US Continues To Try To Block Megaupload From Using Its Lawyers, Pretends It Has Jurisdiction Over The World

from the not-quite-how-it-works dept

Following some filings by Megaupload's lawyers in the US, the US Attorneys office has shot back, asking the court to deny all of the company's requests. And, it goes even further than that: seeking to deny Megaupload the ability to use the topnotch lawyers it hired. This part is not new. Back in April, it sought to block Megaupload from hiring Andrew Schapiro from Quinn Emanuel, arguing that there's a "conflict of interest" because the DOJ argues that YouTube is a "victim" of Megaupload and could be a witness -- and Schapiro has represented and continues to represent YouTube in the Viacom case. Quinn Emanuel has also done some work for Hollywood. The thing is, big law firms like Quin Emanuel have a pretty detailed process to check for conflicts of interest, and assuming that Quinn Emanuel and its clients are okay with things, then how is it the government's place to complain other than out of some sort of childish desire to deny Megaupload the best legal representation it can find. The more we view the DOJ's actions in this and related cases, the more it becomes clear that they have a tendency to act like a bunch of little playschool children in these sorts of legal fights.

Separately, the government tries to reject the argument that Megaupload has made -- and which a New Zealand US judge has found compelling -- that for criminal proceeding to take place against a foreign company, that company needs to be served. However, since the law only allows for service on US addresses, Megaupload reasonably argues that it cannot be served (note: this only applies to the company as a defendant -- the individuals who were charged separately are a different issue). But the government argues this is crazy talk, and it's main argument is basically just to claim that such a reading of the law is absurd... and to say that it's fine to serve company officials once they're extradited to the US. In other words: "we're the US, bitch, and as long as we can extradite people here, we can sue their companies too, so shut up." The sense of entitlement in being able to bring criminal charges against foreign entities is astounding.

The US Attorneys also play some games with the filing itself, claiming that Megaupload cannot make such filings until the defendants appear in the court. In fact, they claim that by fighting extradition, Megauploads' execs count as "fugitives" from the law, and thus cannot file motions with the court. Of course, that's ridiculous. The whole point of filing these motions is to help show that the entire case is frivolous and that the extradition requests are excessive and unnecessary. For the US to respond to that by saying that such arguments can only be made after extradition is an argument that makes no sense. It's basically saying that they can only fight extradition after they've been extradited.

All in all, the arguments here are similar to the DOJ's arguments against letting Megaupload users get back their data. Basically, the DOJ was insanely over aggressive in shutting down Megaupload, creating a huge mess... Now, it's lashing out at anyone who seeks to fix a small piece of the mess, basically by saying that the mess has nothing to do with the DOJ's own actions.

Honestly, from the outside looking in, it sure looks like the DOJ is realizing just how weak its case is here, and is simply lashing out at anyone it can.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2012 @ 12:46pm

    Things are starting to get ugly for the DOJ.

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/06/retired-judge-megaupload/

    When even judges are calling them into question you know there is something wrong.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2012 @ 12:48pm

    US Policy Change

    Suppose we filed a lawsuit and nobody came?

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 12:52pm

    In other words: "we're the US, bitch, and as long as we can extradite people here, we can sue their companies too, so shut up."

    Very similar to my take on it when I read this on TorrentFreak this morning.

    I was thinking to myself - Is the DoJ really saying "Of course it's legal - we're the US-fuckin-Goverment for Christ's sake!!!"?

     

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      Ed Allen, Jun 14th, 2012 @ 2:03pm

      Re:

      It also assumes that every person in the world is subject to US justice. (This whole "fighting extradition" mess is just them trying to avoid having to appear before the DOJ picked judge)

      This means that they would be OK with President Obama being charged with war crimes by Afghan rebels and extradition proceeding unimpeded by the DOJ ?

       

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        Chargone (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 9:36pm

        Re: Re:

        given that they apparently passed a law to the effect of 'citizens of the US may not be extradited to anywhere, ever, and fuck all those reciprocal extradition agreements that we're STILL holding the other party to despite this.'...

        probably not.

        (i may, of course, be misremembering, but that's the impression i have from a number of things i have read.)

         

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    Glen, Jun 14th, 2012 @ 12:55pm

    Dear DOJ, Arrogance isn't gonna win you the case.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2012 @ 12:57pm

    Well of course the US jurisdiction over the entire world. The US has troops stationed in over 100 nations, even in places where the US has long been at peace, such as the WW2 Axis powers.

    And you all thought the US just had to keep those troops there because of dozens of peace treaties they signed.

     

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      phildem, Jul 4th, 2012 @ 9:34am

      Re: The US has troops stationed in over 100 nations

      Tangental, but an interesting observation, I've heard stories from co-workers arriving in North America from different continents, how U.S. bases pay for everything with stacks of cash.

      As though the military bases are part of the strategy for keeping the greenback in circulation. Military money laundering...This attitude that the unipolar world is the U.S' playground is pretty well ensconced in foreign policy.

      The DOJ acting in this manner is not really surprising.

       

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    Keii (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 12:58pm

    Spot correction.
    "outside looking it," should be "outside looking in," I do believe.

     

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      Kenneth Michaels, Jun 14th, 2012 @ 1:19pm

      Re: errors

      Also, the article reads, "the court argues that YouTube is a 'victim' of Megaupload and could be a witness." It should read that *the government* argues to the court that YouTube is a victim of Megaupload.

      Further, the article reads that a "New Zealand judge has found compelling -- that for criminal proceeding to take place against a foreign company, that company needs to be served." I think that should say that a US Judge has found this point compelling. The link provided relates to the reaction of the US judge, not the NZ judge. I have not heard anywhere that the NZ judge made any comment on this point. Could be wrong though, do let me know if I am.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 2:21pm

      Re:

      "outside looking it," should be "outside looking in," I do believe.


      Yes... fixed. Thanks.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2012 @ 12:59pm

    You know who else didn't let people use their lawyers?

    Okay, I'm done.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2012 @ 1:00pm

    Some 'interesting' arguments here from the US, including:

    To do business with anyone in the united states, you must have an agent in the U.S.

    Quinn Emanuel would have to get a signed waiver from basically every company it represents, including Disney and i assume the MPAA, that allows them to defend MU.

    It's not fair that MU can hire multiple teams of lawyers to file motions in different courts at the same time. (I assume Hong Kong, New Zealand, and US courts)

    and the best one, where they basically say "nuh-uh" to MU's complaint that they are fusing criminal and civil copyright law... in a footnote.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2012 @ 1:45pm

      Re:

      I want to see something that says Disney and the MPAA need to get a waiver from MU before they can be represented by Quinn Emanuel.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2012 @ 1:03pm

    However, since the law only allows for service on US addresses, Megaupload reasonably argues that it cannot be served (note: this only applies to the company as a defendant -- the individuals who were charged separately are a different issue).

    As long as they get your fellow Jenny Craig dropout, it shouldn't matter too much.

     

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    Thomas (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 1:12pm

    The DOJ

    does think it has jurisdiction anywhere in the world. The DOJ is paid by the content industry, and totally ignores anything like international law anyway. Actually they ignore US law as well, but that's a different story.

     

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      Chargone (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 9:55pm

      Re: The DOJ

      should be 'The DOI' really.
      (i'm sure the reader can figure that out.)

       

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      gorehound (profile), Jun 15th, 2012 @ 5:55am

      Re: The DOJ

      I hope the DOJ pays for what they have done.Everyone needs to spread the word about this Case and talk of it wherever you can.
      Next the DOJ Assholes will do this same thing to a US Citizen and right on US Land.
      These guys want to fuck with Dotcom and after that they come for us.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2012 @ 1:13pm

    basically, the DoJ has made a MEGA fuck up here. not only that, but it is saying that it has jurisdiction over everyone everywhere, regardless of what the laws are in countries outside the US. it is also saying that no one is allowed to have legal representation if it is going to be better than their own legal team can present. if this goes through, no one is going to be safe from US laws. the only thing with that is, be careful USA, this type of 'i can do what i want, where i want to whomever i want can easily come back and bite you severely in the arse. think about a reversal whereby another country wants to do the same thing to a US citizen. it wont be pretty!! you need to look nearer to home for the real solution instead of blaming everyone else and keep molly coddling a bunch purely self-interested arse holes who dont even care for the US

     

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      Zos (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 1:30pm

      Re:

      not actually an issue for the most part. We have a way of signing treaties that are slanted all our way. Ask that poor bastard getting extradited from england for running a filesharing service. Or marc Emery.

      The backlash, if and when it comes, will be from the citizens of these nations toward the governments that have bent over for america and signed all these non reciprocal treaties.

       

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 1:38pm

      Re: Megafuckups

      It's just that the DOJ knows the truth of the legal system: whomever has the best, most expensive lawyer(s) wins.

      And they don't want to lose, so they're cheating.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2012 @ 1:18am

      Re:

      Look all the countries involved with this have pretty much rolled over for the USA. If they would have stood up for their own citizens, much or this would not have happened.

       

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    DogBreath, Jun 14th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

    Just a precursor....

    For the US to respond to that by saying that such arguments can only be made after extradition is an argument that makes no sense. It's basically saying that they can only fight extradition after they've been extradited.

    Next they'll be saying, "You can only fight your sentence of death after you have been executed."

     

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    Pjerky (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 1:18pm

    So I am getting confused here. Is the Department of Justice separate from the Judicial Branch? The name is very misleading if it is. Also then you refer to the government, yet both of the aforementioned entities are part of the government. Just seems awkward, convoluted, and confusing.

    That said, the Attorney General Eric Holder should be fired and disbarred for all of his actions while in office/power. He clearly doesn't care about the law or justice. Its obvious that he is just bending over backwards for his Hollywood butt-buddies.

     

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      Phillip (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 1:28pm

      Re:

      This isn't happening in the US. the US is trying to get New Zealand to do whatever it is the US wants. Hence government refers to the US government arguing against Megaupload being able to do anything in New Zealand court.

       

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 1:41pm

      Re: Naming Scheme

      You've got it backwards.

      Here's how government naming schemes work:
      Federal Reserve; neither "Federal" nor "Reserve"--not a part of government at all.
      Ministry of Truth; does not tell the truth.
      Department of Justice; does not deliver justice.

      You see how it goes, right?

      Among career politicians (et al), the only way you'll hear the truth from them is when the accidentally tell it.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 2:24pm

      Re:

      So I am getting confused here. Is the Department of Justice separate from the Judicial Branch?

      Yes. The Justice Department is a part of the *Executive* branch, and basically handles litigation for the federal government in front of the judicial branch (the courts).

       

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      Violated (profile), Jun 17th, 2012 @ 5:35am

      Re:

      The best way to see the DoJ is to call them the Department of Punishment.

      You have been a bad boy.
      A very very bad boy.
      A bad boy you are.
      Such a bad bad boy you are.
      Bad boy, bad boy, a very very bad boy.

      And then they whack you with a stick.

      That in a very crude way sums up the DoJ.

       

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    Rikuo (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 1:22pm

    Lol, shut up Pirate Mike! The MU guys are clearly guilty and should be imprisoned. What does it matter exactly how the DoJ go about it, they're guilty of a horrible crime: copyright infringement! The method used to get them: abusing and breaking international laws? Pshah! Who gives a damn (nobody important, that's who!)

    /sarcmarc

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 1:27pm

    I do have one genuine thought about all of this.

    It is clear to anybody with a working brain that the Department of Justice's arguments make absolutely no sense and that they have clearly already broken at least several laws (referring to the fact they copied several of DotCom's personal hard drives and took the copies out of New Zealand, before the extradition process had been finished).
    When the DoJ feels like they can act this brazen, make clearly bullshit arguments that no-one can believe...why bother? What's stopping them from saying "Ah fuck it, let's just shoot the tubby bastard and call it a day".

     

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      Zos (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 1:31pm

      Re:

      the same thing keeping Julien Assange alive. They haven't gotten a hold of him yet.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

      Re:

      referring to the fact they copied several of DotCom's personal hard drives and took the copies out of New Zealand, before the extradition process had been finished

      I actually looked into that and don't think that's as big of an issue. In that case, the government's argument actually does make sense. They weren't allowed to bring physical goods out of the country, but making some copies of data for others to see? That's fair.

      If you believe that copyright isn't property then you shouldn't really have an issue with this...

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2012 @ 3:27pm

        Re: Re:

        Hi Mike, you might want to look into it again - the point is only partly about them copying data and not taking the physical evidence. The more serious problem is that they have done so, AFTER having been informed by the presiding judge that NO evidence in any form should leave the country until a court hearing has taken place. The New Zealand Herald has an article about that. The other issue is that they have no intention to give the defence any access to the eidence whatsoever, in spite of the NZ judge's hearing. All of it surely looks like contempt of court to me...

         

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        Kenneth Michaels, Jun 15th, 2012 @ 6:37am

        Copying the evidence

        Mike,

        Regarding the DOJ/FBI copying Dotcom's data, the FBI/DOJ should not be able to receive even copies of *irrelevant*, *personal* information about Kim Dotcom BEFORE the conclusion of the extradition hearing, if ever. The personal, irrelevant information about a NZ citizen should be protected against an intruding foreign power before the conclusion of the extradition hearing. Otherwise, the US could just bring charges against any NZ citizen and seize all their personal, irrelevant information without any protection for the NZ citizen by the NZ government. That is just wrong. That is what is going to sting the FBI/DOJ.

        In this case, it is the information that needs to be protected, whether a copy or not.

        Ken

         

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        mikey4001, Jun 15th, 2012 @ 7:12am

        Re: Re:

        So they copied several hard drives, and assuming 500GB drives, how many files is that at $240,000 per file copied without permission? These no talent ass-clowns are gonna owe the MAFIAA as much MegaUpload does by the time they're done.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2012 @ 10:43am

          Re: Re: Re:

          MU owes nothing, right now. Have to prove infringement, first, and then you have to prove that MU are the perpetrators instead of the people who uploaded it.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2012 @ 2:15pm

    One just have to ask Abraham David Sofaer what he thinks about the DOJ's actions to see where they got it all wrong.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 2:27pm

    YouTube as a Witness ??

    Back in April, it sought to block Megaupload from hiring Andrew Schapiro from Quinn Emanuel, arguing that there's a "conflict of interest" because the court argues that YouTube is a "victim" of Megaupload and could be a witness...

    This argument confuses me. How exactly would YouTube be a victim? A victim of what? Someone converting a YouTube video and putting it on Mega? YouTube wouldn't be the rights holder anyways.

    Seems like the DoJ is completely clueless about what YouTube does or they are just making shit up to prevent Dotcom from mounting a defense. Either way it doesn't reflect well on the DoJ.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 4:32pm

      Re: YouTube as a Witness ??

      This argument confuses me. How exactly would YouTube be a victim? A victim of what? Someone converting a YouTube video and putting it on Mega? YouTube wouldn't be the rights holder anyways.

      In the indictment there are reports that Kim told his staff to literally copy everything on YouTube and put it on MegaVideo. They basically tried to clone all of YouTube...

       

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        Gwiz (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 4:49pm

        Re: Re: YouTube as a Witness ??

        Ahhh. Makes more sense now. Thanks.

        If true, that does convolute the situation a bit. But I have to agree with you, law firms pay attention to covering their own asses, so they have probably examined this from every possible angle.

         

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    DanZee (profile), Jun 14th, 2012 @ 4:59pm

    Typical Tactics

    All lawyers file these kind of motions. Every defense lawyer will file a motion to dismiss every charge against his client, the prosecution will counter with every argument they can make. It's all just typical stuff.

    However, if you make too many ridiculous arguments, a judge will get angry at you and it could taint your whole case. So I say to the US attorneys, keep it up! Get the judge angry at you and he might toss the whole case!

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 15th, 2012 @ 3:58am

    The current crowd at the DOJ reminds me of the Keystone Cops.

     

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    identicon
    Digitari, Jun 15th, 2012 @ 4:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So, when are the freedom loving forces of the world going to help the US citizen become free, How much bogus crap is going to be allowed?

    This is just ONE of the things this Government has done, and done badly, it seems voting is not working, so whats next?

    Instead of talking about symptoms, can we start talking about cures?

    It appears "Rome" is burning, but they have outlawed fire extinguishers..

    (vote the blank)

     

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    Seegras (profile), Jun 26th, 2012 @ 6:54am

    playschool children

    playschool children

    Actually, the DOJ looks more like a criminal organization than an organization to fight criminals in this case.

     

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