Targeting Dotcom may backfire on Hollywood: InternetNZ
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The copyright industry upped the ante by getting the New Zealand government involved in its fight against Kim Dotcom, but yesterday’s High Court decision declaring the search and seizure of Dotcom’s property illegal shows the move could backfire on them says Internet New Zealand CEO Vikram Kumar.
Auckland High Court justice Helen Winkelmann said the warrants “did not adequately describe the offences to which they related. Indeed they fell well short of that. They were general warrants, and as such, are invalid.” She also found the release of cloned hard drives to the FBI for shipping to the United States breached the law.
“They [copyright holders] used the government as an arm to enforce their own private rights,” says Kumar.
“Now they need to be thinking whether to stay the course, and try and win it the US or should they try to minimise the damage and get out now. In a civil case the rights holders could opt to settle out of court or by other means, but that’s not open to them right now.”
Kumar adds that although justice Helen Winkelmann’s decision would be a blow to the prosecution case in New Zealand, it would not stop the copyright holders from pursuing a case against Dotcom.
“I don’t think this will put a damper on it. Hollywood and the copyright industry have a long history of expanding their efforts in cases like this,” says Kumar.
“If anything I think it’s going to continue for many years.”
On Justice Winkelmann’s decision which found the release of cloned hard drives to the FBI for shipping to the United States breached the law, Kumar says this area of the law requires more inspection by the government and criminal forensic experts.
“The crown previously advanced an argument that by copying data and giving it to the defendant it would somehow weaken the data’s integrity,” says Kumar.
“This is something the industry and government need to inspect. Forensic copying of data is important, and something the government is actually quite good at.”
“What this decision shows is anyone that argues that copying data somehow makes it less credible is probably incorrect.”
Kumar says he has invited Dotcom to speak at InternetNZ's Net Hui conference next month to speak about the commercial aspects of creating a cloud business, but Dotcom has declined.
"I guess he's missed an opportunity to speak on that," he says.
US authorities claim Dotcom and co-accused Mathias Ortmann, Fin Batato and Bram van der Kolk used the Megaupload website to knowingly make money from pirated movies and games. They have charged him in the US with multiple copyright infringement offences. An extradition hearing has been set down for August 6.
Justice Winkelmann has ordered that an independent barrister be appointed to review “all items seized for the purpose of identifying irrelevant and privileged material”.
She also ordered that the “clones containing only relevant and non-privileged material located on the seized electronic items (the disclosable clones) be created and provided to the United States authorities.”
Justice Winkelmann will meet with lawyers on both sides on July 4.
Dotcom's San Francisco-based lawyer Ira Rothken told The Dominion Post he did not know what impact the ruling would have on an extradition hearing due to be held in Auckland on August 6.
"We are pleased the court ruled the US acted illegally by taking the hard drives offshore," he said.
However, when asked whether he believed the US Government would return the illegally seized information, he said: "We will analyse the [US] Government's conduct in light of this ruling."
The police have released the following statement in response to Justice Winkelmann's ruling: "The Police are considering the judgement and are in discussions with Crown Law to determine what further action might be required. Police will not be making any comment on the judgement until that process is complete."
Meanwhile Kim Dotcom has been keeping Twitter followers amused. He has posted the photo of a 'wanted poster' in which he held up a daisy, with the words "Kim Dotcom (mega pirate) underneath. In another tweet he there was a link to a photo of a computer screen with "police line do not cross" tape across it and the words "Excuse me, Can I borrow some scissors?"
Posted by federal at 21:43:33 on June 29, 2012
I think we need to look at both sides.
Why was Mr Dotcom let into the country? He has not really created wealth locally. Buying Govt bonds is not a serious contribution - he gets interest at better rates than elsewhere# and one wonders if pays tax on it.
Spending half a million on (imported Chinese made) fireworks do not add value to our economy. Giving money to John Banks would be seen in many circles as hardly an 'investment' in an old geezer who can't remember anything.
Where has Mr. Dotcom made NZ a better place?
These court cases are costing the NZ taxpayer and there is vulnerability that he could sue the NZ Police for false arrest. Ultimately the taxpayer foots that bill.
What if Mr. Dotcom ends up in a US jail? Will NZ have to fork out the DPB and other benefits to Mona Dotcom? And pay unemployment to all the other hangers on!
This is a all good lesson.
The other side is that all credit must be given to Justice Winkelmann who upheld the law. The USA is pretty good at destroying lives based on innuendo. Look at the McCarthyism of the 1950s. We don't want that here. Let cool heads and the rule of decent law prevail. One can see the benefits of not having Sherriff's, district attorneys et al subject to regular elections and therefore political pressure.
Posted by Wayne Michael Dawes at 13:51:13 on June 29, 2012
Posted by Anonymous at 10:39:06 on July 2, 2012
It puzzles me as to why the government is so desperate to feed this chap to the wolves when they gathered around and protected the plonker in whitianga that was proved to have caused major malisious damage writing viruses.
Could this just be another attempt to suck up to the movie moguls?
Posted by Bill at 12:23:19 on June 29, 2012
This person KimDotCon does not do himself any favours by getting smart to our Police authorities via his twitter account.
Firstly, all these issues would not have emanated if this Kim Schmitz had not been granted NZ citizenship in the first instance.
He was convicted on eight business charges in a Hong Kong court just a month after being granted conditional residency in New Zealand,he applied under the Investor Plus category after investing $10 million in government bonds, and was given a special direction which allowed him to gain residency despite not meeting the good character requirements and was finally granted New Zealand residency in November 2010 despite these string of foreign convictions and is also considered a persona non grata in Thailand.
He is a person of ill-repute with these convictions against his name:
Computer hacking in 1994 in Germany for which he received a two-year suspended sentence and was treated as a juvenile.
Insider trading and breach of trust in 2003 in Germany for which he received a one year and eight month suspended sentence and paid a 100,000 fine.He does NOT have a clean slate as his convictions for credit card fraud and insider trading in Germany, from 2002 and from 2003 have a term of redemption of 15 years.
Former immigration minister Aussie Malcolm's company acted as an agent for Dotcom and described him as a "billionaire with a lot to offer New Zealand in terms of job creation and investment". It was also suggested that he would be able to bring other wealthy people to New Zealand through his contacts.
The only thing Kimdotcon has brought to our shores is trouble and we want decent people with appropriate proficient skills who will help grow our economy not make us the laughing stock around the globe...being considered lax in our immigration laws and all one needs to do is buy citizenship via Government Bonds.
Minor traffic infringements before 2003.
Eight charges relating to the purchase of shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2010. He was fined HK$8000.
Posted by fury12 at 12:02:23 on June 29, 2012