It came out later that the "Near a firearm" means in the same room as a gun in a gun safe that was not open.
A real threat to public safety requiring the efforts of 70 police officers and two helicopters!!!!
Kim Dotcom has retained and then lost a star-quality US attorney, as debate over the raid and the Megaupload owner’s residency turns political in New Zealand. At issue in the political debate is why Dotcom, who was refused permission to purchase the multi-million dollar mansion he occupied on character grounds, was nonetheless …
It came out later that the "Near a firearm" means in the same room as a gun in a gun safe that was not open.
A real threat to public safety requiring the efforts of 70 police officers and two helicopters!!!!
Fits well with the drama though. I recall him as a bit of a drama queen, so he might not even mind all that much that the FBI has been laying it on rather thickly from the outset.
The thing is of course that it's quite impossible now to give him a fair trial. As an argument in the SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/whatever farce, it could still go either way. And as a distraction it could still backfire. But it certainly doesn't look good for anyone's rights. Except for those of the executives that've apparently bought the legislative AND law enforcement branches of the current USoA administration.
A fair trial might be even more difficult now they have seized all his assets and he might not be able to pay for his own lawyer. What is interesting is that they have seized all his stuff BEFORE he has had his day in court, so I guess he has been presumed guilty from the outset.
As much as I despise the guy, chance are that IF I had a panic room I would most probably have in there the nastiest knock-back, close-quarters-friendly weapon that the law and my budget would allow. A short 10-gauge shotgun and a stock of buckshots seems likely.
Also, if I was a dubious-character millionaire in such a big mansion, chances are that IF my door was rammed down at dawn, I would make my way to the aforementionned saferoom as fast as I could (which, IF I was 140 kg, would not be very fast, probably).
There's nothing here that modifies my opinion on Kim Dotcom, either in good or bad. He did what anyone would have done in similar circumstances I guess.
The story does not say whether he contacted the local authorities from the saferoom, and why he did not open fire on the "intruders" when the door went down (although I have a hunch that the local police might not have been notified of the operation. [SRCSM] Why would an US-mandated operation worry about local law enforcement... [/SRCSM])
I'd want to know how they cut into the panic room and whether this was in contradiction to the sales brochure.
Makes you seriously wonder if the whole SOAP (ok; sopa) thing is actually real or merely a ruse to test public opinion. After all; this clearly shows that if the US feels like it they obviously don't need some soap regulation to warrant their actions. They go in anyway.
"Who cares about laws when we all know they're guilty". Yeah, very reliable words right there.
The charges were filed after he used artists in a promotional video and after he filed a countersuit against UMG for illegitimate takedown of his promotional videos.
It is retaliation in a contract dispute - he has managed to get an A-list of "indentured for life" artists "owned" by UMG to participate in his video against the will of their "owner". He has also managed to make youtube reinstate it after a UMG DMCA takedown as he is the rightful copyright owner.
His guilt is not that he operated a dubious legality business (many others do). It is that he has tried to legitimise it using "assets" owned by the media conglomerates. Wrong idea. It took only two weeks after he has had his videos reinstated by GooTube to file for an indictment and two more weeks to have it issued and acted upon by another country. The wheels of justice sure turn fast if they are being greased by the right people for the right people.
I agree that the 'megasong' incident probably pushed things along, but I'm pretty sure he was being investigated long before that.
I'm a great supporter of these file lockers and have used them often, but one thing to note about megaupload, is that apparently when there was a take down request, only the link was deleted - the file remained on the servers and could be given a new link by the owner - megaupload even supported tools to do this automatically. Maybe the deletion of links rather than files has a defence that it might be the owners personal backup of the original content, but that's probably one for Kim's lawyers to argue about for the next couple of years.
The guys biggest mistake was not keeping his head down. Buying a fleet of Mercs in New Zealand. with number plates like 'Police' 'Stoner' 'Mafia' 'Guilt' 'Hacker' and 'God' wasn't really the best way of staying inconspicuous.
I agree, but the question remains.....'What is takedown'.
If the material is not still accessible via the method, is this not takedown? If the original uploaded then chooses to make it available again through another method (link), then isn't that the same as him uploading another copy and another link being created automatically? What's the difference? Just saves the upload.
The whole problem with this is, the laws involved are often pre-computers and therefore don't make sense in a computerised world, or are so badly drafted by people without a clue of the technicals. Either way, you could argue technical points till the cows come home. The only answer is to scrap all existing and start from scratch with sensible laws based on technology and digital content.
Even if megaupload made life difficult for the copyright holder, that doesn't matter as long as what they did was within the law. All you have to do is stay just the right side of the law, not make the laws life easy!!
In this case, they are no more guilty of an offence than many other websites and all ISPs. In all cases, you have a service that can be used rightly or wrongly. If someone uses it wrongly, is that the fault of the service provider? ISPs are lucky in that they have a specific law that puts them in the clear. They are explicitly not responsible for what happens across their service. Why should they have a special exemption, but not file repositories? Surely allow the illegal transportation of a 'copyright theft' file is equally as bad as storing it?
Yes the laws need to catch up, and it will be interesting how this case pans out and what arguments are used.
Rightly or wrongly ISP's will be safe because they're mainly used legitimately and more importantly are owned by big business.
I'm pretty sure that megaupload's lawyers won't use the ISP argument much - they'll go for Youtube/Google. Youtube is much more of a household name than megaupload and I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of it's content infringes copyright, they reward uploaders, have searchable content etc etc - but the big difference is that it's owned by google.
If there was justice, then Youtube would be treated the same as megaupload, but I have zero faith in any kind of justice in the US when the interests of big business are a stake.
Interesting that you should suggest ISPs are mostly used legitimarely. I don't know what the legal/illegal mis is over their links, but according to most reports I've seen, a very large amount is illegal (depending on your definitions of this term). Does it matter how much though? Surely, a crime is a crime?
As you say, YouTube is probably the best analogy. This whole case is demonstrating more and more how big business owns governments, law enforcement, the judiciary et al. All the more reason to move your business to come nice backwater that doesn't like the USA. Wonder what the Cuban market is like?
>>"I agree, but the question remains.....'What is takedown'."
Well, I'd have thought that to an honest person, unless they actually had reason to believe the takedown request was illegitimate, 'takedown' would generally involve either deleting the supposedly-offending data, or deleting any other active links to it that existed*.
Unless they had for some reason designed their system to make finding other links difficult to do, in which case they could still delete the data itself.
Even if the takedown notice merely requests 'removing access to' infringing material rather than demanding its deletion, someone who knowingly only deleted one of many links to the material wouldn't really seem to be complying with the terms of the request.
(*Obviously, if uploaders are contactable, then all uploaders of an allegedly-infringing file should be contacted when a takedown request is made. If uploaders are anonymous, then I guess the assumption would have to be that they don't object to deletion, rather than that they do.)
>>"In this case, they are no more guilty of an offence than many other websites and all ISPs. "
Well, I guess that depends whether one subscribes to the logic that if you can think of a way in which two operations are similar, that means you can legitimately claim that there are absolutely no differences between them in practice, whatever the law might say.
>>"ISPs are lucky in that they have a specific law that puts them in the clear. They are explicitly not responsible for what happens across their service. Why should they have a special exemption, but not file repositories? Surely allow the illegal transportation of a 'copyright theft' file is equally as bad as storing it?"
It's hard to see how people can't see the difference between:
a) A carrier which doesn't store copies of the data it carries for longer than necessary for transmission, and a file repository whose whole raison d'etre is the storage of information.
b) A carrier which typically has some serious obligations with respect to privacy of communications and a file repository which actively rewards people for sharing access to files they upload with as many people as possible, and which is effectively acting more like a publisher than even a regular file storage facility where individuals keep their own data.
c) (further to a)) A carrier which pretty much unavoidably can only receive allegations of past infringing action, which it may find difficult to confirm or refute even if it wanted to, and a file-hosting site which can receive allegations of *ongoing* infringing activity, which much of the time, if it chooses, it can take some steps to confirm.
d) A carrier which, short of sanctioning a user, can do nothing regarding past *actions* which have pretty much always finished before a complaint is received, and a file-hosting service which quite clearly can easily take action against continually-infringing *files*, if they have not already been deleted for one or other reason.
>>"Even if megaupload made life difficult for the copyright holder, that doesn't matter as long as what they did was within the law. All you have to do is stay just the right side of the law, not make the laws life easy!!"
Well, assuming for the sake of argument that nothing they did was *obviously illegal*, if someone is attempting to stay just on the right side of the law, and *especially* if they're going to be doing that for profit, publicly, and on a large scale, in the absence of good legal precedent* that they really *are* legal, they're taking a pretty big gamble, and if the gamble doesn't work out, they don't obviously have anyone to blame but themselves.
(*And good legal precedent doesn't include trying to equate activities which really aren't equal.)
I'm sure there are plenty of people who managed to convince themselves that what *they* were doing was just-barely-legal or even more-than-just-barely-legal, but who found out that their opinion wasn't shared by a jury, and ended up in jail.
The more profit someone might make out of doing something, the keener they may be to err on the side of recklessness when trying to work out the legality of their actions.
After a dotcom bust surely a dotcom boom must follow?
Mr. Dotcom is in for some slightly different accommodations.
It is not unusual for a wealthy person to have a safe room, nor to retreat to it while under attack even by uniformed law officers. Some criminals do, after all, wear costumes or violate the law while officially in uniform.
The man has been painted as an unsympathetic figure. But if being a wealthy excentric prone to excess were illegal there's a lot of folk in the US on that list to look to before exploring New Zealand.
It seems unlikely that a man of Mr. Dotcom's means doesn't have sufficient funds in a safe harbor adequate to his defense. But stranger things have happened.
.. or to express a view. I'm not American. Whether my views - whatever they might be - should in any way have any bearing on American law (whether or not American law believes it should have any impact on me) is not the point.
And yes. I know expecting or hoping for logic in legislative activity is hoping for far too much.
However. For those who may wish to consider it, herewith.
I could have posted this on the original report of the bust. But heck. There's a gun in this one as well.
Imagine. You're back at school. You have a Philosophy paper. Or, as it might be, a Sociology paper. Or some other ology. And there's a question:
1: Guns do not kill people. People kill people. To hold those who manufacture or sell firearms liable in any way for the improper actions some take with their product is not a Good Thing(tm).
2: Filesharing sites do not abuse copyright. People abuse copyright. However, while there are indeed those who use filesharing sites in a proper manner, there are those who do not. To hold the providers of such sites liable for the improper actions of those using their sites is a Good Thing(tm).
There. That's it. Discuss. Or do not. Or ignore me. IT's probably better that way. There. I don't exist. This post doesn't exist. It was all a dream. Any moment now, Bobby is going to step out of the shower....
TBH I am big on personal responsibility.
Trying to blame the sites is almost as silly as trying to blame the ISP's for piracy.
Now if the content providers allowed a decent online experience outside the USA I have a feeling that a significant amount of the piracy that goes on would diminish and we would then have not only a more manageable issue but also a significant lack of excuses why it happens.
Consider in the US you have Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu+ as options, none of which are available outside of the US and which I am convinced are not available because the networks and media companies do not allow it.
The media companies need to get into the 21st century and deliver their content in a modern manner for the whole world, not just the USA.
However half of it is irrelevant. No gun was fired (that I know of). No gunwound is to deplore. It would make for a long fruitless thread. Letś ignore that one.
Filesharing is technically neutral. Free centralised e-lockers can be used for good, or bad, or goatse. They do not, in my admitedly "small minded and unreasonable" brain, have any intrinsic technical or cultural value. They can be convenient for some, and I would hate to see them disappear, had I been foolish enough to rely on them. But they are little more than convenient ftp replacement for the lazy/cheapstakes/technically challenged. Or for people trying to avoid lawsuits. Decentralised -AKA P2P- protocols, however, do represent a technical improvement, in and by themselves, and THAT is worth fighting for; regardless of the content they convey, they can work around bottlenecks, they deal well with localized catastrophic events, and they trump localized abuse of power (the latest might be why the Recording Industry Ass. of America and friends want to see them dead). Network-wise, they are the solution to a lot -if not most- of the problems in the traditional client-server information transfer model. (-1 point to me for the buzzphrase, I know; sorry, don't know how to express it otherwise).
So, what's my grade?
... any right or ability to 'grade'. It was merely the logical inconsistency suggested by the pairs of statements, and the approach apparently taken to each set of circumstances.
But as I said. To hope for logic and consistency in legislation is itself likely to be found lacking in logic. Me? I'm used to being found lacking in logic and consistency. I'm married :-).
Calm down, Paledon, calm down. It's not all a dream, it is the great game. How are you enjoying its IT Promotions? Still too low key and stealthy? Too SMART and Nerdy to be more simply understood?
Ok .....that requires just a change to more moderate descriptive language to capture the uneducated and illiterate, who are a massive number.
"However half of it is irrelevant. No gun was fired (that I know of). No gunwound is to deplore. It would make for a long fruitless thread. Letś ignore that one."
I dont think the point of the "discuss" was to discuss the legality or morality of firearms. If it was, I agree that it is irrelevant.
However, as I read it, the question is given that we are operating off an assumption that ownership of a gun (and therefore the sale and advertising of said firearm) is neutral and its only bad people who kill with guns, doesnt the same reasoning apply to fileshareing.
Filesharing is done with tools which dont intrinsically breach RIAA copyrights, just like a gun is a tool which doesnt intrinsically kill people.
Filesharing sites are a place where people can find and share files, but they do not intrinsically breach RIAA copyrights any more than gun shops or gun clubs kill people.
If a bad person goes to a gun shop, buys a gun and shoots someone you punish the bad person, not the gun shop or manufacturers. (Ideally, I know this isnt always the case).
However, if a bad person goes to a filesharing site and uses filesharing tools to breach a copyright, the only reason the site is punished is because its a bit difficult to catch the bad person.
It is, to me, a bit of a double standard.
But if the gun analogy were broadened to include co-conspirators in an act of terrorism, I think most would agree that such co-conspirators should be pursued for their role even though they did not personally pull the trigger.
To the extent that copyrights exist and are something we wish to enforce (a position I am not advocating), one needs to look at each party involved in a breach and determine their intention: was the breach incidental to a wider purpose (such as providing a generic internet service) or a deliberate act (such as a service whose primary purpose is to assist/enable/exacerbate such breaches). Were it the latter, I do not feel that such a party is quite analogous to a gun club or gun shop, but perhaps more analogous to a terrorist training camp.
...pray that I do not ..... er........
The original gun shop analogy seems to miss the mark somehow. I'm not sure this reformulation is spot-on either, but here's the idea:
Not all kinds of firearms can be legally sold, in various jurisdictions.
If a gun shop wants to stay in business, it needs to make sure it's not stocking its shelves with--or at the very least not letting customers out the door with--firearms that would be illegal for it to distribute in its locality.
The gun shop may also be required to conduct background checks and/or enforce waiting periods prior to purchase.
If the gun shop fails in these areas, it's considered the gun shop's fault.
Could this level of vendor responsibility be seen as analogous to a file upload site being required to put some level of diligence into enforcing takedown requests from copyright holders?
A gun shop is not a good analogy at all, since the gun shop knowingly purchases their stock and directly offers it for sale.
A closer analogy would be a shopping mall which rents out units to third parties, and those third parties then decide what to stock and sell.
With the shear volume of content available on megaupload, it was not realistic for them to analyse every file... However they did act upon complaints when such complaints were received.
Personally i have used megaupload for various legal downloads, in particular i have downloaded linux based firmware images for routers and set top boxes from there. When you are developing a project that is given away for free, you don't exactly have a large budget for hosting services so it makes sense to use a free service like this.
But imho it falls flat due to the fact that i am yet to see the first casualty of copyright infringement.
you can't compare facilitating murder with facilitating theft.
In the UK many privately owned guns are kept at gun clubs, this may well be a better analogy. The gun club keeps an individual's privately owned weapon, were the individual to own an illegal weapon or a weapon they weren't entitled town (there are different categories of weapon) the club would be breaking the law by holding the weapon for them.
With regard to your argument about the volume of files uploaded to the service - youtube operate a content holder's system which allows content holders to mark their own files which they want to be uploaded and ones which belong to them which shouldn't have been uploaded. It's not perfect, but it is at least an attempt to prevent copyright infringement.
"But if the gun analogy were broadened to include co-conspirators in an act of terrorism, I think most would agree that such co-conspirators should be pursued for their role even though they did not personally pull the trigger."
Did the fertilizer manufacturer or the nitromethane fuel company get sued when McVeigh bombed Oklahoma City in 1995? Did Ryder get sued for renting him the truck?
There is a gulf of difference between a co-conspirator and a service provider.
>>"1: Guns do not kill people. People kill people. To hold those who manufacture or sell firearms liable in any way for the improper actions some take with their product is not a Good Thing(tm).
>>"2: Filesharing sites do not abuse copyright. People abuse copyright. However, while there are indeed those who use filesharing sites in a proper manner, there are those who do not. To hold the providers of such sites liable for the improper actions of those using their sites is a Good Thing(tm).
I suppose in the gun situation, it might depend how 'responsibly' a seller was acting.
If one seller repeatedly sold guns to people without keeping any records, or knowingly repeatedly sold guns to people who had used them in ways they shouldn't have, they might be morally/legally open to more action against them than a seller who didn't.
Likewise, a filesharing site which allowed anonymous uploads, or which didn't take any actions against people who repeatedly uploaded stuff which generated legal complaints might be morally/legally on dodgier ground than one which didn't allow anonymous uploads and which held infringing uploaders to account as much as it could do.
Clearly, there's a grey area when it comes to identifying people - if people can create Internet identities cheaply, then there may be little to stop a site claiming to take action by closing accounts while people simply create new ones, but that's not obviously a reason to morally justify inaction, any more than a gun-seller continuing to sell to a person of concern on the grounds that if they didn't, the person could just come back in disguise.
If someone is clearly failing to do things they very easily could do to limit 'bad' activity by their users, and benefiting financially from their inaction, they aren't necessarily doing themselves any favours when it comes to claims of operating legitimately.
It depends entirely on if the gun manufacturer advertises his product with claims like:
"Don't like your mother? We have a range of products for up close gore splatter, or long range headshots whilst she is at her bridge club!"
Providing tools specifically or primarily designed to allow others to engage in illegal activity is itself illegal (in most countries). It's hard to see how toools designed to automate relinking of files that have been the subject of takedown notices does not fit this definition.
"Don't like your mother? We have a range of products for up close gore splatter, or long range headshots whilst she is at her bridge club!
Providing tools specifically or primarily designed to allow others to engage in illegal activity is itself illegal (in most countries)"
Not necessarily, although this is somewhat odd. In the UK, the top statement would likely be considered incitement to a crime, which is illegal. However, plenty of people make tools that only or primarily have illegal uses. Take the video recorder for instance. It has never been legal to record a TV program, even for personal use later!! If a film is shown on TV, the license obtained from the copyright holder allows it to be shown once. Taping that is exactly the same as duplicating a tape recording!!
Totally illogical of course, but the law banned the making of any duplicate!! Another case of the law not catching up. So, in the UK, it is only illegal to make something that has only or primarily illegal uses if the manufacturer doesn't have the ability to stop prosecutions!! Whether the application of the law is logical or not is irrelevant. The law is the law.
"Did the fertilizer manufacturer or the nitromethane fuel company get sued when McVeigh bombed Oklahoma City in 1995? Did Ryder get sued for renting him the truck?"
But they were not co-conspirators. See my previous point re intention.
I am looking forward to the day when we can prosecute the highways agency for criminals using the road network and pubs for allowing criminals to meet and discuss their nefarious deeds over a few beers.
Lets stamp out crime everywhere. And keep stamping until nothing is left. Then there will be no criminals.
In more civilised parts of the world, where the law has somewhat caught up with technology, timeshifting for personal use is (now) legal.
The old VCR was a bit of an outlier, but the "primary function" of that device was to play tapes ('onest govn'r) and the recording function was secondary. Furthermore there were other sources that you might (conceviably) record from, not just TV and other licensed tapes.
Which brings up another place the law is slowly catching up. In some countries it is legal to make a personal backup for any media or software you have purchased, er licensed.
It's called DENIAL. Look it up!
This nonsense about fair pricing and a decent online experience CRAP is well CRAP.
This is reality: No one is entitled to a damn thing they don't pay for. If you want access to copyright protected works then pay for it or be punished. THAT folks is reality. No civilized country is going to allow the infringement of copyright protected works without punishing those who pirate.
And how does megaupload differ from YouTube oh commentard?
Same situation lots of copyrighted content but respond to takedown notices but you don't see Eric Schmidt dragged off to court.
This stinks. Either acting as a middleman is illegal for copyright violation is illegal in which case every ISP and site that supports uploads should be shut down or it's not in which case the guy has done nothing wrong.
'This nonsense about fair pricing and a decent online experience CRAP is well CRAP.'
Well, the bit about a decent online experience is maybe crap in that the experience is driven by competition and normal business processes. e.g. give a crap experience, nobody buys your product, you (hopefully) go out of business.
However, the bit about fair pricing is most definitely not crap, at least in the UK. It is actually legal and enshrined in UK law.
I agree, no one is entitled to a damn thing they don't pay for.
Except these copyrights have been extended time and time again so that companies can carry on making money out of a one time performance. No extra work is done after the original performance, for which the performer has already been paid for. So what am I paying for exactly?
"This nonsense about fair pricing and a decent online experience CRAP is well CRAP.
This is reality: No one is entitled to a damn thing they don't pay for. If you want access to copyright protected works then pay for it or be punished."
While this may be true, it is far from fair... Many countries have unfair laws, but that doesn't mean anyone likes or supports them. For instance in Iran you can face the death penalty for assisting in the distribution of pornography.
Why should a company be entitled to money for a work someone in their employment performed upwards of 80 years ago?
The original idea of copyright was to provide artists a means to make money from their performance, in exchange for that work falling into the public domain after a set time, so that yes people would be entitled after that time to make or receive copies wether they paid for them or not. Now the balance has been tipped way too far in one direction.
As a result of these unfair laws, copyright holders ruthlessly attempt to wring every last penny out of their customers while giving them the bare minimum in return...
It's also quite telling that the deals offered in places like china and russia (where copyright infringement is very high) are far better than those offered here. Surely a country with lower levels of infringement and tougher enforcement should be awarded with better deals? But it seems the content industry doesn't think so, they see us as suckers and want to keep pushing to see how far they can go.
I believe in give and take...
The content industry believes in take take take.
I simply cannot support organisations that are seeking to screw me over in whatever ways they can, and certainly not when they've proven that the more they get from you, the further they try to screw you over.
>>"And how does megaupload differ from YouTube oh commentard?"
>>"Same situation lots of copyrighted content but respond to takedown notices but you don't see Eric Schmidt dragged off to court."
A worthwhile point, but I guess a lot might depend on how damaging copyrighted content on YouTube is taken to be, and hence complained about.
I guess that someone who had the rights to a music video or song might not be as bothered by a low-res version of the video appearing on YouTube as by a full-resolution version there or on a filehosting site, or by the song being used in low fidelity as the backing to someone's homemade video compared to a high quality MP3 being shared around elsewhere.
If the argument is (as many seem to argue) that filesharing acts as a publicity engine and sales booster to some subset of people as well as a potential dampener of sales to some other subset of people, maybe there's a point at which a rights-holder might see a low-quality taste of the real thing as being at the very least, not disadvantageous enough to be worth complaining about, and maybe positively useful.
When it comes to movies, how much threat is Youtube to DVD sales?
Is it likely many people could cobble together a complete blockbuster film from Youtube downloads in a quality that they would want to watch on a TV?
Also, Youtube do seem to take active steps to try to identify infringing uploads, and as far as I'm aware, do seem to act within the spirit of the law when it comes to takedowns.
In the background of some of the pictures as the exotic wheels were being impounded, is a giraffe.
Alive or sculpture?
it's 'the giraffe in the room' that nobody wants to talk about.
" (N.Z.) residency was granted under provisions that required him to invest more than $NZ10 million in New Zealand government bonds for a minimum of three years"
We are talking politics here - it's a universal malady, after all.
The bribe to become a US cittizen is only 1M (with strings worth about 1M more)- on par with a mortgage on a decent property in New England, California or Florida, dropping down to only 100K with 500K extra strings in the proposed "Startup Visa" (EB5 visa). Well within any tax evader, celebrity or drug dealer budget.
So kudos to the NZ politicos for asking for a decent bribe. Well done boys and gals.
...hence the header.
They came for my neighbor, I said nothing....
Please, say nothing. Or stop making that (and the who watches the watchers one, too,) hackneyed by trotting it out at the least excuse in an attempt to sound worldlt-wise ...
and I said nothing, because I was helping out.
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