Megaupload Helped DOJ In NinjaVideo Prosecution; And DOJ Uses That Against Megaupload

from the outrageous dept

On Friday, we wrote about the unsealed seizure warrants against Megaupload, and noted that they showed how Megaupload had assisted in a criminal investigation, in which they were told not to interfere with the files, but then those very files were used as evidence against Megaupload itself. It’s now come out that this was part of the case against NinjaVideo, which we wrote about a few times. Apparently, NinjaVideo used Megaupload to store some of its files, and the DOJ sent a warrant to Megaupload, which they complied with:

“Megaupload complied with the warrant and cooperated with the government’s request,” Rothken said. He said Megaupload had gotten “a number of such warrant and subpoena type requests a year and still have an expectation that as classic ‘online service providers’ they are immune from liability for the acts of users who are the target of such warrants and subpoenas.”

But, as the unsealed warrants show, the DOJ later used those same files as evidence that Megaupload “knew” there were infringing files on its servers, leaving out the bit about how they had requested Megaupload not delete them. That seems like yet more fairly egregious behavior by the DOJ in a case that’s chock full of it. Once again, I’m left wondering how the DOJ could do so many questionable things in their pursuit of Dotcom. It really looks like they bought Hollywood’s mythic story about Dotcom hook, line and sinker, and believed that once they took him down, the case would simply fall into place.

Rothken calls the government’s argument “outrageous.” Given the NinjaVideo search warrant, and the government’s specific request for secrecy and to retain the files, Megaupload might have been accused of evidence-spoliation if it had taken the movies down, says Rothken.

“If anything, such a cooperation request by the government bolstered Megaupload’s view that as a cloud storage intermediary it was operating lawfully even if some users may have been misbehaving,” Rothken said.

Back when the Megaupload indictment and arrests first came down, I had a conversation with a couple of lawyers who insisted that, given the claims in the indictment, the DOJ must have had really strong evidence against Megaupload. But pretty much every discovery since then has suggested that they only had strong evidence in their minds…

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Comments on “Megaupload Helped DOJ In NinjaVideo Prosecution; And DOJ Uses That Against Megaupload”

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87 Comments
weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Who are you making a point for/against?
Your comment seems to have the tone against Mike, but the words say otherwise.

“yet the case keeps chugging forward” I cant wait until this finally gets in front of a judge.

You are ok with them issuing a non-takedown takedown then using the requested files as proof they infringed? You smoking shit with OOTB, boB, and average_joe? Must be some good shit.

A says:

Re: Re: Re:

Nah, I doubt he’s smoking/snorting/shooting anything with OotB, bob or AJ. And I say that as someone who knows people who do all of those things. Because even people doing all that make some sense and have a firm grasp of reality from time to time. This one AC and those other three mentioned DO NOT. Although AJ flirts with it from time to time, but I happen that more to chance than anything.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You guys are being incredibly silly.

The Ninja Video files were hardly the only thing necessary to demonstrate that Megaupload’s business model was based on the illegal trafficking of content.

Really guys? Are you REALLY going to go full-on delusional at this point? Is that your strategy in your war on copyright? I guarantee that you will end up on the losing end of this equation if you choose to soldier on being willfully blind to what is happening.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Kind of delusional that Rapidshare is still operational and they host infringing copyright on there servers that people are sharing and doing excatcly what Megaupolad was doing. They too paid people to upload files for which people uploaded copyright files to earn money from people downloading them. Rapidshare are still operational and Meguaupload gets the SWAT team in which has now been proved to be illegal. So why aren’t the US getting Rapidshare shutdown and taken to court and sued for the loss of millions to that they have stolen from copyright holders.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“…Megaupload’s business model was based on the illegal trafficking of content.”

It’s amusing how difficult it’s been to provide enough evidence of that for even an extradition.

“Really guys? Are you REALLY going to go full-on delusional at this point? Is that your strategy in your war on copyright?”

Well it seems to be working for the content industries! They’re doing a fine job of ignoring the real world.

“I guarantee that you will end up on the losing end of this equation if you choose to soldier on being willfully blind to what is happening.”

And I guarantee you that even if the USG wins this one, the real losers long-tem will be the content industries (and by that I don’t mean content creators). Laws only work if they’re respected, and the public’s respect for copyright law is low and continuing to drop in no small part because of cases like this. The more they fight against public will, the sooner they’ll disappear into irrelevancy. And good riddance to those that do.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Your point?

The case isn’t officially lost until it’s dismissed or actually lost in court. The government can’t dismiss at this point because they would lose what very little credibility they already have. Either a judge has to dismiss it based on Mega’s defense team’s motions, or it will go to trial. What is being pointed out time and time again is that every shred of “evidence” that has been shown by the DOJ has been debunked, taken out of context, been extremely weak, or all of the above.

Every time the DOJ is shown to have made another mistake, it is in fact news worthy. They are supposed to represent our laws and justice system, and evidence of their hypocrisy and incompetence is something the public needs to be aware of.

Yakko Warner (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So, are you saying he must be guilty of something since he’s been arrested? Guilty until proven innocent? There must be some evidence against him, otherwise they wouldn’t hold him?

Because, you know, a government organization would readily admit its mistake and release any seized or forfeited assets, rather than unlawfully infringe on another’s rights, just like they’ve always done.(SarcMark?)

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

And yet the indictment still stands and your buddy is still in the process of being extradited. You keep telling us that the government’s case is lost, yet the case keeps chugging forward.

I never said the government’s case is lost. Nor is Dotcom “my buddy.” I find the guy to be ridiculous. I just noted how much of their evidence seems highly questionable.

But you aren’t here to argue reality. You’re here to smear the strawman in your head that you think is me.

Btw what happened to your promise to stop posting here this year? That lasted what, 5 seconds?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

And, seriously dude, it’s 100% completely obvious to every single human being on this planet that every article you write about the Megaupload prosecution favors Dotcom et al. There’s no need to lie and pretend like you aren’t on their side. What a sad and pathetic person you must be that you can’t be frank and honest about what you truly and honestly believe.

AB says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Just because men and women died to protect your right to be a jerk doesn’t mean any of them would have liked you. Likewise, Mike doesn’t have to like Dotcom to write a story about the lawsuit centered on him.

Personally, I think Mike’s stories do more to highlight government misconduct than defend Dotcom, but we are each entitled to our own opinion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

He also apparently spies on anonymous commenter’s IP addresses. What an upstanding guy…

If I am not mistaken the little pattern next to your post is based on your IP address. Makes it easier to see which morons keep making stupid comments instead of just shooting themselves and doing the world a big favor…

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“If I am not mistaken the little pattern next to your post is based on your IP address.”

It is, and it was introduced because certain people kept trolling the site pretending to be several different people. A quick glance at server logs revealed that it really was one or 2 morons derailing discussion every time, so the snowflake was introduced to help those of us without log access tell which anonymous moron was which.

A far preferable solution than the alternatives, of course (e.g. banning IP addresses used by trolling tossers, requiring login before comment, etc.). But, apparently, allowing free anonymous speech and looking at publicly advertising information stored on your own web server is some kind of personal failing now.

Stupid and illogical, but I expect no less from this delusional fool.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

IP “Snowflakes” do not cross into other article postings.

That is a fact.

Masnick spied on that supposed anonymous poster’s IP addy, and has quite obviously been stalking him for months if you look at Masnick’s response.

Another fact:

You’re a gigantic, apologist douchebag, PaulT.

Congratulations at failing at life in public.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Wow, you really need to get your head seen to, you know that?

Are you referring to a particular case? I don’t know, you haven’t said. You just flail and attack without making a point, only addressing the fantasies in your own head rather than the people actually engaging you. It’s pathetic.

“Masnick spied on that supposed anonymous poster’s IP addy, and has quite obviously been stalking him for months if you look at Masnick’s response.”

Which poster? In which article? Which comment are you talking about? Is there anything to suggest that Mike did anything other than run a search within his own logs, using information voluntarily supplied by a user who voluntarily posts here?

Provide information, or disappear back under your bridge.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Which poster? In which article?

“It is, and it was introduced because certain people kept trolling the site pretending to be several different people. A quick glance at server logs revealed that it really was one or 2 morons derailing discussion every time, so the snowflake was introduced to help those of us without log access tell which anonymous moron was which.”

You poor little puppy.

Snowflakes don’t apply across articles, PaulT.

tsk, tsk.

You’re a pathetic suck-up to Masnick, PaulT. He’s your symbiotic coward hero.

Just like him, you’re too ashamed to admit you’re obsessed with content, the stealing of it, and the shame you feel about doing so.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

So, you don’t want to back up your own assertions? OK, that’s about what I expect from your type. If only you could be civil while admitting you have nothing.

I was referring to a specific instance where twats like you kept making anonymous comments in the same thread as though there were multiple posters, and Mike said he looked at the logs and realised they were coming from the same user. IIRC, that’s why the snowflake was brought in. Would you prefer it if your kind were simply banned? Of course the snowflake changes between articles, btw. If you can’t work out why, your stupidity remains unchallenged.

On the other hand, you are addressing some specific situation where Mike “stalked” a user for months and made a response that made you think he was doing this. Where and when was that response posted? In which article? In response to which poster?

All I’m asking you to do is provide a link to the comments you’re referring to, yet all you can do is whine and launch impotent personal attacks. A pathetic type behaviour for a human being, and you’re not convincing anyone.

There’s only one conclusion I can reach – you’re lying as much about Mike’s behaviour as you are about mine. Prove me wrong, facts or STFU.

“Just like him, you’re too ashamed to admit you’re obsessed with content, the stealing of it, and the shame you feel about doing so.”

Yes, I’m afraid to admit to a complete fiction that you pulled out of your ass. Well done. Does it tire you to be so completely wrong *all* the time?

I’ll be here waiting for your proof, while I get back to work, listening to the new Deftones album I have streaming on my paid Spotify Premium account.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

One person could use several proxies, and several people could happen to use the same proxy. There are proxies which change IP addresses every few minutes. Then there is IP spoofing. I remember one time I checked my firewall log and there was an invasion attempt apparently from Russia using the exact same IP address as I had!

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“Oh please. Seriously, stop with the delusional postings.”

You first.

“Masnick sides with the pirates and everyone knows it.”

Three or four regular anti-everything-Techdirt commenters hardly counts as “everyone”. That delusion is purely your own.

“He also apparently spies on anonymous commenter’s IP addresses.”

Even if you’re convinced yourself this is true, it clearly doesn’t bother you enough to actually stop posting, so what’s your actual problem? Simply too chicken to stand behind all of your comments, even anonymously?

ldne says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You really should read virtually all of the other media stories on the case, because they’re just as obviously in Dotcom’s favor as these ones are. Why? Because the Federal government has misrepresented the case from the start, that’s why. I mean, the Judges in NZ, you know, the guys who are actually present and involved in the case and are privy to far more details than you are, keep complaining about all of the irregularities and illegalities on the part of the US DOJ and yet you’re complaining about bias on a web site that reports on copyright weasels? Seems to me you’re the one with a frankness and honesty issue.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

….
should. it Should get the case thrown out immediately with prejudice.

see, thing is, the case against Megaupload?
that IS taking place in the US.

the only stuff that’s happening in NZ is an attempt to extradite Kim Dotcom … which…. doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere all that fast. partially because, hey, legal system, and partially because every time something like this comes out it makes it look more and more like the political nonsense it is rather than a matter of law and justice.

on the flip side, the longer it drags out, the more of Dotcom’s funds are drained away, so the harder it is for him to come back from it… but the more State funds are drained away and the more pissed off the public get about it.

‘course, there’s the usual pro US right wing Morons who think the correct solution to such a situation is to just let the USG have him. …. i call them morons for a reason. at this point, the correct response is to bill the USG for the whole mess, and/or reject the extradition.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If a private citizen refuses to supply evidence to a court they end up slapped with contempt charges and/or a default judgment against them. If they do it repeatedly they get their case dismissed with prejudice.

When a government does it, the court merely grants infinite continuances until the information materializes or everyone involved dies of old age, whichever comes first.

Anonymous Coward says:

Except that there are many, many legal reasons that the case should have been dropped/dismissed by now, and still it continues as you note. De facto evidence of the gov’s abuse of power, and its absolute ability to rail anybody it wants into a untenable position.

Stop being so smug. It just hasn’t been your turn yet to be on the receiving end of the hammer that has become the government.

Anonymous Coward says:

“What the DOJ has done is committed entrapment. In the US, that would get the case thrown out immediately with prejudice.”

You misspelled “a fictional utopia” as “the US”. It’s a pretty egregious typo.

In all seriousness, where exactly do you think this case is being tried? The DOJ you are referring to is the United States Department of Justice.

Anonymous Coward says:

No, it’s quite simple Mike, lets use a similar situation to show just how reasonable the DOJ are being.

-Person A robs Bank A and steals over $10 million dollars in cash.

-Person A hides the cash they stole in a bank account in Bank B.

-The Police catch Person A, and order Bank B to keep the money locked up as evidence against Person A.

-Bank A later complains after Person A is convicted that Bank B is stealing their money.

-The Police arrest the owners of Bank B and seize all their assets for theft against Bank A.

-Because Bank A is so important and cooperative in the case against Bank B, The Police give Bank A all of Bank B’s assets to hold onto as evidence while they put Bank B on trial.

You see, perfectly reasonable! Bank B is a crook who stole money from Bank A and Person A! So Bank B used The Police to steal their assets back!

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Why the fuck are you talking about a bank?

This is an article about a cyberlocker. A completely different entity.
Also, note that Megaupload was never charged with theft of money. At worst, the DOJ may charge them with somehow interfering with someone’s income stream due to copyright, but that is a far cry from actual theft of money.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

except that the mafIAA keep trying to claim that it IS theft, the USG keeps trying to claim that somehow this is terrorism or something, and that the bank thing was a ‘would be joking if it weren’t dead on’ explanation/analogy of the utterly bullshit ‘logic’ involved, the nature of the actual entities being irrelevant. (could have used trees, squirrels, and nuts rather than banks, people, and money, and it would have held.)

out_of_the_blue says:

Not inconsistent to catch two thieves at once.

Actually, it’s cost-effective! You should hail this as both innovation and saving taxpayer money!

Look. A criminal doesn’t necessarily get off for helping catch another AFTER the fact. — The files were there PRIOR to Ninjavideo bit, right?

Take a moment for Mike “Streisand Effect” Masnick and click:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect
Actual unsolicited testimonial: “Until I read Techdirt.com, I didn’t know what shameless self-promotion was!”

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Not inconsistent to catch two thieves at once.

Ooob, are you being serious or is this a joke? I honestly can’t tell.

Let me see if I understand. So a person deposits stolen money into a bank. The police find out there is stolen money in the bank. The police should charge the bank with aiding criminal activity? Or for not identifying that the money was stolen before accepting it?

Never mind. The only rational solution is to ban banks altogether. Obviously.

/sigh

JMT says:

Re: Not inconsistent to catch two thieves at once.

“A criminal doesn’t necessarily get off for helping catch another AFTER the fact. — The files were there PRIOR to Ninjavideo bit, right?”

Simply having infringing files stored at MegaUpload does not make them criminals. Jeez, are you really that stupid? It’s mind-boggling the crap you come up with.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Well, no wonder the DoiJ knew there would be infringing files on MU’s servers when they were seized, and in fact knew exactly which ones they were, given they told MU to leave them there.

Assuming this case ever gets tried in the US, I cannot wait to see what mental patient they plan on sticking in judge’s robes to try this one, as any judge with even a pinch of common sense or respect for the law would laugh the DoiJ out of court during their opening statements.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

*facepalm*

worst part is that it’s draining Dotcom’s coffers, draining the NZG’s coffers… and is basically an irrelevant drop in the bucket in the USG’s budget/debt situation. they can pretty much keep this up indefinately… and the international level response to unpaid debts, the only way to reclaim them, is invasion… and there’s no way NZ can get anywhere trying to pull That stunt vs the US… so even if the case is tossed and the USG stuck with the bill for the whole chain of bullshit, nothing will come of it.

(especially as our PM (and others) seems to be getting along FAR too well with the entities responsible for this mess…)

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Not a lawyer, so I’m not quite sure on this, but given how the US is acting in this whole debacle, could the judge in NZ simply order a deadline that the US has to meet with regards to providing the ordered evidence, under threat of the case being dismissed if they fail to comply?

I know at this point the NZ judge(s) would be more than justified in doing so, just not sure if they could legally.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

True enough, but these days merely saying ‘No’ to the USG makes you an enemy, and considering the NZ judge has already done that by refusing to go along with the farce that is the MU ‘case’ by just handing Dotcom over, other than putting NZ on one of the US’s dreaded ‘bad peoples’ lists, not sure there’s much they could do that wouldn’t get them some unpleasant reactions internationally.

Anonymous Coward says:

the DoJ didn’t have to buy what Hollywood told them, they were more than willing participants. this was a case of friends helping out other friends and the law never entered the frame at all. having read about this earlier, i am trying to decide whether the DoJ agent actually existed or was simply a made up character seeing as how the name is redacted. i am also trying to find out how to get hold of a couple of the ‘undercover computers’ that were used in the case. i am sure i will be able to find a use for them at sometime!

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They wanted the data wiped so that the cloud of fear would hit every cyberlocker. A majority of the users would blame the provider, not the insane DoJ cartel enforcement.

There are still a few cyberlockers blocking all US IP addresses, hoping that will be enough to keep the DoJ away.

Rapidshare is the posterchild for your screwed no matter what you do. They have been sued globally by the cartels, they have done everything required by law in countries where they have no actual presence, they have gone above and beyond giving the cartels access that should run afoul of the law… and they are still top of the list for the naughty pirate bastard companies special report list.

The only way to make the cartels happy is to go out of business, which is what they want of every new technology that could possibly have any use they don’t like. If the cartel ran banks, they would demand guns and cars be outlawed because they COULD be used to rob a bank.

Loki says:

I’ve said from the day this seizure was announced that this had nothing to do with infringement, and everything to do with the fact MegaUpload was preparing to launch a seriously competitive service to the music and movie industries.

And as more and more information has come forward, I’ve seen nothing, and I mean nothing, that suggests this is anything more than an attempt to lock out competition, and scare off other who might be inclined to honestly compete with the current major corps (and give actually content creators real choices).

Anonymous Coward says:

Given the info in this article, unless the DOJ knew the judge was bought and operating a blatant kangaroo court, there’s no way the DOJ could get away with making such a blatantly false claim. If they knew what they were doing, might not this be for PR purposes? Is the DOJ hoping CNN will pick it up and run with it? Everyone knows how lazy and sensationalist today’s journalists are, they don’t usually bother to follow up on pesky details. But judges do.

I’m guessing it was a mistake on the DOJ’s part. The simplest explanation is that this is a case of “gung-ho but green DOJ lawyer speed-reads NinjaVideo case, plucks out the bit that fits into Mega case, doesn’t bother to read the details, slaps it into a many-paged legal document as one fact among many. Clutch of DOJ lawyers all assume somebody else read the details of the NinjaVideo case. Judge reads and makes the ‘Kayla Maroney is not amused’ face at DOJ lawyers.”

I’m a part-time legal secretary and I have to tell you, sometimes reading this stuff, when there’s pages & pages of it, can make your eyes bleed and you have to force yourself to stop and try to wrap your brain around it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If the Judge made a mistake with not reading the warrant and all documents correctly before sealing them and now realises that if he had did his job and read correctly then there would have been no grounds to issue the warrant etc. then I doubt he will admit that he made a mistake and will carry on with the case as though nothing had happened. If there were no grounds to issue the warrant etc. then Megaupload would probably have not been seized and shutdown. If Megaupload can show/prove that the warrant and documents that were sealed do not hold water then I doubt the case will be dropped because it will then reflect back on the Judge who read and then issued the warrant etc. and I doubt that he would want to be shown in that matter so the case will not be dropped. The request to dismiss the case will be rejected and the same reasons for rejection will be given as last time.

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