well, at least you got one thing right.

Stealing and copyright infringement are different things. I appreciate "I see, so there is a difference between copyright infringement [...], and the crime of theft." was supposed to be saracstic, but it really shouldn't have been

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Headmaster

Re: When Big Brother Is After You

"Innocent until proven guilty"?

It is actually "Innocent *unless* proven guilty"? The until implies that the guilt will be proven.

Yes, I just recently went in for jury service. Why do you ask?

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Silver badge

Southern Fried Chicken

or Kiwi.

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But....but...

There's nothing worth pirating anymore

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Anonymous Coward

NZ Govt

Is this the same Govt that's negotiating a secret trade deal to the detriment of the people of NZ, by extending similar "rights" to those allegedly infringed by Dotcom, to large corporations, particularly US ones?

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Re: NZ Govt

You must be a NZ Labour supporter, whose leader (in opposition) called for the entire text of the trade agreement to be released before it was signed, to allow new zealanders to vote on it. Now as a (self-claimed) former trade negotiator, Mr Cunliffe would know that any premature release of an agreement before it was signed would be a breach of good faith and result in NZ being banned from all future negotiations. And yes, you display ignorance in the same order of magnitude.

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"But the New Zealand government, acting for the US authorities"

`nuff said.

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Anonymous Coward

> "But the New Zealand government, acting for the US authorities"

I trust they (gov.nz) will be reimbursed for their troubles.

Would be a bit rich otherwise, coming from the country that wants you to call a premium rate number to get a visa appointment.

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Anonymous Coward

FANTASTIC NEWS!!

It's moving forward and hopefully will be settled too! It's about time that multimillionaire studio owners got something back for the effort they put into producing such gems as Sharktopus. Anyone that says they already have enough money from selling the content in the first place is just so out of the loop...they don't even know how much it costs to refit a gulfstream ffs!

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Special offer, country for sale, going cheap...

I wonder how much that cost the US Gov in bribes & favours?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Special offer, country for sale, going cheap...

Nothing probably, they likely said "if you don't do as we say we'll start sticking massive levies on your exports, screw you in the WTO, start harassing your tourists, and don't be surprised if your visa application acceptance rate drops"

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Black Helicopters

Re: Special offer, country for sale, going cheap...

"Wouldn't it be unfortunate if somebody leaked information about the things you get upto?"

"Not that we would ever do such a thing, that's not why our National Security Agency have been invading, collating, and recording your communications privacy, no siree"

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Re: Special offer, country for sale, going cheap...

We sent them the remaining copies of "Sharktopus" and promised them that "Sharktopus 2, the eye of the storm" will be produced in their country.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Special offer, country for sale, going cheap...

> I wonder how much that cost the US Gov in bribes & favours?

Couple sheep, maybe a goat.

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Vic
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Re: Special offer, country for sale, going cheap...

> don't be surprised if your visa application acceptance rate drops

Well, George Bush did make a big fuss about his "War on Tourism"...

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

No surprise, no one is allowed to question the authority of the world police less they be declared and rogue state.

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Anonymous Coward

Because as we all know

Every pirated movie is a lost sale.

*cough*

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/12/05/swiss-government-study-finds-internet-downloads-increase-sales/

*cough*

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Should be easy to appeal

After all, it has been successfully argued that things like parking tickets that have inaccuracies or omissions aren't valid. This is to prevent parking clowns just slapping generic "U owe us Money" tickets around, instead of properly identifying the infringing action.

It'

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Re: Should be easy to appeal

That would soon change though if the US decided that (for whatever reason) they wanted all those parking tickets to be enforced.

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Sergei and Larry's arrest should be a doozie

While Kim has some cash and nice toys, I can't imagine his resources are quite up to par with Larry and Sergei - you know the dudes who run the big video pirating site and the illegal file distribution network known as Google Drive.

Be interesting to see if they keel over or have a cinematic 007 style escape plan.

They could even stream the action!!!

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