Posts tagged Megaupload
German Artist Faces Criminal Charges for Projecting Kim Dotcom Image on U.S. Embassy
In case you missed it, last Sunday German artist Oliver Bienkowski projected a giant image of Kim Dotcom on the U.S. embassy in Berlin coupled with the phrase “United Stasi of America.” The entire thing lasted about 30 seconds and was extremely good natured and humorous. However, it seems German “authorities” don’t appreciate being out-Stasied by the USSA, and in an attempt to demonstrate their authoritarianism are looking to criminally charge Mr. Bienkowski. After all, in the Western “civilized” world these days, freedom of speech leads to criminal charges, while the theft of trillions leads to bonuses and promotions. From ArsTechnica:
A German artist may now potentially face criminal charges in Germany after he projected a huge image onto the walls of the United States Embassy in Berlin last Sunday.
The image was of fellow German Kim Dotcom, the embattled founder of Megaupload, along with the phrase “United Stasi of America,” referring to the secret police of former East Germany. Oliver Bienkowski videoed the event and set the video to a song that Dotcom had previously recorded, entitled “Mr. President,” which includes lines like: “What about free speech, Mr. President?”
His possible crime? Violation of Paragraph 103 of the German Penal Code (Google Translate), which forbids insulting foreign heads of state, members of foreign governments, or other foreign diplomatic staff in Germany—and is punishable by “up to three years in prison.” If combined with libel charges, that sentence can increase to up to five years.
Watch the video yourself to witness this heinous crime of human expression.
The U.S. Government has just submitted its objections to Megaupload’s motion to dismiss the case against the company. Megaupload’s lawyers have pointed out that the Department of Justice is trying to change the law to legitimize the destruction of Megaupload. However, the Government refutes this assertion and asks the court to deny Megaupload’s motion, fearing that otherwise the entire case may fall apart.
Several months ago Megaupload filed a request to dismiss the indictment against it, until the U.S. Government finds a way to properly serve the company.
Megaupload based its request on “Rule 4” of criminal procedure, which requires the authorities to serve a company at an address in the United States. However, since Megaupload is a Hong Kong company, this was and is impossible.
The defense argued that the court can only protect Megaupload’s due process rights by dismissing the case. However, the Government disagreed and asked the court to deny Megaupload’s motion. Among other things the Government claimed that federal rules shouldn’t be interpreted so narrowly.
Two weeks ago Megaupload renewed its request and the defunct file-hosting company noted that the Government was trying to change the law in its favor. The lawyers cited a letter to the Advisory Committee on the Criminal Rules where the DoJ made suggestions that would directly influence the Megaupload case.
Among other things the letter suggested an amendment to the law so that it would no longer be a requirement to serve a foreign company in the United States. Megaupload’s lawyers used the letter to point out to the court that the Government knew very well that it was not playing by the rules.
This week the U.S. Government replied to the motion, stating that Megaupload misrepresents the facts.
The Government explains that the DoJ’s letter begins with “a bedrock principle of criminal law, one that applies equally to both organizations and natural persons,” citing the following passage:
“When a person located abroad violates the laws of the United States, that person may be held criminally liable despite the fact that the person has never set foot in the United States.”
In other words, every person and company in the world should comply with U.S. law.
Reporting by Gyles Beckford; Editing by Robert Birsel
(Reuters) – U.S. federal authorities wanting to extradite Kim Dotcom, the founder of the Megaupload online file-sharing site, must show evidence to back up charges of internet piracy and copyright breaches, a New Zealand court ruled on Thursday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) accuses the flamboyant Dotcom of leading a group that netted $175 million since 2005 by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorization.
New Zealand authorities arrested Dotcom, a 38-year-old German national, when they raided his rented country estate near Auckland at the FBI’s request in late January, confiscating computers and hard drives, art work and cars.
The raid and evidence seizure has already been ruled illegal and the latest decision confirms that Dotcom should be allowed to see the evidence on which the extradition hearing will be based.
“Without access to materials relevant to the extradition hearing phase, the person sought will be significantly constrained in his or her ability to participate in the hearing,” Justice Helen Winkelmann said in a written judgment.
She said that would give the United States a significant advantage over Dotcom at next March’s extradition hearing.
Winkelmann also ruled that the legal document asking for Dotcom’s extradition did not comply with the law.
The judge said the extradition court hearing would be more modest than a formal criminal trial, but the evidence needed to be tested and the defense able to present its own evidence, test the prosecution’s claims and to examine witnesses.
The New Zealand courts have already ruled that evidence gathered in the January raid and sent to the United States was seized illegally and should be returned to New Zealand.
Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, has always maintained that Megaupload simply offered online storage.
By James Corbett
29 January, 2012
When legislators in the US abandoned their support of SOPA and PIPA in the wake of mass popular protest earlier this month, many of those who had been mobilized by the legislation–which would have granted the US government almost total power to block access to foreign websites accused of so much as linking to copyrighted material–did not have long to enjoy their “victory.” The very next day the New Zealand police swooped in to the million-dollar estate of MegaUpload.com founder Kim Dotcom, arresting him and three others at the US government’s request for alleged racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering. The Department of Justice is now seeking the MegaUpload CEO’s extradition to the US.
Some amongst those who had been campaigning against SOPA and PIPA did not know that the US government already had the authority to shut down entire websites and in fact has exercised that authority on numerous occasions. What many are now learning is that, far from some potential future threat, internet censorship already exists in a variety of legislation that is already on the books in the United States and in nations around the world.
Although most commonly associated with China, which has implemented strict internet filters that prevent its citizens from finding politically sensitive material, various internet censorship programs have already been implemented by countries around the globe.
In 2010, Japan passed amendments to its copyright law making it illegal to download copyrighted material. The move has yet to curtail file-sharing in the country, so the Japanese government recently announced that they are going to begin putting fake copies of popular tv dramas on file-sharing websites that, when opened, remind users that it is illegal to download such material.
In July of 2010, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized the domains of 8 websites that it accused of hosting illegal copies of copyrighted material as part of an investigation dubbed Operation In Our Sites. The seizures came before any trial took place, and six of the websites did not actually host any of the copyrighted material in question, only linking to it. That November, ICE acted once again, this time seizing 82 domains. In December of 2011, over one year later, the agency returned one of the domains, Dajaz1.com, to its owner, after admitting that it had not in fact breached any laws.
In May of last year, the US Justice Department began seeking the extradition of one of the website’s operators, Richard O’Dwyer, from the UK. O’Dwyer is a British citizen who established TVShack.net in December of 2007. The DOJ is hoping to bring O’Dwyer to the US under the Extradition Act of 2003 to face charges of copyright infringement in the Southern District of New York.
Late last year, a number of nations signed a new global copyright agreement known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement or ACTA. Signatories include the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, South Korea, and, as of this past week, 22 member states of the European Union.
Purported to be a treaty against counterfeit goods, generic drugs and copyright, it threatens to fundamentally alter the internet as it has so far existed.
When the Polish government announced its intention to sign earlier this month, protests sprang up around the country.