back to article Megaupload case near collapse: report

An American district court judge has cast doubt over the whole Megaupload trial, telling the FBI the criminal charges against Kim Dotcom may never make it to trial. The New Zealand Herald is reporting that during a hearing in Virginia the judge, Liam O’Grady, doubted if “we are ever going to have a trial in this matter” when …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The New Justice[tm]

    Music execs! Movie bosses! Can't get what you want? That annoying snot overseas still making your blood boil? No worries, here's your answer: For a special fee, get the FBI to trump up some charges, they'll handle the interpol paperwork and have the locals raid your target, and then see to it that the charges are dropped for some silly reason or another. Your target's business destroyed, no trial to lose, what's not to love? You win, they lose, what's not to love? Special rates on request! Call today!

    1. Sean O'Connor 1
      Thumb Down

      Re: The New Justice[tm]

      To your list of "Music execs and movie bosses" could you add: small, independent developers just trying to make a living to feed their families by writing games, who'd really appreciate it if some german bloke didn't get rich off making it easy for people to copy for free what we've spent years working on. Ta.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Indies

        The small independent developers are making millions. I guess those are the ones who went for other business models. Not the ones that are impossible to follow now.

        1. Sean O'Connor 1

          Re: @Indies

          Yeah, I pretty much ditched writing games for Windows and went for iPhone instead where the copy protection is much better. I don't think it's a coincidence that the device that makes it hardest to pirate apps is also the one that gets the most attention from developers and ends up getting the best apps written for it, which helps make it the best device to buy.

          1. Mad Mike

            Re: @Indies

            Last time I looked, the games for Windows were far better than those for the Mac.

            1. Matthew 25
              Headmaster

              Re: @Indies

              Read the post. No one said anything about the Mac. He said iPhone.

              1. Mad Mike
                FAIL

                Re: @Indies

                @Matthew 25.

                I know iDevices are not Macs. What he was saying is that the best games go to the most protected platform, citing his move from Windows to iPhone. I countered that by saying in that case, the best games should be on Mac not Windows as Macs are more protected than Windows. However, that is not true, i.e. his argument is false. I wasn't trying to suggest iDevices are Macs or anything, but actually answering the point he made with another example.

                1. John 62

                  Re: @Indies

                  Macs have the same copy protection as Windows PCs

            2. Andy Christ

              What were you looking at?

              iDevices are not Macs.

            3. Joe 35
              WTF?

              the games for Windows were far better than those for the Mac

              iOS != Mac

          2. TechnicalBen Silver badge

            Re: Sean O'Connor 1

            You say "the device with the greatest copy protection" but fail to notice games and software deployed over say Java also make millions. How is that so if there is no real copy protection to Java? Oh, perhaps customer loyalty and concentrating on markets that work, instead of those that don't?

            I know it's sad to see the software get copied and no money paid for it, but it seems a lost cause right now. Open source and other funding methods seems the only way to beat the pirates at their own game. Especially if you make it legal for your customers to share!

      2. Greg J Preece

        Re: The New Justice[tm]

        "if some german bloke didn't get rich off making it easy for people to copy for free what we've spent years working on"

        Dotcom invented the file-copy command...?

      3. Captain Underpants

        Re: The New Justice[tm]

        @Sean

        I appreciate that small development companies are likely to be those least able to afford the loss of earnings that software piracy will likely entail, but... you're not really suggesting that going after someone like Kim Dotcom in such a way as to fumble the legal process and thus potentially derail the court case is a good idea, are you? Nobody wins from that.

      4. 0x00
        WTF?

        Re: Re: The New Justice[tm]

        I am a small independent developer who has had an app cracked and released. My ability to make a living to feed my families isn't rooted in a german being blocked from a file sharing website, but rather, in my ability to protect my application from being cracked/released/shared. If you can't feed your family because of a file sharing site, you are doing it wrong and should focus on a more secured way of making money. Plus, I would much rather have the private free-flow of information (even if the information are my bytes) then to have something like CISPA, SOPA, PIPA, or any remarkably unintelligent approach to securing my own inadequacy.

        1. Joe Montana
          Devil

          Re: The New Justice[tm]

          Trying to "protect" your app from being cracked is a fruitless and counter productive exercise...

          Whatever protection you introduce will be cracked sooner or later, and most people who would pirate you app aren't going to magically buy it because, they're just going to wait for the crack.

          On the other hand, the more "protection" you implement, the more inconvenience you foist upon paying customers... I've seen many buggy drm and license enforcement schemes cause chaos for paying customers, and even if not struck by bugs such schemes are often an unwanted administrative overhead.

          Meanwhile the pirates are running a cracked version which has all this removed, and so have problem-free use of the app.

          Also worth considering, is that while pirates may not have paid you directly, they are providing free marketing if nothing else. Wasn't it bill gates who said that if people are going to pirate, he'd much prefer they pirate his stuff than a competitor?

          Piracy is an unavoidable issue when selling an infinitely reproducible good, all you can do is make your app compelling and widely known so that those who are willing to pay will do so. Those who aren't, won't, but they might have friends who will so better for them to see your apps than someone else's.

      5. Xenobyte
        FAIL

        Re: The New Justice[tm]

        Make Easy? - MegaUpload didn't make anything. Rapidshare had already been there for half a decade when Dotcom launched his service. The difference being in the details and the pricing. Before that there was (and stil is) bittorrent, and before that various applications in the P2P world, and before that was Napster, the first really huge sharing system. And of course before that for decades was the private ftp server network, which is still used by "The Scene" today.

        Now, computer games was always a target for hacking. I personally had countless hundreds of floppys with hacked C64 games in my youth. I also had hundreds of cassette tapes with music recorded from the radio or from records owned by my friends. No, sharing copyrighted stuff is not new and was certainly not neither invented nor made more rampant by Dotcom and MegaUpload. It was just a new twist on a many decades old gambit.

        Now, instead of trying to intimidate people into not doing what they've always been doing (a futile effort at best), they need to figure out how to live with it. First of all they need to understand WHY people download illegally. Unfortunately while the reasons are well-documented by countless studies, the copyright holders completely ignore this and apparently assume that people do it exclusively because they're evil and because they are freeloaders.

        The studies reveal that only about 10% are freeloaders, i.e. people never willing to pay no matter what the price. Another 10% are people willing to pay a reasonable price but find the current prices too high. The rest are actually people willing to pay the full asking price if they were able to do so, but geo-discrimination and format blackouts prevents them. This is the big one and strangely enough it's also the one most easy to change. Yes, the copyright holders could cut piracy with 80% quite easily by simply changing their policy.

        Want examples? - A new movie opens in the US (and Canada) but not in Europe for weeks/months. People in Europe have the choice of waiting or piracy. And a US consumer that rather want to watch the movie at home? - Nope, go to a cinema or wait - or grab it from the pirates. The solution is simple: Simply release the movies and the music globally on all formats simultaneously and everybody is able to enjoy it the way he or she prefers and to do it with a clean conscience as they've paid for the privilege.

    2. h4rm0ny

      Re: The New Justice[tm]

      "Trump up charges" ? You can't be so naive that you don't think Megaupload was about piracy, so why even bother to dress up your bias?

      1. Mad Mike
        FAIL

        Re: The New Justice[tm]

        @h4rm0ny.

        Nobody is saying that copyright violation is right or that it didn't go on with Megaupload. Nobody knows how much of the business was built on this (well, maybe Dotcom), but it would apply to any online digital locker. Either you force them all to be private and not allow everyone to see the downloads, or their function cannot exist if you take copyright to be more important than everything else. Reality is, copyright is important, but there are other more important things.

        It's a bit like napalming your garden to get rid of some weeds. Yes, it does the job, but you kill a lot of flowers as well and given a short period of time, the weeds will just start spouting again. So, overall, you've done a lot of damage for what?

        Even the American military have begun to realise this by using guided missile rather than squadrons of B52s for bombing. Seems like the civilian areas of America are behind the times again.

        You can take as many dotcoms out of business as you like, but copyright violation will happen just as much, maybe more. The answer is to adapt your model and make it irrelevant.

        1. Tapeador

          Re: The New Justice[tm]

          @ Mad Mike

          "You can take as many dotcoms out of business as you like, but copyright violation will happen just as much, maybe more. The answer is to adapt your model and make it irrelevant."

          Adapt one's model how? Stop making things to sell them? Sell them for as near zero that downloader thieves feel almost no difference paying for them than stealing them? "Go on the road"? Please don't just make that hollow proposition without properly fleshing it out and providing what you think should be the model - as as it stands it is just a figleaf for theft.

          1. Joe Montana
            WTF?

            Re: The New Justice[tm]

            Sell cheap, make it up on volume... If you sell cheap enough and make it convenient, piracy won't be worth the extra hassle and most people won't bother. As it stands now, piracy not only offers price savings but its also far more convenient and often provides a better (eg free of artificial restrictions) product. When your product has marginal reproduction costs, a cheap price is still profitable and a lower price will increase sales.

            For music, go on tour... Actually work for your money, and treat recorded copies of music as promotional material designed to encourage people to buy tickets for your live events. Encourage sharing because the more your music is shared, the more famous you become and the more people will attend your live shows.

    3. Greg J Preece

      Re: The New Justice[tm]

      Thing is, no matter how much the software developers (whose point of view I do appreciate) complain about MegaUpload, it had legitimate uses, like every other file sharer on the net. When MU went dead, so did half the links in the KDE theming/widget system, as the hobbyists who made all that stuff used MU as a reliable, fast method of distributing it. Everything on the net that copies anything can be used for piracy - should we just shut the net down? Allowing attacks like those seen against MegaUpload set a precedent that basically any service can be taken down any time the music/record/software industry says so.

      Which is bullshit.

    4. smartse
      Go

      Re: The New Justice[tm]

      You sound like Saul Goodman! http://www.bettercallsaul.com/index.php (is there no way to link here?!)

    5. Jim 40
      Mushroom

      Re: The New Justice[tm]

      The way to subvert the MPAA/RIAA thuggery is to encourage and support file sharing as much as possible. Take away the financial lifeblood from the parasites. That's what their nightmares are made of and we have the power to bring that about.

      1. Tapeador
        Stop

        Re: The New Justice[tm]

        @ Jim 40

        "Parasites"? We're not talking about people putting a price on oxygen, or engineering a price-spike in other essentials are we? We're simply talking about people charging reasonable sums for entertainment, to enrich people's lives, and which people only ever partake of completely voluntarily.

        And before you tell me you shouldn't have to pay for your CD licences again where the CD corroded, I agree that's a problem and don't have an answer to it, but don't think it legitimises all of the theft which people say it does.

        1. Jim 40

          Re: The New Justice[tm]

          @ Tapeador

          The problem is that the the MPAA/RIAA will not be happy until they have killed the internet as we know it. That's not my theory it's the basis for political parties http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_Party_%28Sweden%29 and is supported not only by many internet observers http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/20/twenty-fighters-open-internet but also by actions such as the crushing of Megaupload and Wikileaks beforehand.

          It can also be seen in the extension of copyright to 70 years after the death of the creator! How is that reasonable, fair or just? I've no objection to content creators being reasonably remunerated but the current system has no sensible rationale that I can detect.

          It's like watching the Luddite movement in reverse. In the face of a new technology an old system seeks to retain its power and control. If so called capitalist systems really believed in the tosh they spout they'd leave the market to decide the matter but no, they want to use force just like any other totalitarian regime.

          It's really not too dramatic to say that this is a war for who controls the Internet, us or them.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The New Justice[tm]

        Maybe shops should give stuff away. That would stop theft.

    6. Tapeador
      Mushroom

      Re: The New Justice[tm]

      I see, so any company producing film and music, or acting on behalf of those doing so, which has employees in sufficient number to need an 'exec', or a 'boss', deserves to have its business destroyed, by thieves?

      These are not "trumped-up charges", we are talking about the destruction of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and the destruction of the music and film economies, and with them the destruction of the opportunity for new and old artists alike, to be paid to master their art. All because a lot of angry children - such as yourself - won't tolerate policy measures which apply and strengthen existing and good law, such as protects property.

      You write of Megaupload's "business" being destroyed - yet the last time I checked, stealing the fruits of others' labour, and helping others do so, was not a business, but a malenterprise, by any measure whatever.

      You write "special rates on request", yet, it is entirely legitimate that individuals' and companies' livelihoods, and their shareholders' interests (who are often pension funds of low-paid workers) are protected by law. Theft is an evil - markets must be protected from petulant, insanely selfish child-minds such as your own.

  2. W.O.Frobozz

    Kimble...

    ...and Kimble manages to not only skate scot free but look like a damn hero while doing it. My hat is off to you...that's one hell of a coup.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Scot free"?

      If having your companies dismantled by a foreign power without legal grounds counts as such, I suppose.

      1. Mad Mike

        Re: "Scot free"?

        I can see the case for compensation right now. Whatever the merits or not of Dotcom as a person, his business has been destroyed by a combination of the NZ and USA authorities. Now, it looks like they won't be getting him for anything. Even if they go after him on copyright charges in NZ, that'll be dubious as it looks like a personal vendetta rather than proper police work and justice.

        So, who'll end up paying the bill? I find it unlikely he'll allow them to destroy his business and not pay compensation and they seem to have so royally screwed up that liability can be assured.

        Wonder what the final bill will be.

        1. Fatman Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Wonder what the final bill will be.

          A better question would be:

          "WHO will be paying that bill"?

          I seriously doubt it will be members of the MAFIAA; and more likely US taxpayers.

          After all, we here in the good ole USA have "The Best Government (the MAFIAA members) Can Buy!".

          This botched FBI operation just proves it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Scot free"?

        Certainly "Scot free" - no Scots were involved in this case.

      3. W.O.Frobozz
        Thumb Down

        Re: "Scot free"?

        This is Kimble. Look at his history. It's hardly the first time his million dollar "ventures" have been dismantled and yet he keeps coming back. He WILL be back, and he will be a millionaire again. He's already become the "messiah" of downloading freedom thanks to this case...he's a huge opportunist (ie YIHAT) and anything that makes him look like Robin Hood is going to help him rebuild his millions. Not only did the feds lose, they basically handed him his comeback.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can that prosecutor please explain...

    ... how the company being out of jurisdiction is a non-issue because the FBI's target is, er, a German citizen in New Zealand, ie possibly even more out of US jurisdiction?

    Whatever the guy's antecedents, I find it... curious how the US public puts up with a "justice" system at least as crooked as the people they're going after. Whatever their motivation, it's not about having the moral high ground. And it's not about a fair fight either.

    1. streaky Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Can that prosecutor please explain...

      No because they love that their government acts like world police when no crime has been committed, as long as it doesn't turn on them.

      It is absolutely bizarre and the only way they'll learn is through having to pay out massive amounts in damages - except they won't because it's not their money they're throwing away.

      Bankers anybody?

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Can that prosecutor please explain...

        "No because they love that their government acts like world police"

        Umm, no actually we don't. We actually would prefer that our gubbermint stop acting like the tyrannical teething baby it too often is. Please don't confuse the vast majority of us with the megalomaniacal fucks who buy and sell candidates to both parties in the Republocrap Democant cartel. Oh joy we get another election, big deal, maybe folks will get tired of politics as usual and vote for their choice of mayo or mustard but regardless of which they pick it's going on the same shit sandwich and we'll have to eat it for another four years when maybe we'll get the honor of being able to choose ketchup.

        And FFS if all you've got to say is just the verbal equivalent to the skid marks in your pants there streaky, the least you could do is choose the icon more carefully. It's pretty clear you wanted the one just to the left of what you clicked.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can that prosecutor please explain...

          @Eddy Ito

          "Umm, no actually we don't. We actually would prefer that our gubbermint stop acting like the tyrannical teething baby it too often is."

          So why do you collectively keep voting for such politicians then? The US is a democracy, so the government reflects the true choice of the population. Same in Greece where the population is wishing now that they'd had better governments for the past few decades.

          Democracy will not result in effective government unless a majority of the population takes a dispassionate reasoned view of the value to the greater good of the candidates on offer. Just voting for the guy who looks good and pulls on the emotional/religious heart strings won't work in the long run. The only country I know off that does it properly is Australia where voting is compulsory but the voters are given the official option of 'none of the above'. The UK sort of solves the problem by having an apolitical civil service which generally discourages freshly elected politicians from doing things are just too crazy. That doesn't explain Germany where AFAIK their civil servants are employed by the winning party, not the state. Given that Germans as a whole take important matters seriously it is not surprising that it seems to work quite well for them.

          One simple thing the US could do to stop itself appearing to be the world's worst cop is to stop paying its prosecutors bonuses based on results.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Can that prosecutor please explain...

            Damned touch screen keyboards - can't type for toffee on one. Apologies for the typos.

          2. Eddy Ito Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            @AC 05:25

            "So why do you collectively keep voting for such politicians then?"

            That's the whole mayo vs mustard thing. The majority of political news coverage is about a few selected talking points that really differentiates one candidate from the next. Candidates that really are different from the rest are typically labeled kooks because they aren't savvy enough to keep their mouth shut on subjects that give the media laugh tracks instead of sound bites. This ensures that regardless of which candidates remain at the end the basic authoritarian core remains intact.

            Add to that the fact that the primaries are mainly attended by only the extreme members of either party and the authoritarian model is a lock. Notice there is about 50% of voters who typically stay out of primaries because they look at the field and shudder at the usually horrid selection but more importantly there is a re-run of Married with Children on that night which takes precedence.

            That said, yes it's very true that we need to strip economic incentives from our law enforcement and judicial governmental departments.

            Coincidentally I came across this Businessweek article by Paul Barrett on Richard Feldman and I couldn't help but think Mr. Feldman is only scratching lightly on the corroded surface of justice in the U.S.

      2. jukejoint
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Can that prosecutor please explain...

        "...they love that their government acts like world police..."

        We don't. We detest it.

        Here in the 'land of the free' the actual news is: Hollywood! Gosh we love our stories! We can't get enough of people behaving badly...and we also have lost the ability to detect the difference between truth and lip service (lies, for short). A LARGE percentage of the population drop out of high school - and why shouldn't they: the people's educational system is bloated with administrators, basically warehousing young people away from the 'adults', cheats the teachers out of a fair living wage as less important than acquiring real estate and "juice" in the halls of power, yet is highly successful as a political concept: save our schools save the children etc.

        One must search for a while, if one is so inclined, for any higher level of discourse, for access to world media and viewpoints other than the addlepated jingoism provided at every turn - Google News features the lamest US publications and seems filtered. So whatever you might think the American people are for or against, first check if they KNOW about it. I am not being facetious!

        Also - the rhetoric and fantasy that the US so much more advanced than other countries - this is trumpeted over and over without specifying in what area or discipline - it cannot be true for everything. And isn't, at all, consistently true for many things. I keep wondering why, the Cowboy of the World having shot itself in the foot so many times, it is still trying to lurch along on its old myths.

        I passionately love my country. So do so many of us, who understand that what happens to me, happens to you... the web analogy. When force-fed lies day after day, it is not surprising that people have lost the taste of truth. Thankfully there are some people willing to go through the leavings to find it.

    2. JaitcH
      FAIL

      Re: Can that prosecutor please explain...NO PROBLEM

      The US has delusions of grandeur, they think just because they have 19,000 drones around and can kill anyone, anywhere including US citizens - that their law overrides all others.

      Holder, (Obama's attorney-general), and Biden (V-P & hatchet man for the movie industry) might have to face the fact they screwed up.

      What's more, the US Constitution prohibits retroactive laws!

      1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

        Re: Can that prosecutor please explain . . .

        "they think just because they have 19,000 drones around and can kill anyone, anywhere including US citizens "

        A bit harsh for downloading crap movies, donchyathink?

        1. c3
          Mushroom

          Re: A bit harsh for downloading crap movies, donchyathink?

          Well, they already bought those drones and Osama is dead, so they gotta use them on someone. After all, they have to justify buying new ones soon, otherwise poor Lockheed Martin or Boeing might not turn record profits.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: A bit harsh for downloading crap movies, donchyathink?

            I'd say you're right, but I think the underlying reason is slightly subtler.

            If you compare the bulk of the Lockheed Martin/Boeing manufacturing base against the voting stronghold (or sometimes, simply residency) of the presidents that START wars, you'll find a pretty strong correlation: The ex-confederate states of the American South.

            Yes, it's about money, but only to the extent that money can be converted to power.

        2. Chris Sake
          WTF?

          Re: Can that prosecutor please explain . . .

          I don't know about punishment for downloading movies, but death-by-drone seems to be the punishment in Pakistan for using a camera:

          http://reprieve.org.uk/investigations/drones/

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/nov/07/cia-unaccountable-drone-war

    3. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
      Unhappy

      Re: Can that prosecutor please explain...

      ... how the company being out of jurisdiction is a non-issue because the FBI's target is, er, a German citizen in New Zealand, ie possibly even more out of US jurisdiction?

      Because some factions of the Amerikan reich believe that that are the world power and that every other country and business in the world is subservient to them.

  4. Spud2go
    Pint

    Worst intentions?

    I'm beginning to wonder if reaching a court hearing was the original intention of this case - or if, in fact, it's to leave Kim Dotcom et al dangling in legal limbo & controversy long enough to wreck the Megaupload business entity & "send a message" to similar online services. The US Gov. & the FBI give the appearance of being bothered less & less about international law & protocol these days, and the scent of corporate collusion is not unnoticeable. And if it comes back to bite them, I'm pretty certain it will be expertly handled by their spinmeisters. Regardless of Megaupload's legal bearing in this case, there are ways to mount & pursue a lawful challenge. For me at least, the way this was done looks more like simple bully boy standover tactics.

    Just my 2 bob's worth.

  5. tkioz
    Mushroom

    How disgusting... from what I've been reading it's like they want this case dismissed... funny and sad thing is even if it is, Megaupload is cooked, the company is dead, and from what others have said they can't even sue the U.S government to recoup their loses because it's "immune" to lawsuits...

    1. Fatman Silver badge
      Flame

      RE: they can't even sue the U.S government to recoup their loses

      Imagine the individual MAFIAA members facing the possibility of having to pay damages?

      That is WHY (sovereign Immunity) the MAFIAA bosses got the FBI to 'do the dirty work'.

      They win, taxpayers and legitimate Mega Upload customers LOSE!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Worst intentions?

    Or you might also theorize that the US government's legal team screams of incompetence?

    Right, with the financial crisis lingering for the past 3 years, there are legions of talented lawyers looking for a job and yet those responsible for the Megaupload indictment showed nothing worthy of their title.

    After all consideration, I agree with Spud2go that it merely comes down to a case of legal bullying (and sheer arrogance) from the US government towards a company it has no jurisdiction on.

    1. RW
      Boffin

      Re: Worst intentions?

      The incompetent lawyers might very well be holdovers from the Bush administration, hired because they declared personal loyalty to Bush. Many of them have law degrees from "Liberty University", the late Jerry Falwell's piss-poor excuse for an institution of higher education.

  7. Winkypop Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Spanner, meet Works

    It does appear like one mega obfuscation tactic to me.

  8. asdf Silver badge
    FAIL

    $$$ makes people retards

    Yep absolutely disgusted with my country these days. Its becoming as bad as all the rest. Greed has become a virtue that people value more than honesty, integrity, honor, or self sacrifice. A bunch of damn goatse corporate whores.

  9. P. Lee Silver badge
    Pirate

    More unimpressed with NZ

    Why would you agree to allow the raids if they were outside US jurisdiction?

    The FBI should not have tried to bring a foreigner to the US in the hope of a more favourable outcome - its always easier to convict foreigners, especially arrogant ones. The FBI should not have been involved at all. If the studios wanted to prosecute, they should have done so in NZ. Now the arrogance is seen to be back on the American studios. D'oh!

    I suspect it wouldn't take MU long to get back up and running, especially if the threat of US action has been nullified. It'll send the opposite message if US judges are known to acknowledge the existance of other jurisdictions.

    1. stanimir

      Re: More unimpressed with NZ

      I doubt MU can ever start grinding again - the customers would be terrified the US gov. goes after then.

      1. Volker Hett
        Thumb Down

        Re: More unimpressed with NZ

        Whoever trusted "The Cloud" with important data should be really scared now. Ok, Amazon is too big to be prosecuted for file sharing, but there are lots of copyrighted files available there. Dropbox has a public share function, too ....

    2. Yes Me Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: More unimpressed with NZ

      Yes, it is rather disgusting that the NZ authorities toadied up to the Americans in this way. Although they no doubt claim they had no choice under extradition agreements, it's typical of the Key government's attitude to the US (along with leaving the NZ SAS in Afghanistan long beyond the point at which it's obviously futile).

  10. Arclight

    Porn, alcohol, abortion.

    All of the above are illegal somewhere in the world. Can we expect to see a succesful extradition of multi-millionaire businessmen to face trial?

    If this man has committed a crime in NZ, then he should face charges in NZ.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Only if they are not US millonaires

      See online betting for an example.

  11. Michael Duke

    This was more about the un-launched music publishing service than Megaupload as a file sharing site.

  12. ACx

    Mega-upload was looking at becoming a public company. A game changer. This is why it was put out of business by the USA. Job done. No prosecution needed. Just another way the USA throws its weight around.

  13. g e
    FAIL

    Just goes to show

    That riding into town shootin' yer six-gun in the air still makes you look like a fucking idiot and a bully.

    Which is most of the USA'a history really apart from ex Nazi Rocket Scientist's firing shit at the moon.

    I hope Dotcom, irrespective of his likeability, gets some compo for this. Just to rub salt in.

    1. Mad Mike

      Re: Just goes to show

      Yes, the USA, home of the morally bankrupt. This is what really sucks. They go on about the moral high ground and how he's breaking copyright etc. and have a good point there. However, they then use it as an excuse to be morally bankrupt and downright evil in how they deal with him, removing their moral right totally.

      Also, given their actions in recruiting Nazi and Japanese scientists after the war, moving them to the USA and then ensuring they never faced justice for their crimes, rather shows their moral bankruptcy.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MU

    Will the "files" on MU servers be available to download if case collapses ? MU has always been fastest servers for porn!

  15. ehoffman

    In a year, you won't even remember...

    ... In a year, the U.S. bullies will have failed. MegaUpload case will be dismissed completely, and they will legally get the right to re-obtain all of their equipments and possessions.

    In a year, MegaUpload will have re-setup all of their servers, and it's founder back to his mansion.

    In a year, the only thing that will really have changed is that MegaUpload will be up again, and the U.S. will fear trying to dare and go after them again just to lose their faces.

    The only losers will be the media industry who will have failed not at stopping piracy and loosing millions in court battles, but they will fail to innovate and pursue new avenues at generating revenues and still sit on an old business model, and continue to harm innocent people in the way, like all those legitimate users who had legitimate content on MegaUpload.

    As an example of innovation instead of futile repressions, remember when the VHS tapes came out, along with recorders that you could buy and set-up at home to record your favorite programs. The TV and movie industries were furious at the time, and told that people would start recording programming, and they would lose revenues. But instead of spending millions in legal battle, they changed their business models, and started to capitalize with movie rentals. That's an example of innovation done right.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >"The only losers will be the media industry"

      And the winners will be everyone in the entire world, as a major blow is struck against the US' attempt to impose its domestic laws extra-territorially on the rest of us. It's a huge victory in the cause of freedom and a big kick in the ass to the copyright tyrants; sounds like the best of both worlds to me.

    2. NukEvil
      Mushroom

      Re: In a year, you won't even remember...

      "In a year, MegaUpload will have re-setup all of their servers, and it's founder back to his mansion."

      Unless, of course, U.S. authorities decide to "engineer" an accident for MU's founder. A car accident here. A heart attack there. Maybe even a helicopter crash (with MU's founder on board, on the way to being illegally extradited to the US) to drive the point home.

      The truly sad fact is the US has very nearly accomplished what Hitler could only dream of accomplishing--the subjugation of the world (albeit under the guise of "economic stability" instead of military superiority). Once a country begins ruling over a different, sovereign, state with its own laws, backed up by the threat of high explosives (launched from a drone), the noble idea of "the land of the free" becomes rather diluted.

      *note: opinions expressed in this post are my own and should not be mistaken for anybody else's.*

  16. Crisp Silver badge

    Cowboy Justice in the Wild West

    Doesn't look like we're going to have ourselves a hanging after all.

    1. Mad Mike

      Re: Cowboy Justice in the Wild West

      They couldn't find a rope strong enough for dotcom.............

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DMCA - Bo Bo

    The real big bo bo here is the fact that USA can not use USA law against a foreign business. So think about that for moment. So if you own a forgen business that dosn't have office in USA then they can not do anything against that business in USA. So what could that mean, well I would say fuck off to DMCA as my business is not American. LOL. You can send me billion and 1 DMCA take down notices and will do naff all, as you can not do naff all!

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: DMCA - Bo Bo

      Except in this case they did exactly that and basically took MegaUpload offline and forced their hosting firm to hold Petabytes of data on their servers (which AREN'T being paid for any more, since the case to seize them) indefinitely at their own expense.

      Just because the law is there, doesn't mean it's followed to the letter. That's basically what's happened in this case. There's no way the US has any jurisdiction whatsoever but they still consumed millions in legal fees, millions in lost business, millions in evidence preservation, etc. not to mention all the other hassle.

      Yeah, MegaUpload were a bit dodgy. But not one half of one percent as dodgy as trying to apply US law to foreign servers and companies by force.

  18. Adrian Challinor
    Joke

    This is a great move plot !

    Its got everything, a villain with a silly name, the FBI in a tail spin, big business baying for blood. Where is James Cameroon when you need him?

    1. Matthew 25

      Re: This is a great move plot !

      Looking for space rocks

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is a great move plot !

      The studios would not finance it as it makes them look like the c*nts that they are.

  19. Spanners Silver badge
    Trollface

    Future Business Model

    Find a country where a particular activity is illegal.

    Apply that law to organisations in the USA that do these things.

    Get an Interpol warrant sent out.

    There are some very big companies in the USA that have business practices that may well be illegal in lots of other countries.

    a. Profit from peoples illness.

    b. Sell equipment to private citizens to kill other citizens

    c. Persuade the less well off to buy what they cannot afford and don't need.

    d. Ensure killers, thieves and other criminals do not face justice.

    These organisations are

    a. Health insurers

    b. Gun manufacturers

    c. Advertisers

    d. Lawyers

    There must be a lot of money we can make from those bunches of criminals...

    1. Bucky 2
      Trollface

      Re: Future Business Model

      Yikes.

      I'm in with the emotion of your sentient. But for me, the math just doesn't work out.

      Here's the divide-by-zero error, as I see it. It's a kind of an "I'm better than my neighbors" sentiment--that they need to be controlled, but not by me since it's kind of beneath me, and I've got other things to do.

      So, wait--I have an idea. I'll charge my government with keeping my idiot neighbors under control. But somehow (surprise!) I'm being lumped together with my inferiors who I think need to be controlled.

      Then (a) I don't have any HIV medication, because no-one can make a living off R&D, (b) I can't defend myself from my own government when it becomes fascist, (c) I can't tell anybody about the better mousetrap I just built, and (d) I can't defend myself from my idiot neighbors when they insist that my mousetrap is evidence of witchcraft, and that I should be burned at the stake for it.

      Life sucks. It's true. But it could suck worse.

  20. Trollslayer Silver badge

    In the words of James May...

    Well that's been a bit of a cock up!

    If the US had thought things through it could have worked with NZ but instead it has messed everything up.

    The FBI deals with DOMESTIC cases so why didn't someone check if they could do anything to a foreign company?

    Now there is little chance of dealing with things like this in a reasonable manner.

    i hope whoever shot from the hip gets fired.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    How long does it take to forget how to do due process right?

    Well, I guess this was a test case of sorts. So used to circumventing and skirting due process requirements in other cases, it seems pretty obvious that U.S. authorities have forgotten how it's done. Although you'd think even a few of those involved might have recalled something from their first year civil procedure class... apparently not.

    1. Armando 123

      Re: How long does it take to forget how to do due process right?

      The US government has been doing this for decades, at least since 1932 (check out some of the controversies around FDR's New Deal's legality at the time), probably during Woodrow Wilson's administration, and in all likelihood, longer. Seriously, other than Jefferson and Coolidge (and possibly Reagan from certain statistics), has there been an administration & congress that actually REDUCED the government?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let justice prevail

    If this jackass is guilty then prosecute him. Don't allow him to escape punishment on a technicality.

    1. Heathroi
      Unhappy

      Re: Let justice prevail

      you have put the cart before the horse, you can only establish guilt at the end of a trial. And as for "escaping on a techicality' then maybe you'd need to have a word with those prosecutors who didn't follow their own rules.

    2. Mad Mike

      Re: Let justice prevail

      I agree. Prosecute him in NZ and if found guilty, he takes the appropriate punishment. Unfortunately, the good old US of A and the American media companies have ensured this can't happen. It will look like a vendetta and the possibility of a fair trial has pretty much gone. The FBI posted trumped up stupid charges to try and get him, showing the persecution.

      They need to get sensible and actually enforce the law rather than the law according to their backers.....e.g. the media companies. The FBI is a laughing stock the world over because of this as it has shown without doubt who they report to, and it doesn't lead anywhere near the White House or the Capitol. They report to a place in California.

      I'm not for copyright violation, but when you can't win (even with the law on your side), it's time to try a different tack. Being too thick to think of one is no excuse..........that's Darwinian evolution.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. FunkyEric
    Coat

    OK

    Hands up all those governments who're going to go along with the FBI the next time they try a stunt like this?

    Ahhhhh hello? Is there anyone there?

    OK I'm leaving too.....

    1. Vic

      Re: OK

      > all those governments who're going to go along with the FBI the next time

      That'll be the UK.

      We're used to being on our own.

      Vic.

  24. fishman

    Irony

    The MPAA/RIAA thought that killing Megaupload was going to be the turning point. But it could be in a different direction than they thought - the US government might be less interested in getting involved after being burned, foreign governments less likely to roll over for the US gov, and filesharing services learning what changes to make to be harder to eradicate.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. sueme2
    Happy

    Shit happens

    In this case, shit hits helicopter blades. The security camera files are gone too. When they begin to hide evidence, you have to ask questions. The judge is right on the mark. The answer is for the FBI to pick up the server bill until this goes to trial and verdict. To do otherwise would be to destroy evidence. Then that can be handed to the bunch of losers. In fact MU could even resume operations, after all, they are not guilty unless the verdict goes against them.

  26. rpics

    Jurisdiction?

    Lets see, The accused are not US citizens, The company is not a US company, yet the FBI (FEDERAL Bureau of Investigation) have attacked and ruined the people and their business...

    Perhaps they want to be INTERNATIONAL Bureau of Investigation.

    Oh right, they already consider themselves that..

    I'm appalled that my Gov't is spending my tax dollars ($1,000,000 so far) http://www.3news.co.nz/Dotcom-case-costs-1m-so-far/tabid/412/articleID/250062/Default.aspx on placating a bunch of thugs from the USA.

  27. npo4
    WTF?

    Billions of lost value

    Just before this happened, Mega was looking into floating on the Stock Exchange, and it was expected to be worth billions of dollars.

    Also, the article I read about that talked about how in order to do that, they would have to undergo thorough inspections to ensure they were a legal company...

  28. Sloppy Crapmonster

    How is this different from Google?

    My own personal experience:

    Downloading legitimate KDE addons from MU: yep

    Downloading pirated apps from MU: yep

    Now for the part I usually hate ("butbutbut *they're doing something worse!*"):

    Google has a copy of every page they've ever seen, and they'll hand it over to anyone who asks for it. If you want that behavior to stop, all you have to do, as the owner of the data in question, is tell them you don't want that particular page cached anymore (find it on their site, and click the DMCA link). Just like MU.

    HOW DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE????

    1. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: HOW DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE????

      First, a little background:

      http ://techcrunch.com/2012/01/24/was-megaupload-targeted-because-of-its-upcoming-megabox-digital-jukebox-service/

      http ://www.itworld.com/cloud-computing/247854/megaupload-planned-launch-legal-music-service-when-raided

      and

      http ://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2011/111221airvinyl

      [BTW, the links have a 'space' embedded in them between the 'p' and the ':' (to keep them from being recognized as a link).]

      Now, IIRC, one aspect of this (MegaBox) was that artists could DIRECTLY contract with MegaBox, and (wait for it)

      BYPASS THE RECORD LABELS COMPLETELY!!

      And you know that those RIAA pigs got their snouts in a tizzy when they found out that they were being kept away from the 'trough'. And, we now see how those `piggies` decided to retaliate.

      Does it make any sense now?????

      I thought so!!

      Icon department, how about a RIAA/MPAA piggie icon? Please??

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How can this be?

    How can he pile himself on top of himself to become a farce?

  30. Jeebus
    Thumb Up

    The grandstanding is hilarious. Sean O'Connor et al are a right good bunch, keep it up lads, you sound like the lone Daily Heil reader at a conference of legitimately intelligent people who keeps yelling fundamentally moronic things and getting laughs at first and then people feeling slightly embarrassed when they realise that's what you do think.

  31. Alan Brown Silver badge

    After what happened in New Zealand

    I start wondering if the book "Smith's Dream" or movie adaption "Sleeping Dogs" was simply 30 years early.

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