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The Courts

Dotcom Wins Right To Sue NZ Government 127

Posted by samzenpus
from the time-to-sue dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Court of Appeal judgement released today has ruled in favor of Kim Dotcom and will let him sue the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) alongside New Zealand Police. During the High Court case, it emerged that the GCSB had been illegally spying on Dotcom prior to the raid on his Coatesville mansion, on behalf of the FBI, who now wants the Megaupload millionaire extradited to face trial in the US over copyright infringements."
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Dotcom Wins Right To Sue NZ Government

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  • His mansion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by one eyed kangaroo (215202) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @06:35AM (#43102761) Homepage

    Apropos of nothing at all, I was fortunate to have a client drive me past Kim Dotcoms mansion in a fashionably distant and hilly area North of Auckland a little while ago. It was, he said with evident disdain, a "rented mansion". I've no idea how true that is.

    The main gate over which heavily armed special forces apparently had to pass, is barely a metre high, and surrounded by... no fence at all.

    When did we start to allow police forces in Western countries start to behave like militias?

    • Re:His mansion (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Marful (861873) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @06:47AM (#43102803)

      When did we start to allow police forces in Western countries start to behave like militias?

      It's been that way for over almost a decade now.

      DHS just dropped ~$100 million on a bunch of APCs, school Districts are buying assault weapons for their on-campus police forces and the LAPD has been known to send out swat team members to deal with parking tickets.

      The bottom line is: the police have realized that they can practically guarantee they get to go home at the end of the day if they treat every interaction like a military engagement and utilize overwhelming force to suppress their enemy. The fact that innocent people will get murdered in their zeal of officer-safety-at-all-costs doesn't even enter their thought process.

      http://www.cato.org/raidmap

      • Re:His mansion (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TFAFalcon (1839122) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @06:57AM (#43102835)

        I can't wait for a jury to find someone was justified in shooting a cop without warning, since the other guy was wearing a uniform and so the accused can obviously claim it was self defense.

      • Re:His mansion (Score:5, Informative)

        by isorox (205688) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @08:14AM (#43103097) Homepage Journal

        DHS just dropped ~$100 million on a bunch of APCs,

        Department of Health and Safety bought some UPSes?

        school Districts are buying assault weapons for their on-campus police forces

        You've got a fucked up country if you have an on-campus police force

        The bottom line is: the police have realized that they can practically guarantee they get to go home at the end of the day if they treat every interaction like a military engagement and utilize overwhelming force to suppress their enemy. The fact that innocent people will get murdered in their zeal of officer-safety-at-all-costs doesn't even enter their thought process.

        Does it really?

        There have been 22 police officers killed in the line of duty in the UK since 2000 Half of those were traffic collisions (accidents or delibete), so I'm not sure how a SWAT team would solve that. That's a 1 in 90,000 chance of dying in the line of duty each year.

        New Zealand has 7 deaths (half accidental) since 2000 (1 in 19000)

        Canada had 5 deaths in 2012, 4 of which were vehicle related (1 in 13000)

        The U.S has had 19 deaths SO FAR THIS YEAR. Last year was about 130, out of 794,000 officers (1 in 6000)

        The U.S. is an anomaly, don't lump the western world into your dysfunctional society.

        • by Cwix (1671282)

          I think by APC he means Armored Personnel Carrier. Basically a tank without a main gun.

          Also yes, many of the universities have their own police forces. In fact in my city they can even pull you over outside their jurisdiction. You do not need to even be on the campus, just near it.

          • by cdrudge (68377)

            Both the universities I went to had police forces that were just extensions of the local law enforcement. One was for the county sheriff, the other for the city police. I'm not sure whose budget their paycheck came from, but they had the same authority off campus that they had on. They were just rarely found off campus.

            • Some universities have State Police running the show, which basically means that they have jurisdiction all over the state. They generally call in the local city police and assist if it is more city related, but they have full jurisdiction.

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            In Texas, there is no such concept of "jurisdiction". Every officer is sworn to the state, so their jurisdiction is the entire state. The university cops are empowered the same as the city cops near them. For practical reasons, you stay near home, but for legal reasons, an El Paso officer currently off duty in Texarkana (About as far apart as you can get in Texas, 800+ miles) has the same legal powers as a local on-duty officer.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          It's not the country, but the "overlords" who are FU. Check your country, see if the overlords are the same, or if they are acting the same. Then guess why you are headed in the same direction as we are. If a politician will lie to get the job, what makes you so sure he's going to work for you?

          • by AK Marc (707885)

            It's not the country, but the "overlords" who are FU. Check your country, see if the overlords are the same, or if they are acting the same.

            Only if we vote National.

        • Re:His mansion (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @09:10AM (#43103391)

          As someone that was involved with a legal case with campus police, I can assure you that United States Universities do in fact have their own police forces. Not only that but they are afforded special treatment in the court system. They not only enforce the ordinances on campus... they write them. Campuses are often HUGE and take up hundreds or thousands of acres, even if the buildings themselves don't. People like to donate land to universities in their wills. Because the campus police can write their own ordinances, they do so at will. This was what my court case was about. The changed a rule the same day I was charged, just so they could charge me... or at least "someone" and I was the unlucky sap. They were trying to prove a point. But I fought it so vigorously (because I was furious) the case wasn't resolved for almost a year and nearly everyone forgot about it. I lost in the end and the Judge thought the whole thing was ridiculous so my fine was almost nothing.

          The one thing I learned in college? Fuck the police.

          • by AK Marc (707885)

            The one thing I learned in college? Fuck the police.

            Bah, shoulda listened to more NWA growing up.

        • At least some university campuses in Canada have a police detachment, but its more about not having the police come in for the small stuff that university students seem to like to get in trouble for(underage drinking). I doubt they would respond to major incidents.
        • by Talderas (1212466)

          Specifically they bought MRAPs. In other words, the DHS is outfitting their grunts better than the US military.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MRAP [wikipedia.org]

        • by weilawei (897823)
          UMass Amherst has the largest State Police department in Mass. They have all the gear, assault weapons, and helicopters. For the purpose of riot control. UMass Amherst is a city, written into the law as such. They are the single largest armed military force in this state. Source: Me. Because that's where I'm from.
          • by weilawei (897823)
            That should've been, "For the purposes of riot control, ..." And here's the text of the law. "Section 1. If five or more persons, being armed with clubs or other dangerous weapons, or if ten or more persons, whether armed or not, are unlawfully, riotously or tumultuously assembled in a city or town, the mayor and each of the aldermen of such city, each of the selectmen of such town, every justice of the peace living in any such city or town, any member of the city, town, or state police and the sheriff of
        • by AK Marc (707885)

          Department of Health and Safety bought some UPSes?

          Department of Homeland Security (customs and immigration) bought tanks with passenger seats.

      • by steelfood (895457)

        The fact that innocent people will get murdered in their zeal of officer-safety-at-all-costs doesn't even enter their thought process.

        That's because the consequence of killing a harmless innocent is nil. It is non-existent. Even when the action is targeted, the police get off scott free. It's part of the job, they say, a job hazard. They can't do their jobs if they're busy figuring out who's shooting at them and who's running away. Best thing to do is shoot first and ask questions later.

      • The bottom line is: the police have realized that they can practically guarantee they get to go home at the end of the day if they treat every interaction like a military engagement and utilize overwhelming force to suppress their enemy.

        Commander William Adama: There's a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.

    • Re:His mansion (Score:5, Informative)

      by macraig (621737) <mark@a@craig.gmail@com> on Thursday March 07, 2013 @06:59AM (#43102843)

      When did we start to allow police forces in Western countries start to behave like militias?

      How Cops Became Soldiers: An Interview with Police Militarization Expert Radley Balko [vice.com]. There ya go.

      • Great link - thanks for sharing.
      • What a great example of Begging the Question: "When did the shift towards militarized police forces begin in America?" which begs the question: "Has there been a shift towards militarized police?"
        • by macraig (621737)

          What a great example of begging to be considered unobservant.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Use a bit of empiricism to figure it out, you fucking prick. Many departments in the US now allow (and even mandate) that officers have either an AR-15 or full blown M-16 in the trunk of their car. As the anti-gun lobby has been so eager to point out to 2nd Amendment supporters: those are weapons of war meant for killing large volumes of people quickly and efficiently.

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            Use a bit of empiricism to figure it out, you fucking prick. Many departments in the US now allow (and even mandate) that officers have either an AR-15 or full blown M-16 in the trunk of their car. As the anti-gun lobby has been so eager to point out to 2nd Amendment supporters: those are weapons of war meant for killing large volumes of people quickly and efficiently.

            And of course that has nothing to do with the fact that so many US civilians also have AR-15s and that criminals therefore have access to these and more powerful weapons?

            I know here on slashdot the gun-fans think that the police/military shouldn't have weapons that the ordinary citizen can't, but presumably you'd all still accept that they should have at least equivalent firepower?

        • by Joce640k (829181)

          which begs the question: "Has there been a shift towards militarized police?"

          When they have their own tanks? I think the answer might be "yes".

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It is rented cause the NZ government didn't allow him to buy it.

      Now that he's been living there for long enough, they can no longer keep him from buying the mansion... Except by making sure he's got no access to his money.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It is rented cause the NZ government didn't allow him to buy it.

        Now that he's been living there for long enough, they can no longer keep him from buying the mansion... Except by making sure he's got no access to his money.

        Speaking of his money, I'm glad the copyright lobbies (through their bought-and-paid-for government proxies) are finally picking on someone with enough money to defend himself. The expenses of a lawsuit aren't likely to ruin Mr. Dotcom's life the way they would the average filesharer's. Whether he's liked or not, I am hoping he wins because the precedent of a victory will help reverse some of the obsessive copyright-related madness we keep seeing from an industry that refuses to cope with the Information

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        Why can't the NZ government deport him? Is he a NZ citizen now or something?
        • Something like that.

          Its legal for the NZ police to spy on foreigners.
          He isn't one any more which is why he is suing. Hence this entire article.

          • by godglike (643670)

            GCSB. Government Communications Security Bureau. NZ's CIA/MI5/MI6 equivalent

            The police got the spooks to do it, presumably because police snooping would have needed permission from a judge.

            But GCSB can spy on foreigners freely, which makes it all legal. This reasoning has been lambasted on billboards by a beer company.

            So now the GCSB is facing ugly questions about what is they actually do and why we even need spooks since they are just a police dirty trick and tool for the US.

    • I know what you are saying, but you may want to reconsider calling New Zealand "western", at least out of respect for the old sailors and explorers that helped map the globe through long travels and considerable danger.
      • by Cwix (1671282)

        I see your point, and find it ridiculous and pointless. Why would I pay respects to long dead explorers?

        I find much more value in being understood by others then by fighting to redefine a word.
        But if thats what you want to do, then carry on tilting at windmills.

        • by causality (777677)

          I see your point, and find it ridiculous and pointless. Why would I pay respects to long dead explorers?

          I find much more value in being understood by others then by fighting to redefine a word. But if thats what you want to do, then carry on tilting at windmills.

          I appreciate the succinct, eloquent manner in which you stated that.

          I may just quote you on it (with attribution of course) the next time discussion degrades into another one of these weak "but languages evolve over time" bullshit episodes.

          Of course, "languages evolve over time" is almost always code for "I can't be bothered to learn to do things correctly, besides everyone is a winner and no one is ever wrong or mistaken if they just weasel out of admitting it". Perhaps that phrase has been used leg

    • When did we start to allow police forces in Western countries start to behave like militias?

      . . . since Hollywood lobbyists have convinced the government that Pirates like Dotcom are terrorists, and IP theft is an attack on the economy . . .

      • by djmurdoch (306849)

        IP theft is an attack on the economy ...

        What else would it be? It's a violation of a government granted monopoly. If that's not an attack on the economy, what is it?

        • by Phrogman (80473)

          It should only *really* matter if it represents a significant loss of actual income. Something that has yet to be shown to be true, but I believe has shown false in a number of studies.
          "IP" is such a nebulous concept to begin with, but thanks to Hollywood and the Big Media lobby, the penalties for violating their rules are far far in excess of what is justified.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      What's the point of having a gate without a fence?

    • In the next game round of global conflict, Western governments appear to be choosing to be the fascist forces. Literally.
    • by mug funky (910186)

      every area of Auckland is distant and hilly...

    • when was it ever not like that ? It all depends on who you point your middle finger at in what they, or you and i would call demo cracy ... something i hear is invented by george washington according to some, which explains why it's a bit crooked then i suppose ...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Everyone involved in this case on both sides of the ocean should be strung up from a very tall tree.

    It's the only way they won't do it again to someone else.

  • Doesn't this make the appeal against the extradition stronger? Even given the minimal amount of evidence required to pass an extradition hearing doesn't the fact that this evidence is declared to have been obtained illegally render that evidence unusable?

    Or is that just the perfect world view?

  • Mega and YouTube (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mumblestheclown (569987) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @07:47AM (#43102991)

    I'd like to say that unlike most of you (most of you who post, anyway), I am, in a broad brush "against" mega. The test of copyright infringement in all countries in not a simple yes/no, but rather depends on things like intent, amount of material involved, for profitness, etc. And, when put against such tests, it is clear that megaupload's entire business model was as a facilitator of copyright infringing materials. I don't think there's any legitimate claim for him to be a "common carrier" as an impartial ISP. I agree with the takedown of his site and the seizure of his ill-gotten gains.

    HOWEVER

    If you read the wiki page on mega, specifically the "basis of indictment" bullet points, what strikes me is this: the exact same list can easily be levied against youtube, which I content is also a business, like megaupload, fundamentally built upon copyright infringement. YouTube is slightly more clever in that they attract non-infringing users to better mask their infringing activities, but still fundamentally the vast bulk of youtube advertising dollars come from showing copyright infringing content. Like megaupload, it has as kiddy-pron filter that works and yet while the same filter could be trivially tweaked or built upon to block at least a good portion of blatantly infringing content, it is not. Furthermore, both youtube and mega technically claim to be DMCA-takedown compliant, but both make legitimate rightsholders go through the maximal numbers of hoops to submit claims AND have trivial mechanisms for replacement of taken-down content (in mega's case, the 'link' system, in youtube's case, users just create another logon and re-upload).

    So, if there's one thing REALLY wrong with this case, it's not relatively small prosecutorial oversteps in going after mega. rather, it's the unequalness where mega was procecuted but youtube allows to steam on. do a youtube search for 'full movie' to see how bad it is. we all know that we can find more or less whatever we want on youtube, plus or minus a few recent items from popular/current shows where the rightsholders actively police youtube (like the latest family guy episodes).

    in all cases, it is the creators of content, the very people that we should protect the most, that get screwed.

    • Re:Mega and YouTube (Score:4, Interesting)

      by RaceProUK (1137575) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @08:15AM (#43103107) Homepage

      it's the unequalness where mega was procecuted but youtube allows to steam on

      YouTube is owned by Google, and their pockets are deeper than the Mariana Trench. Dotcom's pockets are more like the Grand Canyon: big, but not that big.

      • Re:Mega and YouTube (Score:4, Informative)

        by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @10:57AM (#43104313) Homepage Journal

        YouTube's also spent a lot of time making itself legal and started out with a legitimate premise (not a "We're legal nudge-nudge wink-wink" premise, but an entirely legitimate concept from the get-go - a place to share home movies. Things like the ten minute maximum length of each video, considerably shorter than 90% of TV shows and 100% of movies helped demonstrate that.)

        YouTube went to the content industry and worked with them on everything from implementing filters to block identifiable unauthorized content to providing them with royalties should they prefer that over DMCA takedowns.

        I just don't see any of that in the MU case. MU was no different from the other major "Upload up to a gigabyte and then distribute a link that anyone can use to access the same content" services. Even their DMCA compliance system was a joke, focussing on links to content (where an infinite number of links pointed to the same file) rather than on content.

        Was MU intended to be a facilitator of unauthorized material? I can't answer that, but I know YouTube never intended itself to be, didn't want to be, and took pro-active steps to deal with that situation. That's a major difference in and of itself.

        • by Shagg (99693)

          Even their DMCA compliance system was a joke, focussing on links to content (where an infinite number of links pointed to the same file) rather than on content.

          Focusing on the links is exactly how a DMCA compliance system is supposed to work.

          Imagine two people upload the same content. One for legitimate reasons and keeps their link private, the other for illegitimate reasons and makes their link public. A DMCA complaint is filed against the public link. Which do you do...
          1) Disable the public link.
          2) Remove the content from both the legitimate and illegitimate user.

          • Imagine instead that the same content can be reached by an infinite (or almost infinite) number of links, such that someone who uploads Die_Hard_7.mov can have it downloaded at:

            1. http://1.aharmatey.com/777/Die_Hard_7.mov [aharmatey.com]
            2. http://bob.aharmatey.com/777/Die_Hard_7.mov [aharmatey.com]
            3. http://www.aharmatey.com/777/Die_Hard_7.mov?src=100 [aharmatey.com]
            4. http://1.aharmatey.com/777/ [aharmatey.com]

            to name but four. Can you tell me how "focussing on links" is supposed to be "how a DMCA compliance system is supposed to work".

            You can't. Because it

            • by Shagg (99693)

              Imagine instead that the same content can be reached by an infinite (or almost infinite) number of links

              That number of them doesn't change anything.

              the copyright holder was supposed to be able to file a take-down notice about the file John put up for download

              The take-down notice is about the unauthorized distribution (aka the public links), not the file itself.

              can make strong arguments about how backups are fair use and none of a copyright owner's business

              Of course you can make strong arguments about it. Are you saying that a backup for your own personal use violates copyright? Even the RIAA doesn't dispute that anymore.

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                The take-down notice is about the unauthorized distribution (aka the public links), not the file itself.

                Links are not distribution any more than a street sign is.

        • by Chris Burke (6130)

          I can't answer that, but I know YouTube never intended itself to be, didn't want to be, and took pro-active steps to deal with that situation.

          Well, minus the one Youtube founder who was deliberately posting copyrighted material without permission to drive traffic early on.

          Though the others did take pro-active steps by making him stop so on the whole, your statement is true.

      • by steelfood (895457)

        Don't forget that governments, especially the U.S. government, are actively trying to bring down Google. They can't control Google, because Google doesn't really do too many things wrong, so they're trying to make the little infractions they occasionally do sound very, very bad.

        I don't like Google very much, but they are a wildcard in the entrenched interests' game of governance, and hence they are counted as a threat.

    • by laffer1 (701823)

      Here's where your argument falls apart. By the logic you're using, if a company makes money on copyright infringement they should be stopped. What about all the PCs and Macs used to pirate movies, rip songs, etc? One can argue early versions of iTunes and Windows Media Player/encoder were used to pirate content. What about the MP3 codecs? How many people used them for legitimate purposes early on? P2P technology is another example. Blizzard distributes patches using P2P, but most of it's use is to pi

      • No, that's NOT the logic i'm using. And, in fact, if you read the first paragraph of what I wrote, it's very very explicitly NOT the logic I am using.

        You are attempting to apply law like a computer program. And, sorry, but LAW DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY. Your slippery slope analogy DOES NOT APPLY.

        In actual law and policy:

        - intent matters
        - quantity matters
        - judgment matters

        these things are the difference between intenetional murder and a regrettable accident.

        But thank you for an entirely predictable foil post

    • You make a very good point.

      The unfortunate fact is that "the law" goes after those who aren't bringing in money to compensate for their breaking of law, like GoogleTube.

      Not to get off-topic, but what I fail to understand is how the "infringer" who downloads stuff to see/listen to/use/experiment with before purchasing it and recommending it to friends is any different. They are buying; you suing them and landing them in jail and/or removing all of the money from their dispensable cash flow is halting your p

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday March 07, 2013 @10:30AM (#43104025) Homepage Journal

      in all cases, it is the creators of content, the very people that we should protect the most, that get screwed.

      Well no. In all cases, it is The People, the people that we should protect equally, that get screwed. If you're the little guy, you can't afford to wage war over "intellectual property". These laws are there to benefit corporations.

      The first copyright law of which I'm aware stated "all books passing through this port must be submitted for copying", not "thou shalt not make copies". That kind of copyright was about increasing human knowledge. The kind we have now is about rent-seeking.

    • by Solandri (704621)

      what strikes me is this: the exact same list can easily be levied against youtube, which I content is also a business, like megaupload, fundamentally built upon copyright infringement. YouTube is slightly more clever in that they attract non-infringing users to better mask their infringing activities, but still fundamentally the vast bulk of youtube advertising dollars come from showing copyright infringing content.

      The vast majority of the "copyright infringing material" you see on YouTube is put there by

  • Good... someone has to teach the Govt, and the NZ Police, and the GCSB that we have laws to be followed...

    And the FBI as well
  • I have been following this since it started with eyebrows rising at every new development. That KDC should be able to sue the government and the police is the right decision. However, the real bad guys here are the USA / FBI / MIAFIAA who bullied the NZ Government into acting in this unjust manner. The whole thing was a shake-down, plain and simple. Shame on the NZ government for allowing themselves to be bullied - all they can see is the Free-Trade-Agreement carrot being dangled, always out of reach... "

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