Megaupload Defendants Get Internet Access Back; Kim Dotcom Allowed To Record An Album

from the conditions-of-bail dept

When Kim Dotcom was granted bail, we noted that it was rather silly that the conditions of bail included a ban on internet access. It appears that pretty much everyone involved in the case has actually agreed, and the terms of bail have been adjusted to allow all of the Megaupload defendants to have internet access. The US didn't even object to this request (which surprises me, actually).

What the US did object to, however, was Dotcom's request to be able to go to a nearby recording studio to complete an album he is supposedly working on. The US seems to question whether this album really exists as well as its likelihood of commercial success. However, the judge notes:
This Court cannot speculate on the success or otherwise of Mr Dotcom’s venture. The numerous varieties of modern musical genres suggest that there are probably unimagined audiences available, and modern legitimate digital distribution systems are changing the face of the music market. I could venture to suggest that notoriety alone could well be a marketing angle for Mr Dotcom’s venture.
In the end, he does allow Dotcom to go to the studio, but with specific requirements, including having to notify officials when he's going there, and only staying for four hours at a time. He has to alert officials when he arrives, at the 2 hour mark, and 5 minutes before he leaves -- and he's supposed to do so with a photo of himself on a smartphone (if he has a smartphone).

The US also objected to allowing the four defendants to meet in person, saying that by allowing them internet access, they could just Skype each other. However, the court agreed with the defendants that Skyping is not the same as actually meeting in person and is allowing that as well (again, in a limited fashion). The court notes that the "flight risk" that the US keeps worrying about appears to be exaggerated, though it's still keeping pretty strict limits on Dotcom and the others, and may revisit the rules in the future.

Of course, I'm still wondering why internet access was banned in the first place. It seems like such an overaggressive ban on something that's so central to the ways in which everyone communicates these days.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 12:24am

    Of course, I'm still wondering why internet access was banned in the first place
    Everyone knows that the Internet is a series of pipes - they may all crawl off down those pipes and escape to Thailand

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      silverscarcat (profile), Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 4:14am

      Re:

      What? And eating a mushroom will make them grow?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 4:51am

        Re: Re:

        Eating mushrooms may cause fits of violence, explosions and being able to fit through internal plumbing. Also, larcenous, kidnapping trespassers who have no respect for content creators' plans.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 12:37am

    Timing is Everything

    If I had read the headline that Dotcom was recording an album 2 days ago, I wouldn't have read the article. I would have thought it was another joke.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 12:40am

    "What the US did object to, however, was Dotcom's request to be able to go to a nearby recording studio to complete an album he is supposedly working on. The US seems to question whether this album really exists as well as its likelihood of commercial success."

    Erm, I can't help but wonder where this position comes from. Surely, its commercial success should be irrelevant. The government should certainly not be blocking people from working on art, regardless of the profit to be had. Even if it's a non-commercial venture, then so what? They've already seized his day job, is he not supposed to have a hobby as well now? The only thing I can think of to object to is that it's a way of mocking the music industry he supposedly "stole" from and so shouldn't profit from it, but that's a long stretch.

    "modern legitimate digital distribution systems are changing the face of the music market"

    I wonder if the judge realises the irony of this statement, considering that one of those distribution systems is the very thing the defendant is on trial for in the first place (and yes, it's a "legitimate" system when it was used by artists to distribute their own work)...

    "and he's supposed to do so with a photo of himself on a smartphone (if he has a smartphone)."

    That would have made for an interesting contradiction if the internet ban had been upheld - he'd have been blocked from accessing the internet but compelled to use a device that can access any wifi network!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      PatternGuru714, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 2:20am

      @PaulT

      PaulT, with regard to the US objecting to the recording of an album and the question of why:

      In the U.S. there are strict rules disallowing any possible profit from one's alleged or convicted crime(s). Profiting from one's notoriety from a crime is illegal in itself in many situations.

      I'm not defending such a distracting side-complaint by the US, just offering a possible reason based on the rules the US usually plays by.

      I'd think the Skype argument would be argued more fervently, as obviously Skype could be used to allow collaboration among defendants. Then again, so could numerous other forms of communication.

      PG

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        PaulT (profile), Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 2:39am

        Re: @PaulT

        Yeah, that was my thought, really. It's still rather disturbing that he can be held to this before actually being convicted of any crime, and it's also strange that they apparently used the opposite argument.

        "I'd think the Skype argument would be argued more fervently, as obviously Skype could be used to allow collaboration among defendants. Then again, so could numerous other forms of communication."

        Without literally locking him up in solitary confinement 24 hours a day before trial, there really isn't anything they can do to stop him communicating in some way. Skype at least allows them to monitor conversations without blocking his life completely. Not ideal, but it's something.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Spaceboy (profile), Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 3:59am

        Re: @PaulT

        This could backfire against the US. His fame and notoriety have increased as a result of the actions against him. What if his album is about kittens and puppies, but because of all this exposure, his sales went through the roof?

        Yes this is a serious question.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 6:46am

        Re: @PaulT

        In the U.S. there are strict rules disallowing any possible profit from one's alleged or convicted crime(s). Profiting from one's notoriety from a crime is illegal in itself in many situations.

        He should still be able to create an album or write a book...he just can't put it up for sale. Plus, the industry would claim he had billions in lost sales anyhow...a net loss.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Bergman (profile), Apr 4th, 2012 @ 1:07am

          Re: Re: @PaulT

          I wonder if the monetary losses that arise from fighting off a malicious, baseless prosecution can be claimed as a deduction on one's taxes?

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 6:48am

        Re: @PaulT

        "In the U.S. there are strict rules disallowing any possible profit from one's alleged or convicted crime(s). Profiting from one's notoriety from a crime is illegal in itself in many situations."

        But he's not doing this in the US so that doesn't apply. Secondly, we don't know what the content of the album yet will be so to say that it will include content directly related to the case is a bit premature. Third, to say that because of his notoriety gained in this case would help with sale of an album that may be completely unrelated to the case is a broad over-reaching interpretation of the law such that ANYONE with any notoriety could be prevented from having commercial success in ANY commercial venture regardless of how unrelated that venture may be since the notoriety would affect it that is not in the intended spirit of the law.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 7:35am

        Re: @PaulT

        "In the U.S. there are strict rules disallowing any possible profit from one's alleged or convicted crime(s). Profiting from one's notoriety from a crime is illegal in itself in many situations."

        Since he has yet to be tried, much less convicted, there's no "crime" to profit from.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 1:27am

    Why No Internet Access

    From the original bail hearing:
    Prosecutor Anne Toohey said that Internet access would increase the risk of a Megaupload resurrection in a jurisdiction where US authorities canít touch it.

    To which my question was: why is that illegal?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 1:56am

      Re: Why No Internet Access

      Better question: Is there actually a jurisdiction the US believes it can't touch?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 2:19am

        Re: Re: Why No Internet Access

        Is there actually a jurisdiction the US believes it can't touch?

        Thats a very well put questions my friend, no doubt if asked, a typical politicians response would ensue, seing as the answer is likely to be a, yes.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          That One Guy (profile), Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 7:15am

          Re: Re: Re: Why No Internet Access

          I think you mean 'no actually, there isn't a jurisdiction the US government doesn't think they could at least control to some degree'.

          How accurate that is in reality would be up for debate, but that wouldn't stop them from trying.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 2:37am

        Re: Re: Why No Internet Access

        Even better question. Considering that no expense in human resources, SWAT teams, helicopters, investigations and prosecution was spared...

        Why the fuck would Kim Dotcom have resources that the prosecution team has yet to seize, thereby allowing a Megaupload resurrection?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 3:26am

        Re: Re: Why No Internet Access

        Switzerland.
        Trying to tamper with that jurisdiction never worked well for anyone, especially the USA, and the USA rarely tries to.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 2:10am

    Why ban a physical meeting, then turn around and allow Skype, essentially making the ban on a physical meeting useless.........mmmm, a cynical man would think twice before using 'Skype'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 3:15am

      Re:

      @ #6

      i doubt, but wouldn't put it past them, if the US has managed to 'bug' the property, but Skpe would be fairly easy for them to listen in on. they dont want any sort of defense allowed at all. the only reason the files are still on the Mega servers is so they can look through them to gain 'evidence' and let the politicians and service personnel that used the service can get their files back. once they have all they think they need, those servers, which Kim and co are not allowed near, will magically be wiped, preventing help in their defense.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 2:13am

    Ill buy a song or maybe an album as long as its cheap, stands for something, and 90% of the proceeds go to the defense of the internet

    You'll have my money and respect

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 4:17am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 2:13am

      I wonder if the plan is to release it on another cyberlocker network to demonstrate the viability of the legitimate model.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    blakey, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 2:24am

    'likelihood of commercial success'

    thats surely the problem - only records released by RIAA affiliates are allowed to be commercial successes. Of course he should be stopped! Thats the whole problem with the internet in a nutshell - anyone can just make a record and release it!

    To follow up with some simple maths: 1,000,000 unknowns make a record which each sells 10 copies thats over a billions of dollars stolen from Legitimate Record Makers of USA. Hundreds of millions of people will lose their jobs in California alone!

    .com must die.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 6:55am

      Re: 'likelihood of commercial success'

      This could also be a motive. To demonstrate conspiracy on the part of the DOJ and the content industry in anti-competitive activity As they try to censor him they strengthen his case in this claim.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 2:51am

    can someone please tell me what difference it makes to the US whether Kim makes an album or not and whether it is successful or not? obviously, he wont be using any of the entertainment industries to record, promote or sell the album, so perhaps that could be the reason? that the entertainment industries wont be able to rip him off like they have done/are doing with their actual own artists, those very same artists that they continue to use as the excuse/reason they are fighting all the 'piracy' in the first place?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 3:20am

      Re:

      PR is the real problem.
      If Kim DotCom(I always get a laugh out of that name) is seen as an artist and if he manages to become somehow cool, that would be a problem, no prosecutor wants a jury sympathizing with the people who they are accusing.

      The problem with people siding with him and not the MAFIAA is that when it goes to court half truths and ambiguities can be used by a jury to let him go and make no mistake the government doesn't have a strong case and they know it.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Chargone (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 7:03am

        Re: Re:

        good thing they're still only trying to convince a judge here and not a Jury.

        odds of the US winning over a Jury in NZ on something like this without blatantly rigging the whole thing is somewhere between 'zero' and 'i didn't know negative numbers got that big'

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 3:31am

      Re:

      The explanation is simple: Tyranny.

      Any tyranny hates being ridiculed, and there's a good chance this album will do just that as far as I know.
      And yes, the USA are a tyranny (but I believe anyone reading techdirt realized that already... aside from the usual corporate shills maybe).

      So there you go. The fact that they would try to censor him on grounds that he would ridicule them is extra evidence that the USA is indeed a tyranny.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 3:00am

    According to Stuff.co.nz the album "would feature [...] collaborations with several international artists."

    This could have been another reason to object to record the album. It would surely look strange if the artists, whose rights are "defended" with the shut down of Megaupload, side with Kim Dotcom.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 3:04am

    Music about bullying is always cool because everybody even the bullies themselves can identify with it, the world is scary and everyone has bad moments in life with that said my version of the The Guild: I'm the One That's Cool

    To all the asshat IP lawyers who beat me up in court
    Now I'm the one that's cool
    I'm the one that's cool
    To all the justice queen bitches thinking they still rule
    Now I'm the one that's cool
    I'm the one that's cool
    And to my eighth-grade idols who pushed me in the pool
    Now I'm the one that's cool
    I'm the one that's cool
    You may be tan and fit and rich but you're a tool
    And I'm the one that's cool
    I'm the one that's cool

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 4:15am

    It isn't an "overaggressive ban" its a condition of bail, such as stay away from schools for the pedophile, or do not enter any banks for bank robbers etc...

    Its only an "overaggressive ban" because you like piracy it seems, and don't really care about the rights others have, because you don't agree with them

    Stay away from the others who helped you commit your crime etc.. except it seems they don't about that in that country

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 4:30am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 4:15am

      The whole action by the DOJ is overly aggressive in the first place. Did they have to bust his door down to arrest him? No. They could have quietly picked him up when he left went to the store for groceries.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 5:25am

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 4:15am

        But then they wouldn't have got the word out that they are now a "shill for hire" would they?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 4:56am

      Re:

      Aggression is making a dawn raid in a jurisdiction THAT ISN'T YOURS using resources that aren't yours for something that wasn't even a criminal offense in the place that the raid took place.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 7:38am

      Re:

      "Stay away from the others who helped you commit your crime etc.. except it seems they don't about that in that country"

      And he was tried (and convicted) when, exactly?

      You HAVE heard of "innocent until PROVEN guilty, boy?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Gwiz (profile), Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 9:26am

      Re:

      ...and don't really care about the rights others have, because you don't agree with them

      Kind of like the USG not giving a shit about the innocent users who have been harmed in this whole fiasco.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 5:22am

    " internet access was banned "

    And so we have the beginings of a governmental ability to turn YOU into a non-person.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Colin, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 5:52am

    What the US did object to, however, was Dotcom's request to be able to go to a nearby recording studio to complete an album he is supposedly working on. The US seems to question whether this album really exists as well as its likelihood of commercial success.

    And yet they let Disney make "John Carter".

    ZING!

    Thank you, thank you...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 7:13am

    Maybe they let him have internet because they want him to report in using a smartphone? Taking it away from him takes away their ability to communicate with him on it. They don't want to be receiving faxes of Polaroids of him leaving the studio.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Jesse (profile), Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 7:29am

    What's wrong with going to a studio?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 8:46am

      Re:

      He might steal some more music to put on the internetz - he can't obviously be making his own, since it's all owned by the artists.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 7:54am

    Digital Distribution

    The numerous varieties of modern musical genres suggest that there are probably unimagined audiences available, and modern legitimate digital distribution systems are changing the face of the music market.

    Anyone else find that part unintentionally hilarious?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 10:51am

    You must be so happy for your pirate friend, Mike. I hope you two enjoy your special internet time together.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 12:12pm

    Of course, I'm still wondering why internet access was banned in the first place. It seems like such an overaggressive...

    That word describes the whole Megaupload case. You should be wondering why he was arrested and MU shutdown in the first place. But I know you are wondering, we are all wondering (and many of us know the answer).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 4:47pm

    Megaupload Is A Library

    Megaupload was a library. It was not a library of books, but a library of files. Kim Dotcom is the injured former chief librarian. He should read up about the destruction of the library of Alexandria and try to put himself in the shoes of the chief librarian of that institution. Should Megaupload be restored, he should buy some books as well, hire some conventional librarians and open his doors to readers, thereby making it clear to all that he has library status.

    Many libraries have been destroyed throughout history, by vandals, always for disgraceful reasons. The US entertainment industry has revealed itself as the latest in a long line of vandals. Libraries have high social status and fierce defenders. Getting that status for Megaupload would be advantageous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    dubstep maker, Aug 29th, 2012 @ 5:46am

    dubstep maker

    I am not sure from where youíre getting your information, but really good topic chosen by you. I need to spend some time for learning or understanding more. Thanks for magnificent information that I was looking for for my mission.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This