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The Courts Your Rights Online

US DOJ Claims It Did Not Entrap Megaupload 246

angry tapir writes "The U.S. Department of Justice did not mislead a court and attempt to entrap file storage site Megaupload on copyright infringement charges, the agency said in a new filing in the case. Megaupload's charges that the DOJ conspired to entrap the site on criminal copyright charges are 'baseless,' an official with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia wrote in a court document filed last week. Earlier this month, Megaupload filed court documents saying that in 2010 the DOJ asked the site, through its hosting vendor, to keep infringing files as part of a DOJ investigation, then later charged Megaupload with copyright infringement."
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US DOJ Claims It Did Not Entrap Megaupload

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  • Bill Clinton (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TemperedAlchemist ( 2045966 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:59PM (#42587605)

    And I didn't have sexual relations with that woman!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:02PM (#42587623)

    "Well your honor, the DOJ said we should 'keep' the evidence, and we thought that meant, distribute it through myriad of links, some of which we created to keep it alive.... so we were the victims of entrapment, and by entrapment, I mean intentionally pretending to misunderstanding something in order to try to create outrage from the headlines that might swing a decision in our favor."

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:06PM (#42587643)
    Nope. Their argument is that they couldn't lawfully delete evidence once the DOJ made them aware that their servers were under investigation.
  • by stenvar ( 2789879 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:11PM (#42587699)

    You get these kinds of problems with criminal copyright infringement charges from the federal government: they are subject to political pressures by various powerful industry groups, they have extremely high costs for the targets even if unsuccessful, but the people responsible can't be held accountable. Criminal penalties for copyright infringement should just be abolished; they serve no useful purpose.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:23PM (#42587773)

    Megaupload always had a policy of "if you report a DMCA violating file to us, we will delete it."

    The DOJ basically told them, "don't delete any files that are reported to be DMCA violations."

    A year later, the DOJ goes to Megaupload and says "you're hosting files that violate the DMCA! You're under arrest!"

    Now, Megaupload is saying "we were hosting files that violated the DMCA because the DOJ wouldn't let us delete them!

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:28PM (#42587805)

    Nope. Their argument is that they couldn't lawfully delete evidence once the DOJ made them aware that their servers were under investigation.

    Perhaps, but couldn't they have stopped sharing the files or making them available while at the same time not deleting them?

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:30PM (#42587823)

    It would seem that if Megaupload can produce a copy of the the first mentioned court order, and it pre-dates the raid, that it is case closed.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:50PM (#42587965)

    The first order was used as evidence in filing the second. There was even a /. story about it.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:53PM (#42587983)

    Maybe. It depends on how clear the DOJ was. The DOJ asks companies to continue hosting forums for instance related to very bad stuff all the time. They aren't just continue to preserve the data. They are asking the companies to keep the forums up so that there investigation can continue unhampered by what otherwise the law requires them to take down.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @10:32PM (#42588169)

    I have a good friend that got charged for drunk driving when a cop found her sleeping in her running car in the parking lot of a bar. The cop rolled up on her and asked what she was doing. She said she was too drunk to drive and didn't have anyone to come get her. It was 15 degrees out so she started the car and went to sleep. He immediately arrested her despite the fact that she never drove the car anywhere, simply putting the key in the ignition is apparently illegal. When they got back to the station she even blew bellow the legal limit, but she signed a statement describing what had happened which they then used as evidence against her in court and she lost. She spent the night in jail, paid a $1000 fine and lost her license for a year... for doing the right thing.

    The moral of the story? Don't talk to the the police. Don't help them. Don't believe anything they tell you, it is perfectly legal for them to lie to you. Don't sign anything. Don't volunteer any information, even if you think it's helpful. You do one thing and one thing only: Ask for a lawyer over and over... and even then, it has happened, that the police send in the DA and tell you "here's a lawyer" and you admit everything while they're taping. It's legal, and it's been done. Fuck the police, they are not your friends, they are there to arrest you. If they can't arrest you, you are uninteresting to them.

    Try it, call the police up sometime and report that your car was broken into... or your house... they may show up sometime in the next 12 to 48hrs... maybe... in my city you get to file a report over the phone to an answering machine. Then try calling them and telling them you've got an once of pot. You'll have 3 squad cars in your driveway in under 5 minutes. Welcome to American indeed.

  • Play on words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @11:00PM (#42588287)

    "you're hosting files that violate the DMCA! You're under arrest!"

    Hosting, as in distributing it as a copyright violation.

    ""don't delete any files that are reported to be DMCA violations."

    Delete as in delete.

    So the Megaupload claim rests on an idea that if you don't delete a file, you must then distribute it over the internet. A false dichotomy. It's quite a ludicrous claim, and the comments in this thread show a lot of people want this play on words to have substance, but it doesn't.

    No judge will go along with that, the DMCA is a TAKEDOWN notice, not a delete evidence notice. This is a PR thing, not a legal thing, it's not for a judge, it's to make headlines which might (like Slashdot summary) might conflate deleting a file, with hosting and distributing a file.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @11:05PM (#42588305) Homepage

    "Their servers were under investigation" is only kind of true. The DOJ was reportedly investigating parties other than Megaupload. Their normal procedure was to remove offending files so they could remain compliant under the DMCA. This investigation didn't have anything on Megaupload as they kept close to but never crossing that fine line. And of course, when they were told they could no longer remove the infringing material, they did as they were told in order to assist in the investigation.

    I guess it is important to note that the DOJ either didn't know what its left hand was doing (unlikely) or this in indeed entrapment. And just because they said it's not does not make it so. Recently, we have all be seeing more stories of how police and others are not just planting evidence, they are simply making things up!

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @11:05PM (#42588309)

    With a proper legal system those should be the same.

  • Re:Bill Clinton (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @11:33PM (#42588475)

    Godwin, really?

    GP was just providing an example of a another lie that was just as unbelievable in both its veracity and its outrageousness.

    Let's see a show of hands of how many actually believe that the MPAA/RIAA, um, I mean USA government acted legally, legitimately and in good faith?

  • by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @11:42PM (#42588515)

    Strictly speaking Megaupload was not ordered by the DoJ to do anything to these files. The people who were ordered to do something were Megaupload's hosting provider, which told Megaupload not to do anything that would tip off the "owners" of these files.

    The exact legal implications of this are unclear, but I'd say it makes Megaupload's defense much trickier unless they can get Carpathia to document that the DoJ wanted those files kept.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dr_Marvin_Monroe ( 550052 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @12:12AM (#42588653)

    Weren't they also directed NOT to let the infringers know that they were under investigation? ...And, wouldn't deleting the files (or making them inaccessible to the true infringers) do EXACTLY that?

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flimflammer ( 956759 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @01:37AM (#42588943)

    Except that according to his story, she wasn't even over the limit. However by her admission, she signed a document recalling the events, her admission of feeling impaired enough to convict her.

    In the US, people are taught to trust the police from childhood and onward. To the average person, it's only the nutters that are screaming about how backwards the police system can be like this, so the usual instinct is to try to be polite and helpful since they don't feel they have done anything wrong. Unfortunately for them, when they do finally end up on the wrong end of a police investigation, they will learn all too well how being helpful is about the worst thing they can do.

    So yeah, it was dumb to talk to the police, but most people do not know any better and it is hard to fault them for it. Most people have never even had an encounter with a police officer, let alone been given any reason to personally mistrust them all.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jamstar7 ( 694492 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:55AM (#42590577)
    Look at the way it played out for DoJ. If Mega had deleted the files, they've been hit with obstructing justice, interfering with a federal investigation, etc, etc, etc. If they didn't delete them, they get nicked for copyright infringement. By backing up a level and dealing with the server host, the DoJ tried to get its cake and eat it too.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright