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Piracy

FBI Used FedEx To Sneak Dotcom's Hard Drives Out of NZ 292

Posted by samzenpus
from the overnighting-the-evidence dept.
First time accepted submitter bpkiwi writes "FBI agents, working with New Zealand police on the Megaupload case, took a copy of Kim Dotcom's hard drives and then immediately sneaked out of the police facility and FedEx'ed them back to the USA. Despite the fact that removal of evidence in this manner without official approval (and a chance for the defendant to challenge it) appears to be illegal, the New Zealand government is now left arguing on a technicality — that the law only covers 'physical' items." Things got slightly better for Megaupload users trying to get their files back today. In a court filing the MPAA said users can have their files back as long as access to copyrighted files is blocked. “The MPAA Members are sympathetic to legitimate users who may have relied on Megaupload to store their legitimately acquired or created data, although the Megaupload terms of use clearly disclaimed any guarantee of continued access to uploaded materials,” MPAA lawyers write.
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FBI Used FedEx To Sneak Dotcom's Hard Drives Out of NZ

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  • Wait, what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by _KiTA_ (241027) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @07:35PM (#40238751) Homepage

    Wait, the MPAA is claiming the Megaupload EULA/TOS as a reason why people shouldn't get their data back? That's kinda a dick move.

    Also, if I was the NZ government, I would be asking FedEx some pretty hard questions. Like: "Considering that you helped a foreign power conspire to break NZ law, why should we allow you to continue to work in our country?"

  • Physical items? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nidi62 (1525137) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @07:36PM (#40238755)
    So then what are the hard drives made of if they are not physical?
  • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by f3rret (1776822) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @07:37PM (#40238771)

    : "Considering that you helped a foreign power conspire to break NZ law, why should we allow you to continue to work in our country?"

    To which the answer would be something like : "Because we're a hideously rich gigantic corporation operating out of your lord and master the US, suck it Kiwis."

  • by Scareduck (177470) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @07:39PM (#40238783) Homepage Journal

    it would be tortious interference of contract [wikipedia.org], but because they've bought themselves criminalization of copyright violations, we now have the FBI chasing halfway around the world for stuff like this. Great going, FBI!

  • Re:Physical items? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @07:40PM (#40238799)

    So then what are the hard drives made of if they are not physical?

    Oh, it's funnier than that.

    From TFA:

    "FBI agents who copied data from Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom's computers and took it overseas were not acting illegally because information isn't "physical material", the Crown says."

    Copying information is theft when MPAA says it is, but copying information is not theft when the NZ Feds, acting on FBI's behalf, who themselves were acting on MPAA's behalf, say it isn't!

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @07:42PM (#40238807)

    When the revolution comes, MPAA's CEO and the managers under him should be in the line for beheading. (Or we could just pass a constitutional amendment that corporations don't have human rights and are not a fictional "person" under the law.)

  • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto (537200) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @07:43PM (#40238815) Journal

    Also, if I was the NZ government, I would be asking FedEx some pretty hard questions. Like: "Considering that you helped a foreign power conspire to break NZ law, why should we allow you to continue to work in our country?"

    How would FedEx know? You may as well blame Level 3 for illegal export of bits.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @07:45PM (#40238829)

    An actual altering of the magnetic particles on the disk between 1 and 0 states.
    So it is a physical item. Lots and lots and lots of them. Billions of bits worth of physical items.

    What seems to cover this would be say copyrights. And everyones all hard-on for defending copyrights these days...
    So the goverments and riaa/mpaa/whoever broke the ONE rule they expect the rest of us to follow.. Not breaking peoples copyrights and illegally copying data.

    the ONE THING they want us not to do.. they did in this case. lol

    Looks like everyone involved here all agree.... Fuck copyrights. kim dotcom did nothing wrong. the goverment of the usa did nothing wrong. the goverment of new zealand did nothing wrong. Everyone needs to have a coke and a smile and shut the fuck up. EVERYONE involved is guilty.

  • Re:Physical items? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @07:45PM (#40238833)

    Ah, so making a copy isn't stealing? :P

  • US Behaviour (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThePeices (635180) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @07:57PM (#40238947)

    I remember when the prosecution was opposing Kim's bail application, the reasoning for their opposition being that Kim would flee the country, being the dishonest rich person he is.

    He never did.

    And now the prosecution were caught doing unethical and illegal behavior.

    Who are the dishonest ones here? Who are the criminals blatantly breaking the law?

    Unsurprisingly, the majority of the NZ population side with Kim Dotcom throughout this entire farce.

  • Re:Physical items? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @08:09PM (#40239071)

    We poke fun at rich people for hypocrisy like this. And yet....they get away with it...

  • Re:Wait, what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @08:21PM (#40239167)

    FedEx only shipped a box - it's hard to imagine they knew the exact contents.

    Also, isn't there a judge in this case? Why the F*** is the MPAA sympathetic to anything?
    It's not in their realm or authority to limit users to their legitimate data, and acting in this
    manner will only garnish more distrust for them. It's not by the grace of MPAA, but the execution
    of legal principles.

    CAPTCHA = waived

  • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dishevel (1105119) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @08:29PM (#40239247)

    I would be asking FedEx some pretty hard questions. Like: "Considering that you helped a foreign power conspire to break NZ law, why should we allow you to continue to work in our country?"

    WTF?

    So you want FedEx prosecuted in every country for millions of crimes?
    You seriously want to bust FedEx because they were the shipper?
    Sure why blame the people shipping shit out of a country illegally when you can just bring down the hammer on FedEx.
    How did you get an insightful mod with that crap in there?
    You prosecute the agents or you penalize the country. You don't go after FedEx or UPS or DHL because the agents used them as a shipper.
    Should FedEx have asked if the hard drives were stolen evidence? Do you think that should be one of the check boxes on the shipping form?
    I can not fathom how it is possible for you to say that and be smart enough to type. I can only come to the conclusion that you put no thought whatsoever into any part of the drivel that spewed froth from your keyboard.
    Next time think about what it is you are saying before you hit submit.

  • Re:Wait, what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @08:43PM (#40239373)

    IANAL, but my guess would be they filed papers with the court saying they wouldn't contest the action. It's just makes them sound more ominous and full of themselves to state it as them giving permission.

  • by ffflala (793437) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @09:08PM (#40239533)
    ...because all copyrightable material is under copyright from the moment of its creation. That would include all original works, all writings, etc... they're copyrighted, and the creator owns the copyright.

    What MPAA wants to disallow is in bold...

    "If the Court is willing to consider allowing access for users such as Mr. Goodwin to allow retrieval of files, it is essential that the mechanism include a procedure that ensures that any materials the users access and copy or download are not files that have been illegally uploaded to their accounts."

    To that, I'll add "allegedly illegally uploaded." The court as a finder of law can't determine that the files were illegally uploaded; a finder of fact (jury) needs to do that.

  • by sed quid in infernos (1167989) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @09:46PM (#40239779)

    First, chain of custody refers to the ability to prove that the materials presented in court were seized by the police at a particular time and place. It is different from the question of whether the means to seize the evidence or move it from one country to another is legal. If someone can attest to the movement of the evidence, then chain of custody is satisfied, even if normal procedures are not followed. Of course, if normal procedures are not followed, then the defense can put that before the finder of fact and argue the evidence is unreliable. But to be admissible, it is only necessary that the prosecution offer evidence to show where and when a particular item was seized.

    Moreover, even if the chain of custody was broken, fruit of the poisonous tree would not apply to derivative evidence unless the same chain of custody problem infected that new evidence. So, for example, if chain of custody problems keep a gun from being used, it is still possible in many situations to admit evidence seized under a warrant for which probable cause is supported by that gun. Not always - some chain of custody problems would quash the warrant - but there are many situations where the gun would out but fruits of the warrant would be in.

  • Re:Physical items? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anaerin (905998) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @11:13PM (#40240387)

    If the content on the hard-drive was original work in any way, it's copyright is automatically legally owned by, and remains with, the creators (As laid out in the Berne Convention [wikipedia.org]), unless they somehow disown or reassign copyright on those items (though a recording or publishing contract, or any other kind of license, for example). Uploading works (files) to a locker site is not disowning copyright, it is merely granting an exclusive license for the locker site to hold (and potentially "transform") them, not a right to distribute those works to third parties (unless said third parties are explicitly granted access). Thus, the New Zealand Police and FBI (And potentially the MPAA/RIAA as well) are guilty of illegally copying copyrighted works without a license, thus infringing on the copyrights of all the users of MegaUpload.

    Therefore, in one fell swoop, the FBI are immediately guilty of 1+ Billion [wikipedia.org] cases of Copyright Infringement, assuming every registered user of MegaUpload uploaded only one original work. If, for some reason, they are not, then neither are the users of MegaUpload guilty, for exactly the same reasons.

    Should be interesting to see the US Government wiggle their way out of that one, to be sure.

  • Re:Physical items? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0111 1110 (518466) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @12:09AM (#40240719)

    You are correct. If you can prove it. Not just that he broke into your house, but that he had no "valid" reason to do so. Keeping in mind that whatever he says is presumed to be true by nearly all judges and most juries and whatever you say (assuming he let you live) is presumed to be a desperate lie to save yourself from going to jail. If you weren't alone your friend/roomate/girlfriend will be considered biased and lying for you. The only way to beat a lying cop is to catch it on video and not let the video get confiscated. Or be lucky enough to have the event witnessed by someone you don't know and can later find to testify on your behalf. That still is no guarantee because the cop will have buddies who are also willing to testify to his version of events.

  • Re:Physical items? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mal-2 (675116) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @12:40AM (#40240845) Homepage Journal

    When dealing with the U.S. legal system, yes he did [wikipedia.org].

    Once the government establishes probable cause that the property is subject to forfeiture, the owner must prove on a "preponderance of the evidence" that it is not. The owner need not be judged guilty of any crime.

    Yeah, it's that fucked up.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @01:18AM (#40241021) Homepage

    Hate to bust your bubble buddy but American police as far a New Zealand or any other countries laws are concerned are nothing but bloody tourists. It is illegal to hand over evidence to visting tourists and let them take it out of the country. It even gets more stupid, users can have their files back as long as access to copyrighted files is blocked, WTF! Just because I am not an American and not a member of the RIAA/MPAA/Obama Justice Department club for pigopolists all of a sudden my work is no longer protected by copyright, talk about bullshit. All that work on those drives is protected by copyright, so what the fuck are they talking about, just because a bunch of out of control Fucking Bloody Idiot tourists stole a copy infringing other peoples copyrights doesn't mean that work now permanently loses copyright protection.

  • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dodgy G33za (1669772) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @01:42AM (#40241093)

    The MPAA want to make me and my ISP responsible for what goes across my Internet connection. How is this different from the FedEx example exactly?

    And just for the record, I think both are absurb.

    However, if I were a customer of megaupload who had copyright material on their servers, I would like to be putting a case for copyright infringement of my work by the FBI in NZ, since they have no legal authority in that jurisdication. And if they have returned to the US after breaking the law, well, NZ will just have to put in a extradition request.

  • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zenin (266666) on Thursday June 07, 2012 @03:08AM (#40241461) Homepage

    FedEx only shipped a box - it's hard to imagine they knew the exact contents.

    The same could be said for Megaupload's entire site...

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