Intellectual Property

Kiwi Spooks Further Taint Megaupload Case

|

Kim Dotcom

I've written before that the U.S.-initiated case against Kim Dotcom, the chief of Megaupload, the once-giant online storage company prosecuted over its customers' alleged copyright violations, is unraveling in New Zealand through a combination of police mis-steps and American high-handedness. In fact, Kim Dotcom has become something of a folk hero in kiwi-land, perhaps at least partially because he's so freaking weird, and rather disarmingly endearing about it. How can a case that has already become farcical spiral yet further down the rabbit-hole? What if it turns out that the local equivalent of the National Security Agency illegally involved itself, requiring a personal mea culpa on the part of the prime minister?

I shit you not. Remember, this is a case that started with a supposedly misbehaving Internet company and concerns over intellectual property. You know, music files, movie files … Megaupload managed to attract a seemingly obsessive amount of U.S. Justice Department attention, and the friendly folks in New Zealand stepped up to do their Yank law-enforcement friends a solid. Yeah. It might be a long time before they do that again. Here's an excerpt from a New Zealand government press release:

Prime Minister John Key today announced he has requested an inquiry by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the circumstances of unlawful interception of communications of certain individuals by the Government Communications Security Bureau.

Mr Key says the Crown has filed a memorandum in the High Court in the Megaupload case advising the Court and affected parties that the GCSB had acted unlawfully while assisting the Police to locate certain individuals subject to arrest warrants issued in the case. The Bureau had acquired communications in some instances without statutory authority.

The GCSB is a signals-intelligence agency with, mostly, a foreign-intelligence mandate. As the New Zealand Herald puts it:

The law that governs the GCSB allows it to intercept the communications of foreigners without a warrant in some circumstances—but it cannot intercept New Zealand citizens or residents' communications even when it has a warrant and both Dotcom and his co-accused Bram van der Kolk … were New Zealand residents.

Let me repeat: This is an intelligence service that reports directly to the prime minister, and it involved itself, in defiance of the law, in a pissant intellectual property case.

I don't know who Kim Dotcom pissed off, and normally I'd advise him to pay them off and be done with it. But he looks to be doing just fine by sitting back and letting his enemies destroy themselves. Dotcom is, of course, having great fun with this development.

NEXT: Pakistan Minister Won't Resign over Murder Bounty

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. See, that’s why US agencies want more secret laws and secret interpretations of them. That way, not only can the hoi palloi not complain, but they won’t be able to fight back when the agencies break the laws anyway.

  2. I can only imagine how much this shit goes on when the case isn’t hugely public and has a charismatic defendant, and therefore has basically zero chance of getting exposed.

  3. Megaupload managed to attract a seemingly obsessive amount of U.S. Justice Department attention…

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the parties who are pushing the USDoJ to go apeshit on Megaload have also influenced officials in New Zealand.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if the sun set in the West either.

      To be fair to the people freaking out about Megaupload, it pretty much was exactly what they said it was. The whole business model was to pay people to give it pirated content to sell ads/get people to pay for premium accounts. Which is a pretty good business model when you all you have to do is pay for the bandwidth to pirate other people’s stuff. The amount of support he’s getting at this site is a bit surprising since he’s basically exactly the kind of free loading asshole that ruins libertarianism. I mean, it’s fun to watch the movie/tv studios get screwed because of their highhanded protectionist BS, but that doesn’t mean that wholesale piracy is the answer.

      1. I don’t know if it’s so much support of Dotcom as it is criticism of heavyhanded and illegal law enforcement actions.

        1. I think its mostly the latter, but in the case of the former, some of us oppose IP too.

      2. And yet other companies do the same.

        That Scribd site is used to host a lot of pirated books. But in order to download, you need a subscription. Jerry Pournelle bitches about it all the time.

        Even Google presumably makes ad money by including pirate sites in its searches…

      3. MegaUpload was, as far as I can tell, set up specifically to take advantage of safe harbors in the law designed to protect Google and other search engines from being accused of piracy.

        They deliberately configured their system so they could deny knowledge of what was being hosted, and also allowed copyright holders to send them takedown notices for infringing content.

        Since the infringing content was hidden by the users and access to it was controlled by the users themselves, naturally it was quite difficult for copyright holders to track down all the infringing content in order to send the takedown requests. But the law says that’s not Kim DotCom’s problem.

        This entire operation was bullshit from the start. MegaUpload was “abusing” the law, but if we didn’t like that we should have changed the law.

  4. Mass Murdering Neuroscientist Gets Life W/ No Parole

    The Yellowhammer State should have held out for death for Amy Bishop.

    1. Eh why so we could spend millions while her case goes up for appeal every 10 years.

      Death penalty is expensive.

      1. Well then let’s hope she gets shanked in women’s prison.

        There is no doubt of her guilt.

        1. Jesus, you’re a bloodthirsty fuck.

          1. Why should the citizens of Alabama pay to feed and house someone like that?
            It’s not like there will be any exculpatory evidence forthcoming. Ideally, she should have been lynched upon, or shortly after apprehension.

            I’ll never get the “libertarian” love of prisons.

            1. That’s what kills me, pun intended, about republicans. That so much trust could be put in government and lynch mobs to kill without mistake yet claim to be anti-authoritarian; it’s laughable.

              Democrats do their charity through government proxy and republicans do their violence the same way. If you really have a hard-on for blood, then go get in a bar fight or something.

              1. A government kills in the name of all its’ citizens (well maybe not always in the name of the ones it is killing).
                You bear no responsibility for a lynching if you don’t participate in it.
                Lynching is called extra-judicial because no government is necessary.

                How many people do you want to force other people to pay to lock up? Are you a union prison guard?

                1. Are you fucking high?

                  How many people do you want to force other people to pay to lock up?

                  If Escher’s stairs were a sentence they’d look like this.

                2. We can save even more money by skipping the trial and going to straight to death by drone!

                  You’re not pulling the trigger, so it’s all good, right?

                  1. You’re not pulling the trigger, so it’s all good, right?

                    Death boner by proxy.

                    Which would also make a good album name.

                  2. You want the state to have a monopoly on violence?

    2. Yikes. I dont even know what to say about someone like that. Piss her off, she kills you. I am no fan of the death penalty, so I am fine with life for Bishop.

      Oh, and by the way, I really like the snorgtees girls. The new one is no exception.

  5. Dude needs to go have another cheeseburger or three I think.

    http://www.AnonPlanet.tk

  6. On NZ’s intelligence service:

    The SIS suffered public embarrassment in December 1981 when one of its agents mislaid his briefcase. The case was found by a 10-year-old boy who gave it to his mother, Fran O’Sullivan, who happened to be a parliamentary journalist. Reports stated that among the items in the brief case were ‘three cold oval meat pies, two slices of cake, copies of the latest Listener and Penthouse, three identity cards, the man’s letter of appointment to the SIS ? and pages from what appeared to be a notebook’.

    1. my briefcase only contains crackers.

      1. My briefcase has only a sandwich and an apple.

    2. How sad sack does your intelligence service need to be if a guy working for the electronic snoops has a pornographic magazine in his briefcase?

  7. Let me repeat: This is an intelligence service that reports directly to the prime minister, and it involved itself, in defiance of the law, in a pissant intellectual property case.

    Never underestimate the government’s ability to ban or regulate something through sheer force of will.

  8. Just have to say what a great crash blossom this post title is. First read it as “New Zealander scares another taint…wait what?”

  9. Is this really that surprising? That’s the problem with government agencies, they always get misused eventually.

    Though I really have to wonder why New Zealand needs an NSA type agency. I’m not sure why anyone country does, but one that is in the middle of nowhere….

  10. Name 1 famous Kiwi who isn’t in Flight of the Conchords.

    1. I don’t know who that is.

      But I do know Ngaio Marsh, mystery writer in the vein of Agatha Christie.

    2. Edmond Hillary. That’s all I got.

    3. What about that famous rugby player that Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela gave food poisoning to so that South Africa would upset the All Blacks in the early 90’s?

      1. 🙂

        Jonah Lomu?

    4. Ernest Rutherford
      Alan MacDiarmid
      Maurice Wilkins

    5. Add Vaughan Jones too.

      1. I said 1

    6. Film directors:

      Peter Jackson
      Roger Donaldson
      Andrew Niccol
      Martin Campbell
      Lee Tamahori
      Jane Campion
      Andrew Adamson
      Vincent Ward

      Musicians:

      Dean Wareham, Justin Harwood
      Brendan Perry
      Tim Finn, Neil Finn

      1. Dude, you’re just making up names, shit is easy.

        Tinpot Brown
        Jeremy Swede
        Astonforth Birmingham
        Steven Pinky
        Alowsishes Harmful
        Pete

      2. You left out Chris Knox.

    7. Rod Millen, racer extraordinaire.

        1. Speaking of McLaren

        2. Not to mention Burt Munro!

    8. And lets not forget the man who won the Battle of Britain, Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Rodney Park.

      Also WW2 legend Charles Upham. The only infantryman two win two Victoria Cross medals.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Upham

    9. Lucy Lawless

      Kiri Te Kanawa

      Temuera Morrison

    10. The indispensable Melanie Lynskey.

  11. Further Taint

    That’s the name of my next album

  12. So…Seahawks win, but only because the refs are blind.

    1. I was assured there was no difference.

    2. The Maculate Reception. Oh, and Golden Tate shoved Sam Shields before jumping up to grab the ball. The NFL better not let that crew officiate a game at Lambeau or there will be cheesy bloody spilt.

      1. Yeah, at the very least it definitely should have been called back for pass interference.

        I missed part of it, though. Did Green Bay not challenge? They had two time outs left, they should have been able to.

        Or maybe the announcers were so busy talking about how bad the refs were that they missed talking about that part.

        1. Coach’s can’t challenge inside of 2 minutes.

          1. Yeah, the refs had all the time in the world and access to multiple angles in HD to get the call right, and they still failed to get the call right.

          2. Forgot about that. Kind of a dumb rule, if you ask me.

            1. Ironically it’s intended to prevent bad calls from derailing a game if the coach has no challenges under two minutes.

              1. That’s just dumb.

                1. *looks it up on Wikipedia*

                  During a scoring play (starting in 2011), turnovers (starting in 2012), or after the two-minute warning of each half, and in overtime, reviews can only take place if the replay assistant, who sits in the press box and monitors the network broadcast of the game, determines that a play needs review; coaches may not challenge during these times. In those cases, the replay assistant will contact the referee by a specialized electronic pager with a vibrating alert.

                  So did the replay assistant not call in a challenge? If no, then why the fuck not?

              2. TDs are reviewed automatically without a coaches challenge.

                1. Yeah, so how the hell did it survive review? Something’s not right, not right at all.

                  1. Possession is not reviewable – so ref’s screw up stands. They can only review was there a catch, both feet in, etc.

                    1. In any case, dual possession goes to the offense. They both clearly had their hands on it; maybe the Green Bay player had it closer to his body, but neither had sole possession.

                      The offensive push off was pretty bad, but as the TV idiots (God I hate Jon Gruden) kept saying, they rarely call offensive PI on a hail mary. I don’t even know if I would want them to call defensive PI then.

    1. This is the second BcBs commercial you have linked to; are you in the pay of big-commenting for insurance bucks, Fan?

      1. I’m subjected to Blue Cross ads 24/7

        1. Could you inform them that an anti-fat message probably won’t play too well in this country. Do they outsource their advertising to an Ethiopian firm now, or something?

          Blue cross, you can have my cheetos when you pry them from my cold, dead orange stained hands.

          1. Did you see the ad in the sidebar? “eating out”

            My current cable package gives me US stations from Minnesota.

            The election ads are worse. Pray I don’t post those.

            1. I’m perpin’ adblock 24/7 so I see no ads. Also, I watch everything online so I rarely see any commercials. I am so glad not to have to watch romney/obama ads all fucking day long.

              I thought not having to watch American political ads would be one of the benefits of being a Canadian, but I guess not. That is a goddamn shame.

              1. It’s not the Bama ads. It’s the congress ads.

                1. I boycott all non-cable channels during elections. If I have to watch a show on a station that commonly carries ads I’ll get it over the internet instead. Fucking ads drive me nuts.

                2. It’s not the Bama ads. It’s the congress ads.

                  Those can be worse, though sometimes they’re so low budget as to be entertaining.

                  Okay, watch this montage of Puerto Rican variety shows; I promise it’ll cheer you up.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.