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Kim Dotcom loses extradition case (stuff.co.nz)
213 points by tptacek on Dec 23, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 132 comments

He can still appeal the case to a higher court in New Zealand, and may have a chance there. Copyright infringement isn't extraditable from New Zealand, because it's not a crime there. To counteract this problem, the US also charged him with conspiracy to commit a crime and money laundering, which are extraditable offenses in New Zealand. However, those charges are wholly dependent upon the main copyright infringement charge. The conspiracy charge is based upon conspiring with others to commit copyright infringement, and the money laundering charge is based upon his use of the proceeds of an alleged crime - namely, copyright infringement.

Based upon this, a higher court may very well reverse the lower court's decision. Kim Dotcom isn't going anywhere until he has exhausted all of his extradition appeals.

Even if copyright infringement is not extraditable in New Zealand, it is still a crime, right? So how would it in any way invalidate the extraditability of money laundering "based" on some crime, if money laundering in itself is extraditable even without any other crime having committed by the accused?

Money laundering would be extraditable even stand-alone, right?

Yes, of course appeals will always be used to delay extraditions and anything. This is not really to the credit of justice systems, though it may sometimes lead to outcomes that are "right".

(I just recently got decision for my friend's mother's residence permit where our local government tired out after a repeated appeal process of seven years, after two full rounds of all court stages plus the ECHR. We lost in the courts at all stages but the authorities just realised that this is never going to end so it's better to give in.)


> Actually, it's not. There is no criminal copyright infringement in New Zealand.

How does that work? New Zealand is a signatory to the Berne Convention and also to WIPO. That means they agree to hold similar copyright laws and protections.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WIPO_Copyright_Treaty https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berne_Convention

Afaik, wipo and the berne convention do not require copyright infringent to be a crime. It can also be dealt with in civil law (as opposed to criminal law). As an example, breaching a contract is not a crime either in most cases.

> Actually, it's not. There is no criminal copyright infringement in New Zealand.

"In some circumstances, a person may commit a criminal offence if they make, import, sell, hire or distribute infringing copies of works. Criminal liability can attract fines of up to $150,000 and imprisonment for up to 5 years."


that's a unofficial site. and weaselly worded. "in some circumstances" which may be falsifying documents to get hold of the material, using the material to defame someone, or something else, we don't know because they happily omit. and then next phrase is already about criminal liability, which may or may not be because of copyright infringement.

Far more nuanced than great-grandparent's link implied.

IANAL, but, as far as I know, there is no concept of stand-alone money laundering. You can only launder money that you came upon through crime. So, if there was no crime to begin with, it makes no sense to accuse him of money-laundering.

Unsure about NZ, but at least in the US, "structuring" your payments in a way that would avoid AML checks is a crime by itself, regardless of whether you obtained the money legally.


are you even reading the comments? he declared money as "proceed from my company: data storage site"

and the US claims that money laundering because it was proceeds from buying and selling illegal materials.

I'm still puzzled how he can be extradited if he is not US citizen and did not commit any crime on US soil.

Hew Raymond Griffiths, had never been to the US. He was extradited from Australia to the US for something that isn't considered a crime in Australia.

The irony is this part: "Griffiths finally returned to Australia on 2 March 2008, after 5 weeks as an illegal alien in the US immigration detention system following his release from prison on 26 January 2008 (Australia Day). A condition of his repatriation to Australia was that he never again re-enter the United States of America, a country he had never visited before being extradited to it."


What in the actual fuck? He was detained for immigration authorities because 'prisoner for a crime that isn't a crime in my jurisdiction' isn't a legal immigration status?

Thanks for educating me about this.

I'm left scratching my head at this as well. I'm assuming (without reading into it) they are arguing that it was U.S. copy righted material that was taken, and distributed on U.S. soil (i.e. the internet).

Julian Assange faces similar offense[1], though in this case they are claiming national security as opposed to copy right infringement.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange

It happens often. See "Mr. Nice" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr_Nice_(book) - he was a pot smuggler who had never entered the states and was not a UK citizen but the DEA managed to extradite him anyway.

One word: overreach

Imperialism. What the US says goes.

> Kim Dotcom isn't going anywhere until he has exhausted all of his extradition appeals

A NZ newspaper just published an article about the likely process at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objecti...

1. Appeal to the NZ High Court on whether the law was applied correctly

2. Appeal to NZ Court of Appeals

3. Appeal to NZ Supreme Court

4. NZ Justice Minister decides whether there's any reasons in the Extradition Act that meant extradition should not be ordered, including humanitarian and political persecution reasons.

Process arguments aside (and there may be process arguments that demolish the US case here, and I care about process too, especially if they involve getting evidence in bogus ways):

The US has Kim Schmitz dead to rights in this case.

There's a whole mythology about what MegaUpload actually was, and it gets partial anecdotal support from people who, for instance, used it or had friends who used it solely as a sort of Dropbox or benign file transmission method.

But when the DOJ imaged the servers, they got Schmitz's mail spools, and they have Schmitz and his employees in black- and- white discussing payment systems that disbursed cash to users specifically based on pirated media.

My favorite anecdote from the indictment:

At one point during the operation of MegaUpload, a user downloaded an episode of Dexter from it, and complained to Schmitz via email that the video quality was low.

Schmitz responded not by scrubbing Dexter off his site, but instead by demanding that his staff fix the video quality issues.

Independently of whether he's a savoury character or not (and I'm pretty firmly in the not camp), what's your opinion of him being extradited to the US despite: not being a US citizen, never having visited the US, not having had the offending servers or the company in question in the US and generally the whole case seeming to have nothing at all to do with the US at all? Except that Hollywood is based there, of course. I'm really struggling to see how the US has any jurisdiction here.

not having had the offending servers...in the US

Not accurate. Read the indictment at the link on this page.

- Bottom of page 11: thirty-nine infringing copies of copyright motion pictures were present on their leased servers at Carpathia Hosting... in the Eastern District of Virginia

- Page 18:The Mega Conspiracy leases approximately 25 petabytes of data storage from Carpathia to store content associated with The Mega Site.

- It also looks like they leased servers in the US from Cogent, Leaseweb. They paid Carpathia $13M US to host Mega files in the US.

- They also used a US-based Paypal account to receive funds and pay the different hosts in the US.

- They made "reward" payments to US residents who provided copyrighted material.

Mega was running an illegal business in the US.

Yes, if I am running a scam on US users, using US services to do so, and hiring US employees to run the scam, then I am operating in the US, even if I never set foot there. You can argue any kind of racketeering is immune to foreign prosecution if you argue against Dotcom's extradition, and those arguments are no more valid.

You shouldn't be subject to US law as a non us citizen regardless or would you like US citizens hauled off to saudi arabia to answer decency charges?

Or US 'contractors' to Iraq.

The US has many citizens that rightly should stand trial for crimes a whole lot more serious than facilitating copyright violation, and none ever will. Reciprocity in situations like these would be very much appreciated and the US is very very reluctant to let any of its citizens be extradited. It happens, but the frequency is dis-proportional to the point of being comical.

Are there any stats about this? Military contractors have a bit of a special situation ( not to say its valid...), but if I'm wanted for murder in France I'm pretty sure I'll be put on the first plane out if I were in Virginia

One area of unbalance:


> A critical test set out in the treaty is that the British request must include "such information as would provide a reasonable basis to believe that the person sought committed the offence for which extradition is requested."

> This requirement does not apply to requests submitted by the US to the UK.

Amanda Knox. You made her a celebrity. Us tried hard to prevent her being tried.

What about What about the What about the ex CEO of Union Carbide who still has a warrant out for his arrest in India for the Bhopal incident. Basically this is a power game. If your little the US system screws you. If your big like China and ripping off Nike sneakers you can thumb your nose at the US legal system.

Would you care to point out some US companies that have hosted servers and hired employees in Saudi Arabia where those servers and employees were flaunting Saudi law?

Further, New Zealand made their own choice to extradite him. They could have refused, they instead chose to. The alternative might have been an international incident, but they decided to aid the US and turn him over. The US is not so all-powerful that it can compel governments to act against their own best interest, only powerful enough to align interests, by hook or crook.

> The US is not so all-powerful that it can compel governments to act against their own best interest, only powerful enough to align interests, by hook or crook.

What world do you live in? The United States often compels governments to act against their own interests. The 1973 US backed coup leading to the death of 11,000 civilians. The Iranian-Contras. The School of the Americas, which literally trained terrorists in South America, Iraq!

Thirty years from now, declassified information will show the US caused the rebellion in Libya and that the US directly funded ISIS.

Granted New Zealand is a Commonwealth State and it'd be much more difficult to go to war with a developed English speaking nation, but they are still under the thumb of the US/UK empire. They ruled the spying on Kim Dotcom was illegal, then changed the laws to make it retroactively legal...and also allow the GCHB to spy on anyone they want.

I wish I could base my arguments on things that are going to happen 30 years from now.

for NZ, the USA based companies signed a deal to film several multi million dollars movies there on the same week the NZ feds agreed to press charges and arrest Kim Dotcom. including the hobbit, which also donated a renovated international airport to the country (hobbit themed no less)

if you want to think the US industry most interested in the copyright law there moving all that money at the right time is just a coincidence, suit yourself.

To be fair the landscape of NZ was highly suitable to the filming of a Movie like the Hobbit. There were far better reasons for them to be filming there than the Dotcom case. Enough better reasons that it's reasonable to conclude the timing in the case was coincidental.

I suspect that it's also not unusual for Hollywood to sweeten the pot when they want to film somewhere with donations of various types.

The connection between the case and those films is extremely tenuous.

It is a bit unusual for Hollywood to get laws passed in their favour in foreign countries - http://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/oct/31/warner-bros-...

my employer has a data center there and neighboring countries, and i can guess we don't pay much attention if out edge servers are hosting any entertainment news pictures that are death offenses there.

same with China. i bet right now our edge servers are pumping out lots of state censored topics that are also possible treason death sentences.

Indecency isn't a crime in the US, so you couldn't get extradited for it.

If you had committed a crime in Saudi Arabia that is also illegal in the US and the US courts have ruled that the extradition is legal, I don't see what's wrong with being extradited.

If you're a gay man you face much more serious consequences from that extradition.

Copyright infringement isn't a crime in NZ...

It is if you do it as part of a business. Downloading a movie isn't a crime (but is illegal), but burning it to dvd and selling it turns it into a crime.

OK, let's shift to another scenario then.

It's illegal in the US to make and distribute adult films without the proper permits and paperwork and health checks.

Let's say someone made a website that had Saudi girls, now living in the US, make adult films (without the proper permitting and everything so they were violating a US law as well) and advertised those films in Saudi Arabia. And let's say there are Saudi customers.

To speed things up, maybe they had a CDN server in Saudi Arabia.

When the authorities in Saudi Arabia discover this and charge the film makers, would the US grant extradition?

* The film makers / business operators in this scenario would be 100% American. * The product of their creation and the service itself wouldn't be illegal in the US. What was illegal was some business decisions they made. * Their CDN helped facilitate optimal data transmission but was not required for business operations * The Saudi court in this scenario wishes to charge them for the service itself and the product created

Similarly, * Kim is not an american citizen and his company wasn't American * His business was legal in the country it was incorporated in, although he arguably made some business decisions that were not entirely above board * He had leased equipment in the US to help serve people in that geographic region * The US wishes to jail him for the actual operation of the service

Would the US extradite the US citizen to Saudi Arabia for punishment? If not, why should NZ extradite Kim to the US?

*edit - Somehow didn't see that michaelmrose made this argument too in this exact same thread

In general something has to be a crime in both countries for an extradition to happen.

This has meant that the US has introduced extra sex crime law so that Americans who travel overseas to take advantages of different age of consent laws can be tried as if they had committed the crime in the US.

Except that it is (someone posted a link to the law above).

They also don't have Google in New Zealand.

am i missing something at google.co.nz?

We also need to prevent double trials. If an individual were judged and sentenced for a crime in one country, he should not be judged on the same grounds in another.

Is there any concept of international double jeopardy? I understand why we want to avoid this within the same country, but if someone commits a crime against both Country A and Country B simultaneously (one act) and they are sentenced to N months in prison or a $Y fine in Country A, I don't immediately see any reason why Country B shouldn't be allowed to pursue a case against them as well.

If Jaywalking is a crime in country 200 countries you don't want someone to be liable 200 times for a single case.

Note, we are charging people for crimes committed in other countries so the president is independent of crime type.

This is a poor example since a single case of Jaywalking can only be commited in a single country. If you were to Jaywalk across a country border on the other hand, you'd could be charged with 2 instances of Jaywalking. Once in the first country covering only the distance you Jaywalked while in that country and once in the second country to cover the distance you Jaywalked in that country. Even in that case you might only be tried in a single country since the other country would have to extradite you and they may not want to. That's the whole point of the extradition process, it allows one country to deny or allow another country the ability to prosecute someone.

An example of crime which can be punished twice: Use of prostitution in a foreign country is illegal for an Australian. However, the law was created with international compatibility in mind.

Ahh, but we are charging people for crimes they commit outside of a given country.

If twenty country's all make blasphemy illegal, then a single speech in a single country would be breaking the law in each of them.

As to jaywalking, that might not be the root cause. Selective enforcement means people often get charge for reasons other than the direct action.

I won't repeat what blktiger said. A better example would be child pornography hosted on multiple servers in multiple countries. I'm sure there is a less emotionally charged offense where you could come up with a single act violating the same (or very similar) laws in multiple jurisdictions simultaneously.

In your example each separate server would involve separate incidents and thus be separate crimes. What about one person uploading one file to one server in a persons home country?

It really grinds me that he is portrayed by some as an unjust victim of US gov malice and a champion for internet rights issues when he is nothing more than a thief, liar and conman.

It doesn't help that people like Snowden, Greenwald and Assange associated themselves with his cause when they appeared at his election event in Auckland where he promised a bombshell against the government but produced what were likely forged documents.

I'm all for copyright reform, online privacy rights, reform of US judicial overreach, etc. but Kim Dotcom earned $175M by commercializing misappropriated content. There was no cause here as could be argued with the pirate bay or other similar cases. There was also nothing innovative or interesting about what he did. This guy was in it for himself and knew what he was getting himself into and what the consequences could be.

That he cast himself as an internet jesus was to be expected by those who knew him, but that so many bought it up is very unfortunate and damaging to legitimate causes.

That's one way too look at it. The other way is that he made content available when the producers wouldn't. How long do you have to wait to get TV shows in the EU while the US merrily fills the internet with spoiler?

His motivation weren't noble; but as far as thieves go, I'll take Kim Dotcom over the MPAA or the RIAA.

> he made content available when the producers wouldn't

Yeah, that's called theft. The "producers" are the guys (or organizations) that paid their money to have these TV shows shot, you know. If they wanted to, they could sell only one copy of their shows at all, like Wu Tang. Or just show us the trailers, make everyone want them, and never release them, just for the laughs.

No it isn't. It's called copyright infringement.

> Yeah, that's called theft.

Only by loose metaphor; its actually properly called "copyright infringement", which is more analogous to trespass to chattels than to theft, or even conversion (though it obviously differs from either in that copyrights are intangible personal property, and the others deal with tangible personal property.)

That's certainly the legal doctrine. Personally, I don't happen to agree with it.

How? I honestly don't understand how a person in the same ethical framework could disagree with this, if he fully understands the situation.

Here's one way: once you release something publicly enough it becomes part of our culture. You don't own our culture, any part of it, even if you created some of the art in it. Your work lives in a context surrounded by other works you did not create, and could only have been created as a response to them. That's how art works. So while you have some rights to it, you don't have absolute and complete rights to determine what happens to it after release; it belongs primarily to society now, with a respectful nod towards you. People are free to talk about it, watch it, look at it, listen to it, learn from it in ways you never imagined. And you won't get paid for all of them. Welcome to creating art.

Ethic and morality judgement is very subjective endeavour with inconsistent results across the population. In other words, most people do not exist in "the same ethical framework". The justice framework used by judges is perhaps more consistent, but not necessarily better than other competitive view for any case in hand. Sometimes the very laws are very immoral.

Do you want to know how long you should have to wait to get US TV shows in the EU? AS LONG AS THE COPYRIGHT OWNER THINKS YOU SHOULD WAIT. This sort of entitled "I want any content that interests me and I want it for free" attitude is exactly what plays into the hands of those who want to limit copyright reform.

The whole point of copyright is to make the works available. It is explicitly the reason why the creator is given a time limited monopoly.

From Wikipedia:

"... the Statute of Anne is formally titled "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by Vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or Purchasers of Copies, during the Times therein mentioned".[45] The preamble for the Statute indicates the purpose of the legislation - to bring order to the book trade - saying:

    ..., and for the Encouragement of Learned Men to Compose and Write useful Books; May it please Your Majesty, that it may be Enacted... "

And people like you have some entitled thinking that you have the right to deny people like me (I am from a third world country that is mostly ignored by copyright owners) the right for culture and education.

I pirated thousands of stuff, and I am proud to say it, because pirating thousands of stuff is how I educated myself, and how I got cultured in things that don't exist in my country, and now allow me to do the amazing stuff that I do (including participate in the international economy, that has more money available than local economy, and earn enough money to sometimes be able to legally buy something, instead of pirating it).

Your situation highlights my philosophical disagreement with Intellectual Property.

I think, when you really analyze the basic motivations behind IP, they come down to 'It's the law of the jungle.' aka "Fuck you, pay me".

There are lots of humane laws that take the exigencies of life into account, but there are also laws that the powerful have created to exploit the less powerful. A legal framework that excludes the poor from sharing the ideas of the powerful or wealthy is not an 'enlightened' law, and therefore I believe anything that can be done to fight it or weaken it's enforcement mechanisms is a mitzvah.


The point of copyright was to ensure that people who made creative works could get paid and earn a living. Not to tie their cultural works up for the rest of their lives, everyone else be damned.

Given that the idea of a "tragedy" has been around for a few thousand years now (the greeks wrote about it a long time ago) how is any creative work created completely in a vacuum? I believe that the answer is that it is not. Many stories have different details but there are probably only a few dozen archetypical stories.

We have the idea of compulsory licensing for a bunch of different things. Why shouldn't movies and TV shows and such also be licensed that way?

What a perverse view of the world our twisted regulations have created. Patents and copyrights were created explicitly to encourage distribution by providing limited financial incentives (monopoly), not prevent it.

So just like YouTube.

Yeah, people do tend to forget that most media consumption startups essentially got bootstrapped with a huge amount of copyright infringement. YouTube, Spotify, ...

The difference is of course that those startups end up making their content legal. But I don't see how what MU did is not okay, but what YouTube and Spotify did is fine.

> But I don't see how what MU did is not okay, but what YouTube and Spotify did is fine.

What Spotify did?

not exactly. the studios and distributors sue everyone, even YouTube. then the one that becomes market leader and gets all the eyeballs usually gets a deal for the lawsuits and the studios have them on a leash for cheaper advertising (remember that a Disney film will spend more on advertising than production over the course of its international release life)

MU was paying the people that upload illegal content, specifically because they were uploading illegal content.

How is that different to having your employees scraping torrent sites for music to add to your library?

who did that?

Spotify during their early years. This is pretty well known.

Citation needed. Are you sure you're not thinking of Grooveshark?

Sorry, I can't find an actual citation - if you ask any Spotify employee though, it's pretty much an open secret that Spotify's initial collection was scraped from the pirate bay.

What is public knowledge is that CEO Daniel Ek was the former CEO of uTorrent. He has certainly made millions from online copyright infringement, if only perhaps, less directly than Kim-dot-com.

I didn't know uTorrent was a company! I haven't used Windows in forever, so I've been using Transmission for a long time, but I feel like that's the equivalent of foobar2000 being a company or something.

I mean YouTube gives content creators a slice of ad revenue, so...

I don't know if this program was implemented before the copyright crackdown, though.

I actually have an unpublished draft post on my blog titled "Is Megaupload as guilty as YouTube?".

The idea of the post was to compare and contrast the internal YouTube emails[1] that came out as part of Viacom vs YouTube with the internal Megaupload emails[2] [2.5].

The reason why the post remained unpublished is because after reading the relevant indictments and court rulings I found that there were clear distinctions between the cases.

Namely it was that YouTube were grappling with how to deal with the situation and not sure where they stood while Megaupload knew exactly where they were and what they were doing - they were actually assisting users in locating pirated content when support was emailed.

Google also implemented ContentID to help identity content, while in contrast Megaupload placed a cap on the number of takedown requests a content owner could file and internal emails show Kim Dotcom being angry at employees for taking down copyright content that wasn't explicitly cited in an DMCA request. The employees also discussed how they built their filtering system to take down child pornography but not affect copyrighted content.

In the latest appeal court decision in Viacom vs YouTube the judge vacated all counts against YouTube and found that the company had no knowledge of specific infringements of copyrighted works. The judge also found that there was no evidence that YouTube induced its users to upload infringing videos, or "interacted with infringing users to a point where it might be said to have participated in their activity."

MegaUpload did exactly that. Reading the MegaUpload indictment[3] and contrasting it to the appeals court decision[4] in Viacom demonstrates the same with every count or claim (being willful, having knowledge, inducing users, etc.)

[1] http://www.fastcompany.com/1588353/steal-it-and-other-intern...

[2] https://torrentfreak.com/megaupload-what-made-it-a-rogue-sit...

[2.5] http://www.theverge.com/2015/10/1/9436735/megaupload-prosecu...

[3] DOJ vs Megaupload: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/business/documents/mega...

[4] Viacom vs YouTube district appeals court decision: https://www.docketalarm.com/cases/New_York_Southern_District...

When looking at the emails from both cases, have you taken into account that the adversarial nature of the Viacom vs YouTube vs non-adversarial nature of the emails from the MegaUpload case?

Specifically, emails from the YouTube case are available from both sides (emails that show YouTube in a good light presented by YouTube, and emails that show YouTube in a negative light presented by Viacom), but in the MegaUpload case the only emails are from the indictment (and thus are likely to be hand picked for the purposes of helping secure the indictment).

...and there is more pornography, pirated audio and video content on YouTube than there has ever been at any time before.

You can add that to your post to complete it.

A copyright infringer, liar, and conman. In New Zealand.

When I silently wish for the extradition effort to fail, I'm not backing him. I really just want to see a sovereign allied anglophone nation tell the US to see that its jurisdictional claims stop at the 12 NM limit, and to please mind its own business. I don't want to see US playing at world police, except for crimes heinous enough that every nation should be combating them wherever they may occur, like war crimes, terrorism, international financial fraud, and hijackings of international shipping vessels.

Why should Dotcom get so much effort? What risk does he pose to US citizens to justify transporting him out of NZ? Whatever that may be, the risk of allowing the US to assert intellectual property jurisdiction over the whole Internet is far worse.

I'd like Dotcom to eventually get comeuppance, but not in a way that establishes an undesirable precedent.

I concur.

In a perfect U.S. -- one where jurors weren't routinely disqualified from serving on a jury simply because they are aware of the concept of jury nullification -- I might agree with you.

But our system is badly broken here in the U.S.

Appeals to the law as it currently exists and saying essentially, "You broke the law; now pay the price." are ignorant and stupid since our whole concept of justice is predicated on the idea that any sufficiently unacceptable law should be able to be nullified by jury.

This is still true in theory, but in practice, one of the major checks in the grand balancing scheme of our system of justice is non-existant.

Fix that. Then worry about who broke what laws.

> one where jurors weren't routinely disqualified from serving on a jury simply because they are aware of the concept of jury nullification

Off-topic but tangentially related.

I served on jury duty for the local court system and had an opportunity to speak with one of the prosecuting attorneys after my term was over. I couldn't help myself from asking him how he felt, as a prosecutor, about jury nullification, and would have been surprised by his response had I not already been aware of his political leanings. It was his personal opinion that jury nullification was under-utilized and that it shouldn't serve as a reason to disqualify jurors. Indeed, he wished jurors were generally more well-informed and at least aware of the possibility and utility of its use, especially given its history in colonial courts. (It's a shame that some localities may have laws that could be used to punish such jurors.)

That much gives me hope, but considering how few attorneys and judges likely share his sentiments, I'm not sure if that hope is misplaced (maybe it is). Plus, it's anecdotal with a sample size of one. ;)

I admit I don't really have a point other than to share my experience, and I'm neither agreeing nor disagreeing with your assertions, but I found it interesting that there are at least some people in the bowels of the judicial system who have similar concerns. I'm just not sure they're numerous enough (or ever will be numerous enough) to effect change.

This is about the extradition. I'm sure there's something in your comment history that would be considered blasphemy in Turkey, should the US extradite you if we further assume you have never visited the country?

Dotcom has never been to the US. I personally don't want a world where I may be extradited to a country I've never been because of something accessible on the internet and the political stars happened to align with my home country.

I think you have confused the grounds for extradition. It can generally happen when the act is a crime both where extradited from and where extradited to.

Blasphemy is not criminal in the US, so let's not worry about that until you travel to Turkey or EU countries where "hate laws" apply.

Money laundering, fraud etc. on the other hand are illegal both in New Zealand and the US, so extradition grounds are there.

The fact that Kim Schmitz has never been to US does not mean that what he's done wouldn't be relevant to US and US laws wouldn't apply.

As an example, had Hideki Tojo ever set foot in the US? Not that I know - he might have, but it's not relevant. His actions were clearly seen on the US soil, and Americans did execute him by hanging.

Comparing a war general to a con artist? Not only that, Tojo was tried before an international panel, not just the US, and largely used as a figurehead to take blame and avoid execution of the royal family. BIG difference between world war and stealing movies.

Well, Tojo was just one example; Japan very clearly wasn't part of the international panel that condemned him.

Perhaps Kim Schmitz is also a sort of figurehead here.

I have not doubt that the amount of losses that copyright holders claim were lost due to his actions are vastly exaggerated. On the other hand I have no doubt that Schmitz has been making considerable profit out of a copyright infringement racket.

It's illegal in both, but most importantly, the crime happened in both. So why should US laws take precedence?

Because a vast majority of copyright holders whose rights were infringed are based in US?

We've had an extradition treaty with Turkey for nearly 40 years. Got an example where anything like that happened or is this just Boing Boing-style spitballing?

Perhaps playing Devil's Advocate here a little bit and without knowing their local laws - however wouldn't the route still be, and all that is obligated by MegaUpload, to respond to official DMCA-like requests? I don't want to assume that he knows what Dexter is, nor that it wasn't the copyright holder who uploaded it.

He's being extradited now, which means that it's US laws that apply now. I don't think this particular fact is evidence of any law breaking, unless the email the user sent said they were pirating the show. Because it's hard to prove that Kim knew what "Dexter" was, and even if he did, it's hard to prove he didn't assume it was uploaded legitimately (by Showtime, for example).

That said, there's a little more to it than just promptly addressing DMCA takedown requests. In order to be eligible for the DMCA safe-harbor, a company must not be aware of specific cases of copyright infringement on their website without taking some action agais them.

Technically he has the right to appeal, which I'm sure he will do, so he's not being extradited just yet and New Zealand laws still apply.

"Proving" something in a court of law (in criminal law) only requires that there is no reasonable doubt. Providing alternative explanations that are not logically impossible, but exceedingly unlikely, does not help you much. If the Dexter thing occured as written here, proving intentional copyright infringement is very easy.

Assuming they are allowed to use the evidence with how it apparently was gathered. And then there are much bigger problems in the society - however the US got away with torture camps/prisons and other scariness, so "surely" they'll get away with this unless the New Zealanders do something about it.

I'm not sure why everyone makes such a hero of Dotcom. He's a jerk who got rich by monetizing other people's work without compensation and in direct violation of their terms and wishes. I'm sure the same people lauding him would be angry if I, say, pulled their open source work and stripped off their copyright and name and claimed that I wrote it and used it to make money. Same thing.

If you want to praise heroes of the open Internet or encryption, there are tons of far more deserving people who create original work rather than profiteering off the work of others.

There are a few people who say that, but I get the impression that most people just want to see some due process, and don't like the undue attention he gets.

Quite a lot of money has been spent taking down pirate bay and Mega and dotcom and etc.

It's surprising that New Zealand bends over backwards for the United States like this.

There are numerous Latin American countries with known narcoterrorists and traffickers that refuse to extradite their criminals to the US, even though their criminals had a direct impact on the lives of US citizens.

On the other hand, Kim Schmitz' crimes are relatively benign compared to those committed by narcoterrorists. It just goes to show how backwards the priorities are for our politicians.

Or perhaps that New Zealand believes in prosecuting criminals while the Latin American countries with known narcoterrorists aren't that bothered?

I have no reason to believe this is the reason, but New Zealand does benefit from the movie industry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Films_shot_in_New_Zea...

Keep in mind a 6 company oligarchy controls almost all of the media coming out of the United States.

The United States has a lot more resources than New Zealand. So there are plenty of other ways for them to incentivize cooperation. I just thought I'd throw out this random fact that a significant amount of films are shot there.

Most countries have had films shot in them. Globally, the film industry does seem to have unusually strong sway with politicians though, considering the relatively small amount of money and people involved.

With regards to dotcom's extradition, I do think the initial raid on his house was an absolute disgrace, but it seems pretty unlikely that he would have had the grace of the court this long in any other OECD country, although that's partly because of the idiotically bungled warrants. The extradition process would have been much faster from the UK for example. [1]

As a rule, our judges are typically not very cooperative with our government [2], let alone foreign ones.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK%E2%80%93US_extradition_trea...

[2] http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/69299045/judge-critical-o...

Weta Digital. Complete scum shop based in Wellington. They do an incredible amount of movie animation and work employees insane hours. Fuck them.

This is the first negative Weta comment I've ever seen. You guys need to spread this message further.

I don't really understand your point. You blame our politicians for the fact that Latin American countries refuse to extradite criminals?

The point is that there was a full SWAT team raid, home invasion, and helicopters to catch a fucking movie pirate. That is what they expend their resources on. It's ridiculous.

Not a "movie pirate", someone who watched a pirated movie.

He ran a business and made 8 figures selling other peoples content without permission.

There may be some irony in your choice of example.

Showtime allowed Dexter to be rebroadcast in NZ on a delayed schedule (sometimes close to a year) on free, broadcast TV.

That means any viewer with a little patience could watch Dexter without paying anything. Also, sometimes these American programs are shown on an accelerated schedule. Viewers can watch a new episode every night instead of having to wait for a week.

>But when the DOJ imaged the servers, they got Schmitz's mail spools, and they have Schmitz and his employees in black- and- white discussing payment systems that disbursed cash to users specifically based on pirated media.

This is very similar to the emails from YouTube's early days where some of the first employees are openly discussing how to get more pirated material.

i can imagine the same being found at YouTube emails.

the Google purchase discussion included talks about the liability because of pirated material. and i bet if some user complained about play back issues about any video they would fix it too.

it's just a matter of how the lawyer taking to press wants you to feel. and we usually fall very easily.

You're more likely to see a copyrighted episode of Dexter removed from YouTube if someone complained than to see it improved. You seem to be grasping at straws here.

Kimble Schmidt is getting what he deserves.

My only rational objection to this is that I don't think we've figured out how to predict actual losses to piracy.

In other words, it is extremely naive (and quite unfair to infringers) to assume that EVERY pirated copy of something is a lost sale. The folks I've known who pirate are more like... data hoarders than payment evaders... Oftentimes they never even bothered consuming the media, it was all about collecting things first for them, and they would have never paid for said media to begin with, so it really becomes nebulous to start swinging around accusations of theft, because... what was "stolen"? Some unknown percentage of the copies surely ARE lost sales, but how can we determine that percentage? Would it vary based on attributes of the media?

In any event, I think the entire state of China would probably be the worst copyright offender, if they're looking for someone to go after...

And even in the case of the "payment evaders", I'm willing to be that a large percentage is made up of people who would opt to not consume rather than pay the full price. This is especially true in countries with less fortunate economic situations. Multiple downloads and situations where one would actually prefer a cracked, DRM-free copy are also probably counted as "lost sales". The list goes on, and I'm pretty sure the percentage of lost sales is a lot lower than what the industry would like to believe.

That's not to say that blatant piracy is a good thing either. I just don't think the industry has figured out a very good response to it. Rather, convenience features and price point could be adjusted to make piracy a less attractive option.

And let's not even talk about new movies having record box office revenue... That's how much piracy affects them, sending more people to the cinema, on every new movie that comes out.

That's because the losses are theoretical, meaning they don't exist in reality. You can't lose what you don't already have.

There is a difference between copy/paste and stealing. When stealing, scarcity is implicitly assumed and one party physically loses something they had. With copy/paste nothing is physically lost from either party and there is no scarcity.

At least for games, there might actually be a way to approximate this - PS3 could not be cracked to run pirates games for quite a while. And had a comparable rival console - comparing sales/piracy amount could give us a clue about the numbers, though it would be limited to this particular media type. Anecdotally the friends who had PS3s tended to actually buy those games, ending up 2-4, while the ones with chipped/cracked consoles had an order of magnitude more...

I just want to say that many, many moons ago when I was still just a lad, I released my first ever computer program to the public. Very soon after someone uploaded a copy to megaupload without my permission. I submitted a copyright complaint to megaupload and it was swiftly removed. I will always remember that. Thank you Kim.

Once a month in my country someone shoots up a school and now we've had a terrorist attack. Meanwhile the FBI and DOJ is spending mine and my fellow citizens precious resources chasing copyright law half way across the world. I am ashamed to be an American. I am proud of what this country is supposed to stand for, but I am appalled by the criminal negligence and ignorance of our leaders.

Crime which costs U.S. companies directly leads to a variety of issues. But basically, it means America has less wealth, and the government has less tax revenue. It makes plenty of sense for them to enforce copyright laws. It's a net positive for the economy not to allow people to profit off of IP theft.

How many people are doing jail time for the AIG or Lehman scandals?

How much did those scandals affect the economy, compared to the effect of MU?

The issue is that politicians also need to appease their donors, which is why they just generally protect the elites. But that doesn't make what Dotcom did any less criminal.

In my opinion, they're two entirely separate issues. And getting both right would probably require something like a President Sanders with a Democratic congress willing to pass significant campaign finance reform.

There's no ignorance. It's willful, deliberate, and capital-financed dirt-digging.

I always found it quite odd that his arrest and the takedown of MegaUpload all happened during the day the internet protested SOPA... A bill that was supposed to "Stop Online Piracy", and yet they seem to take down websites just fine without said bill?

Unpopular but true fact: SOPA, while clumsy, was to codify and clarify takedown provisions, especially to countries where the US has less political influence. And also to extend DMCA-style protections to payment and ad providers.

The original federal indictment of Dotcom.


The timing on this is awful for Kim. In NZ, all of the lawyers will be off on Christmas Holiday from now for at least two weeks, possibly three. Overtime lawyers bills will be expensive.

This is the funniest thing about NZ - the country basically shuts down between christmas and mid-January.

Does New Zealand have an Ecuadorian Embassy?

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