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Crime Piracy The Courts

Kim Dotcom's Lawyer Plays Down Megaupload Worker's Guilty Plea 102

mrspoonsi writes with the latest from Kim Dotcom. "Kim Dotcom's US lawyer has denied that a guilty plea by one of the Megaupload's former employees has major implications for his client's case. Andrus Nomm was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty on Friday to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement while working for the now defunct file-sharing site. The US is currently trying to extradite Mr Dotcom, who founded Megaupload, from New Zealand to stand trial. Mr Dotcom denies wrongdoing. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has alleged that Megaupload's staff had "operated websites that wilfully reproduced and distributed infringing copies of copyrighted works" over a period of five years, causing more than $400m (£260m) of harm to copyright owners. Nomm — a 36-year-old Estonian citizen — agreed to this damages estimate as part of his plea, according to a press release from the DoJ. He had been living in the Netherlands before he travelled to Virginia to make the deal with the US authorities. The DoJ added that Nomm had acknowledged that through his work as a computer programmer for Megaupload, he had become aware of copyright-infringing material being stored on its sites, including films and TV shows that had contained FBI anti-piracy warnings. It said he had also admitted to having downloaded copyright-infringing files himself. "This conviction is a significant step forward in the largest criminal copyright case in US history," said assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell."
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Kim Dotcom's Lawyer Plays Down Megaupload Worker's Guilty Plea

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  • the smaller "players" don't have the cash-ola that "Dot Com" has to pay lawyers to keep the authorities at bay, so it's not surprising that the "little people" are taking the heat and folding. Why is "Dot Com" not paying the lawyer fees for the people he employed to do his dirty work?

    Mr "Dot Com" might be in the "right" here, but he's still a douche bag.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why is "Dot Com" not paying the lawyer fees for the people he employed to do his dirty work?

      Because the US Government has seized all his assets. Which you easily could and should have known.

      So your comment doesn't tell us anything about the issue at hand, and everything about you: you are ignorant of the facts, ignorant of your own ignorance, unwilling to educate yourself about anything, but totally willing to judge. You are a prime example of why I oppose trial by jury. Moron.

      • Again, "Dot Com" is not poor, and infact has been involved in significant money producing ventures since then.

        But thanks for being a stooge.

        • He gave all his money to his family to appear broke [arstechnica.com] on paper.
        • by davecb ( 6526 )
          He seems to be close to owing more to his lawyers than the sum of what he has and what he claims is his family's. If the cause is the US seizing his assets on the basis of his guilt after charging him with something expensive, then the obvious conclusions follow...
      • All his assets? You know, I could have sworn that he's currently running another great big "cloud storage" operation called Mega, but presumably if all his assets were seized then that was just someone else called Kim Dotcom. Or maybe it all runs from a single $1/month VPS service. Or Amazon keeps sending out AWS bills that he doesn't pay. Or...

    • KDC's lawyer probably advised him that getting involved in those cases would make him appear guilty, and despite not being factual, would still have an impact on jury deliberations. With all the data and assets of the company being seized by the US, would he even have the cash to afford defending the employees? Sure sounds like dirty prosecutorial tactics: deny the defendants access to their own income and property so they will have a hard time putting up a defense.
      • by vux984 ( 928602 )

        Sure sounds like dirty prosecutorial tactics: deny the defendants access to their own income and property so they will have a hard time putting up a defense.

        What's the alternative? They don't seize evidence of a crime, defeating their ability to prosecute the case, because the criminals are using evidence in question to make money...??

        That's bonkers.

        • by davecb ( 6526 )
          If they're innocent until proven guilty, should the profits of their putative crimes be seized? Or should it wait until after they're convicted, if at all?
    • His assets have been seized, he only gets enough from the authorities to cover his living expenses and his own legal fees. He cannot afford to hire lawyers for other people.

      • His assets have been seized, he only gets enough from the authorities to cover his living expenses and his own legal fees.

        Sure. And he hasn't been engaged in any money producing business since then. Right.

        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          What makes you think he is free to spend the money he makes? You didn't think the feds have a sense of fair play, did you?

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      Because the feds have seized his assets and surprise, surprise, won't let him spend any defending his employees.

      So complain about the d-bag feds.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      His name is Kim Dotcom (legally). If you feel the need to put his surname it quotes, you should at least be able to get it right. It makes you look like an idiot when you both put his name in quotes, and don't give it correctly. When you are that ignorant of the names of the people involved, it only makes you look like the douche bag.
  • by sunyjim ( 977424 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @01:26PM (#49068007)
    Why would a German Finnish national. Who is living in New Zealand, and does business in Hong Kong be extradited to the USA? None of his business had anything at all to do with the USA. Sure he had American clients but Amazon has Chinese clients. Do you want the chinese government to be able to extradite the head of Amazon.com JeffBezos to China because that Chinese guy bought something that is illegal there? The American government wouldn't stand for it. The laws of the USA do not apply outside the country. You are not the world police.
    • by Tom ( 822 )

      Yes and no.

      This is exactly what extradition hearings are for - to determine these questions. In general, you are right and the USA is famous for overreach. On the other hand, it is international law and a good idea that you can't hide your criminal activities simply by living 10m across the border.

      But again, the details are to be determined in a court, and it's a NZ court that will decide whether or not to extradite him.

      So legally speaking, everything is exactly as it should be.

      • > So legally speaking, everything is exactly as it should be.

        You really haven't been following the details of this case, I suppose (just joking, yes, I actually know that you slobber over every detail, because you really, really dislike Kim Dotcom). "Legally speaking", you're not supposed to make up weird new interpretations of laws, like what the DOJ has been doing, even if what you want to accomplish might be good for society (not that I'm convinced about that, but anyway). "Legally speaking", you're n

        • by PRMan ( 959735 )
          And Legally Speaking, you are not supposed to seize the assets and destroy the business of a presumed-innocent man. Legally Speaking, he should be able to use those assets to hire a defense team. And by "Legally Speaking", I mean the 4th Amendment.
        • by Tom ( 822 )

          yes, I actually know that you slobber over every detail, because you really, really dislike Kim Dotcom

          Not him personally, but his kind of people. Every time one of these parasites goes away, society as a whole benefits. Unfortunately, one of the reasons these kind of people survive is that they're like Ophiocordyceps unilateralis and can make the same people that they exploit like and defend them.

          "Legally speaking", you're not supposed to make up weird new interpretations of laws,

          You've never been in a real, non-trivial court case in your life, I assume? Interpreting the law is what lawyers and judges do for a living, and in most interesting cases, basically you have the facts and two sides

          • > "the rule of law" is basically a precondition for civilization

            And you are very satisfied with "the rule of law" in the US currently, and do not sense any problem with its functioning?

            To me, it seems to be functioning worse and worse as time progresses, and I even feel that this trend is, unfortunately, accelerating. The debacle which is the Megaupload case is just the tip of the iceberg.

            To get back to the case in question, don't you find it peculiar that the DOJ would make a condition of this plea barg

            • by Tom ( 822 )

              And you are very satisfied with "the rule of law" in the US currently, and do not sense any problem with its functioning?

              I'm not, but even if I disagree on the specifics of the law about, say, murder (maybe I'd prefer longer jailtime, or shorter), I very much think that murder should be illegal.

              I will gladly discuss how the laws and the system could be improved, but to doubt the foundation of society because you're unhappy with the way the government finally nailed a scumbag, that's a dangerous road.

              don't you find it peculiar that the DOJ would make a condition of this plea bargain to be that the programmer in question "testifies" to the dollar amount of the economic damage to the rightsholders?

              Par for the course. Do you think Kimbles lawyers will be less sleazy? The adversial court system pretty much demands that both s

              • but to doubt the foundation of society because you're unhappy with the way the government finally nailed a scumbag, that's a dangerous road.

                I have no doubt about the value of "the rule of law", but I have plenty of doubts about its implementation. I can be very unhappy with the way the government decided to run the Megaupload case without necessarily disagreeing that quite possibly Megaupload deserved to be shut down or be forced to change how it did business (and ditto for Dotcom).

                The adversial court syste

      • by davecb ( 6526 )
        Regrettably, extradition hearings look to see if a case can be made by the prosecutors. If so, the person is shipped off, unless there is an extraordinary issue, like the person is to be executed for jaywalking (;-))
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        And the New Zealand government is a lamb with it's hind legs stuck in the gum boots of the US government getting the ride off it's life in order to gain the questionable benefits of access to US markets (getting paid with what is becoming funny money might not really be all that beneficial after all and likely not pay for all that pain and humiliation). So all of it corrupt from go and still to get there whoa.

    • I love your high-handed, lecturing tone. If there's one thing that people like, it's being talked down to. Is it satisfying to do that?

      What makes you think Americans support this? Many Americans despise their own federal government for precisely the reasons you outlined above - they have too much power and enjoy abusing it. To act fairly would be to follow the rules. To act capriciously is to be the rules.

    • That's how extradition treaties work. They generally only apply to things that are illegal in both countries, or were done in the country in which it is illegal.

    • You are not the world police.

      We've decided we are. What are you going to do about it?

  • How is this news? Lets all submit stories about the sky being blue
  • by ggraham412 ( 1492023 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @01:49PM (#49068197)

    Not sure why Andrus Nomm is charged with anything. Was he responsible for business decisions at the company?

    If he was just a developer, I'm wondering if we'll start seeing a more prosecutions against developers working for a DOJ targeted company just to get them to roll on their bosses. In this case, is he any more responsible for other peoples' file sharing than Kim Dotcom's secretary?

    As for his own illegal download, yeah, him and about 2 billion other people, (probably also including Kim Dotcom's secretary).

    • by Tom ( 822 )

      Not sure why Andrus Nomm is charged with anything. Was he responsible for business decisions at the company?

      He is charged because he knowingly participated in a criminal operation.

      If you participate in a bank robbery, they will charge you with robbing a bank, even if you were not responsible for coming up with the idea, you know?

  • by jmcvetta ( 153563 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @02:53PM (#49068625)

    The US kangaroo courts operate on a principal of coerced false confession. The oppressive multitude of petty laws is used to heavily over-charge defendants. They are then offered the choice of "confessing" or spending the rest of their life in the hellish sensory deprivation torture chambers of the American gulag.

    Consider that "of the 82,092 defendants terminated during Fiscal Year 2013, 75,718, or 92 percent, either pled guilty or were found guilty" and "during Fiscal Year 2013, a total of 73,397, or 97 percent,of all convicted defendants pled guilty prior to or during trial." Source: United States Attorneys' Statistical Report 2013 [justice.gov] Only 3% of federal prisoners were convicted by an actual trial!

    That someone plead guilty at an American trial is no more damming than if they had farted.

    • Only 3% of federal prisoners were convicted by an actual trial!

      The evidence to be presented for both the prosecution and defense generally has to exposed in pre-trial discovery.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        This is complete bullshit. Federal rules state that essentially any witness testimony cannot be required to be disclosed until AFTER the person has testified in court. Most cases have little forensic evidence and rely almost entirely on witness testimony. Try preparing a defense when you don't know who is testifying against you or what they are going to say. Good luck. Prosecutor's are supposed to hand over exculpatory evidence (Brady v. Maryland) but they reserve the right to decide what is exculpatory.

    • by vux984 ( 928602 )

      Consider that "of the 82,092 defendants terminated during Fiscal Year 2013, 75,718, or 92 percent, either pled guilty or were found guilty"

      What about the other 8%?

      Were those not-guilty? Or does it include defendants whose cases that were dismissed at some point along the way?

      At 92% guilty rate might mean what you say, or it might mean that cases against are largely settled and dropped during the pre-trial process.

      And what about legitimate plea-bargains? Where the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser version

      • There is no such thing as a legitimate coerced confession ("plea bargain"), the very concept is antithetical to most ideas of justice.

        As for your factual questions, I encourage you to poke around the linked US Attorney's Statistical Report. It may be an official gubmint publication, but it doesn't paint a pretty picture.

        I am not here asserting what is the "right" conviction rate. Rather I simply assert that our American system of coerced false confession is patently unjust and immoral.

        • by vux984 ( 928602 )

          There is no such thing as a legitimate coerced confession ("plea bargain"), the very concept is antithetical to most ideas of justice.

          Equating "plea bargain" with "coerced confession" is invalid. There are lot of plea bargains where it is not a coerced confession.

          If I get into a bar fight, grab a bottle, and hit someone with it. (And when its over, everyone involved is fine, a bit of bruising etc...)

          That's still aggravated assault. They've got plenty of evidence and a conviction is all but inevitable. Its n

          • The 92% guilty rate is not the interesting part. Rather what strikes me is that 97% of the "guilty" have "confessed".

            • by vux984 ( 928602 )

              The 92% guilty rate is not the interesting part. Rather what strikes me is that 97% of the "guilty" have "confessed".

              Again... WHY is that interesting? Is it different in OTHER countries? Is it possible that 97% of guilty cases are along the lines of my example... where the defendant is merely pleading guilty to doing EXACTLY what he or she did; since the evidence is overwhelmingly conclusive.

              I mean, I have kids. 97% of the time I bust them for something they confess to it too. Because they know I've busted

              • A 97% "confession" rate is something straight out of a Stalinist tyranny. This is a political value judgement - that's NOT the society I want to live in.

                • by vux984 ( 928602 )

                  A 97% "confession" rate is something straight out of a Stalinist tyranny.

                  Normal, healthy, sane, overall good people not only confess without coercion, but even voluntarily will turn themselves in before the police even have them as a suspect. And massive numbers of normal people will confess to something they did actually do if they are accused, especially if they believe they've probably been caught.

                  A 97% confession rate tells us NOTHING at all by itself about whether or not its a "Stalinist tyrann

                  • True, the 97% "confession" rate doesn't tell us whether or not we're a Stalinist tyranny. But it's solid prima facie evidence of some variant of tyranny.

                    Also, no sane person would willingly subject themselves to a lifetime of torture in the gulags. To do so would itself call into doubt their sanity. Not sure what you were smoking when you wrote that.

                    • by vux984 ( 928602 )

                      True, the 97% "confession" rate doesn't tell us whether or not we're a Stalinist tyranny. But it's solid prima facie evidence of some variant of tyranny.

                      Because in a utopia it would be 100% confession rate; even the spanish inquisition couldn't quite get 100%; a few people died before confessing. So what exactly do you think the rate should be, and why?

                      You need to SUPPORT your argument, not merely REPEAT the claim.

                      Also, no sane person would willingly subject themselves to a lifetime of torture in the gulags.

                      What about those with a guilty conscious? Who are tired of running, of being paranoid they'll be caught? Perhaps even the gulag would be a relief.

                      Besides, what percentage of people confessing to crimes ended up with a "lifetime of torture in the g

                    • So you consider the Spanish Inquisition to be nearly a utopia? Now I understand your position better!

                      I'm not inclined to accept confession as evidence at all. When a person "confesses" to a court there is very high likelihood and risk that they have done so under some form of duress. If the prosecution has no case other than a confession, then they simply have no case. I have heard the law indeed operates this way in some of the European states.

                    • by vux984 ( 928602 )

                      So you consider the Spanish Inquisition to be nearly a utopia?

                      Quite the opposite. And THAT was my point. Confession rate is USELESS as an indicator.

                      When a person "confesses" to a court there is very high likelihood and risk that they have done so under some form of duress.

                      Normal sane well-adjusted people admit wrong doing all the time. It's what normal sane well-adjusted people do when they've done something wrong.

                      Yes, there is a risk they were coerced. But how do you access that risk? The confession rate alone doesn't tell us how many were coerced vs how many were not.

                      If the prosecution has no case other than a confession, then they simply have no case. I have heard the law indeed operates this way in some of the European states.

                      Cite? I'd like to learn more about European states cases wherein the accused can confess, supply the prosecution all the de

          • by houghi ( 78078 )

            So my lawyer suggests we offer to plea in exchange for a suspended sentence.

            And that is a problem. It turns people who are not judges into judges.
            It takes out the juridical part out of the juridical system.
            Punishmnet (or getting off free) should not be the result of how god each party is at bargaining. It should be blind to that.

            And how that that fight start where you grabbed a bottle? Where I live it would not be anything you would go to prison for anyway. But questions that should be asked would be: what

            • by vux984 ( 928602 )

              And that is a problem. It turns people who are not judges into judges.

              Your presume that it would be better if every dispute was adjudicated by a judge. I disagree.

              Facilitating letting people sort things out amongst themselves is usually the best policy. Lots of tribal systems use many of those informal approaches and while its not suitable for every situation, and its good that one can fall back to the courts, it really works a lot better in many situations than our adversarial system with a bunch of lawyer

  • Lots of good, irrelevant, points here which I do agree with. However Dotcom was lured to NZ, entrapped, in exchange for "The Hobbit" being filmed here - or at least that was the threat from the US if they'd didn't agree to help rope him up and hand him over.
    The Kiwi's hate Dotcom for 2 reasons.
    1) "Tall poppy syndrome". Kiwi's hate those who brag on success and Dotcom sticks out above everyone in NZ like a soar thumb.
    2) The NZ media have savaged him and he has totally underestimated the population's belief

  • Nomm, nomm, nomm

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