US Court Secretly Lets Government Share Megaupload Evidence With Copyright Industry

from the government-copyright-industrial-complex dept

In the latest in a long list of travesties carried out by the US government in the Megaupload case, apparently it went to the US court handling the case, and without letting Megaupload know, got an ex parte order allowing the government to share evidence from the case with various copyright holders and then to issue press releases about the case. As Megaupload’s lawyers point out, the whole thing is a clear due process violation.

The defendants have been indicted, their assets have been frozen, their business has been destroyed, and their liberty has been restrained. Given these constraints, it is unclear what evils the Government fears defendants will inflict if provided notice of the Government’s submission, beyond having Defendants’ counsel come into court to make opposing arguments.

Basically, Megaupload’s lawyers are asking to be a part of this process, since it appears that the government wanted (and the court allowed) to cut them out. As Megaupload’s lawyers note, allowing the government to sort through and cherry-pick evidence to share, without any context or potential additional exonerating information, is a clear due process violation.

“The Government’s request also substantially prejudices the defendants in the case. Permitting the Government to widely disseminate a one-sided, cherry-picked set of facts threatens to improperly infect the jury pool before defendants are afforded any opportunity to present their side of the story.”

Apparently part of the issue for the original filing to reveal this information was that some copyright holders are getting antsy that as the case drags on, they won’t also be able to file civil cases against Megaupload before the three-year statute of limitations expires. However, as Megaupload’s lawyers point out, there is no urgency here since the government itself made no move to share this information over the past two years. If it really wanted to share the information it had ample time to make the request and allow Megaupload’s lawyers to review and take part in the process, rather than trying to route around them entirely.

I’m guessing the recent successes against IsoHunt and Hotfile may have contributed to the timing as well. The MPAA pretty clearly thinks it can use those two cases to go after Megaupload as well, outside of the criminal case which will continue.

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Comments on “US Court Secretly Lets Government Share Megaupload Evidence With Copyright Industry”

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out_of_the_blue says:

Well, Megaupload acted "ex parte" in using MPAA content!

As you might guess, I’m not too upset about this. There’s a clear and compelling reason: to not tip criminals and give them advantage about oncoming civil liability.

And really all “copyright supporter” Mike has got to say is, as usual, that those who got tens of millions of dollars by illegally infringing (and or grifting if you want to quibble) on the content that others produced aren’t getting every last jot and tittle of due process — which they’re desperately trying to avoid! Well, boohoo!

Where Mike’s “new business model” (file hosts like Megaupload) is to grift on income streams that should go to content creators — and then call the creators greedy!

Mega-grifter Kim Dotcom got millions by hosting infringed content. That’s not even capitalism, that’s THEFT.


JMT says:

Re: Well, Megaupload acted "ex parte" in using MPAA content!

“…to grift on income streams that should go to content creators…”

You know as well any anyone here that most, sometimes all of the money doesn’t go to content creators, only the copyright holders.

“Mega-grifter Kim Dotcom got millions by hosting infringed content. That’s not even capitalism, that’s THEFT.”

Still repeating this hogwash like a Hollywood remake? So many people liked MegaUplaod they gave Dotcom’s company millions of dollars in return for providing a service they wanted. That’s the textbook definition of capitalism, whereas calling it theft requires brain-anurism levels of stupid.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Well, Megaupload acted "ex parte" in using MPAA content!

Universal, Sony Pictures, Sony, Emi, Thorn, Microsoft, Apple, Google, (and whoever OOTB shills for) all made money through theft.
ALL the above companies stole inventions and creations from actual artists, hired ACTIVE CIA agents to commit industrial espionage and in many cases murder ex-employees who were going to work for rivals…..

out_of_the_blue says:

By the way, I'm NOT prejudiced! I've SEEN what Megaupload hosted!

PETABYTES of obviously infringed content, that a mere glance at any five seconds of would have answered the question with resounding: YES, THIS IS INFRINGING. And yes, I’m going to believe the evidence of my own eyes over you pirates who try legalistic evasions.

I’m not on the jury so doesn’t matter.

Remember pirates: Google can rat you out to RIAA and MPAA!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: By the way, I'm NOT prejudiced! I've SEEN what Megaupload hosted!

You are a retarded idiot OOTB. Whether Megaupload is guilty or not is immaterial to due process. If Megaupload is found to be infringing, then it needs to be ‘in context’, upholding ‘due process’, and with a ‘fair trial’.

If it is okay with you (just because you think someone is guilty) to allow the government to break judiciary tradition, rules, due process, and justice then we need to slap your fucking ass into an electric chair the next time you jay-walk! After all, you ARE GUILTY and thus DESERVE NO DUE PROCESS!

MrWilson says:

Re: By the way, I'm NOT prejudiced! I've SEEN what Megaupload hosted!

And OOTB’s completely lack of understanding about due process rears its ugly head once again…

You do realize that no matter how “obvious” it is that a person committed an offence, they still are entitled to a fair trial under United States laws, right? You could stand in front of a million television cameras and shoot someone in the head while stating your full name and passing out info sheets with your fingerprints, ballistic records on the gun, a history of your gun and ammunition purchases, and a confession stating that you fully intended to shoot someone in front of a bunch of cameras so as to leave no possible doubt that you were the person who committed the act…and the government would still be required to provide you with due process and presume innocence until your guilt was proven in a court of law (with all the evidence you provided during the act).

I know this whole “but it’s obvious” thing trips you up, but what’s obvious to you (such as the “truths” you think you’re telling about Mike or all the supposed pirates who comment here) is not obvious to other people and its quite obvious to others that you’re wrong. Hence the need for a fair trial with the full application of due process.

JMT says:

Re: By the way, I'm NOT prejudiced! I've SEEN what Megaupload hosted!

“PETABYTES of obviously infringed content…”

Wow, not even the DoJ is dumb enough to make that claim. Dies it make you proud to be thought of as nuttier than the DoJ?

“And yes, I’m going to believe the evidence of my own eyes…”

So you admit to being a grifting MU user? How much content did you grift to come to this conclusion? Must’ve been quite a bit to be so sure of yourself. What a filthy grifter you are!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: By the way, I'm NOT prejudiced! I've SEEN what Megaupload hosted!

The only thing that the DOJ knows for definate that the only infringing files that did not get removed when it was pointed out to Megaupload that it was infringing was the 30 something infringing files that are actually mentioned in the indictment were those uploaded by Ninja that was currently being investigated and so were not removed due to preserving evidence regarding that case.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re: By the way, I'm NOT prejudiced! I've SEEN what Megaupload hosted!

So you admit to being a grifting MU user?

No, read again. In fact he(?) seems to be claiming to be either DoJ or part of the copyright industry to which the “evidence” was disseminated as he(?)’s claiming to have personally seen “petabytes of data” and must therefore have had direct access to the captured servers…
Of course the other possibility is that it’s total bollocks as usual…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: By the way, I'm NOT prejudiced! I've SEEN what Megaupload hosted!

Have anybody wandered how the Hulk would look like if he was a Teletubbies?

Deviantart: Teletubbies avenger : Dipsy, The Hulk [Clay]

Don’t know why blue, but every time I see you post my mind drifts to others things like Teletubbies Hulk.

See that dirty pirate there stole the Teletubbies dude, fast go and denounce him to the police.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: By the way, I'm NOT prejudiced! I've SEEN what Megaupload hosted!

So, um, you went through said petabytes of data yourselves to actually back-up what you’re claiming?

Also, not all of these files were publicly accessible, some of those were backups from people’s pc, and most likely contained legally purchased music, movies and etc..

That means they could all be easily claimed by anyone who would have consulted said petabytes of data(or not), to be all in fact illegal, because it must be so, given some people say its an evil website.. Like you just did…


Re: Re: It's not just a good idea, it's the law.

since when has the government ever been just?

This is why we have the rule of Law and even Kings an Parliments are not exempt. Law and Order isn’t just about the rules that you like, it’s about ALL of the rules. Some of those are rules of civil and criminal procedure.

You like to pretend that only Media Moguls have rights, but that is not at all the case.

trodeon says:

totally insane again

This smells of the government having no case so it just decides to give as much information to its friends at disney and let them go after them to bleed them of money as Mega is doing a great job at defending itself from the ugly government of a foreign country.
The point of this excersize it seems is to actually bankrupt them not to see if they actually did anything wrong.
And at the same time stop others from following in Megas footsteps. As that would be great for freedom and the American Government doesnt want freedom.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: He's unconvictable at this point

Illegal spying for foreign industry interests? Not a problem, just retroactively legalize it after the fact, that’ll solve it! /s

(Seriously though, that is exactly what they tried doing, though I can’t recall offhand whether or not they managed it)

Yeah, thing is though, if it’s just a civil matter, then that means no extradition, which leaves him just a titch outside of US jurisdiction for that sort of thing, they need to get him to the US to actually do anything other than what they’ve already done, but with the absolute circus the *AA’s and their lapdogs in the DoJ turned the whole case into, unless they can find a completely bought and paid for judge in NZ, the odds of that happening at this point are essentially nill.

Christenson says:

What is Kim Dotcom's recourse?

That is, this is just like “Exhibit C” in the XART copyright trolling cases with Paul Nicolleti, where a bunch of embarrassing unrelated titles are filed with the suit, except that I don’t think the judge can be sanctioned here.

I would like to see a recall campaign on this judge, though…though I am not sure whether for bias or for stupidity in showing such extraordinarily obvious bias.

Or did the judge just intentionally hand Kim Dotcom a lever?

Anonymous Coward says:

So now the US has decided that it is a matter of urgency to share the evidence with copyright holders after 2 years of proceedings against the company despite and though during these 2 years that they (US) have been appealing and appealing decisions in NZ and therefore delaying the extradition and the case due to their own actions in appealing the NZ court decisions.

The US say it is now a matter of urgency after 2 years and yet they are the ones who have delayed for as long as possible with this case during these 2 years. *facepalm moment*

Anonymous Coward says:

the DoJ know full well that it has royally fucked up in the Mega case and when it goes to court, if it goes to court, they are going to lose and be severely reprimanded. maybe, even someone will receive a more harsh sentence, which they should, because of what was done, how it was done and the lies they told to get NZ to aid them.
this is yet another act that has been done simply to try to ensure that Dotcom and others are prosecuted and bankrupted in the name of the USA entertainment industries. doing things in this way has created severe bias. i am surprised the court, seeing as how it is supposed to uphold the law, not be bias itself, has allowed this. add in that yet again, the DoJ has done something they should not have done with HDDs that belong to Mega and that Mega has been prevented from seeing the evidence to be used against it.
as usual, this is extremely bias and has been done to accommodate Hollywood etc, because of the ties between it and the USG, via various senators. the entertainment industries were offered deals, wanted deals, then when the chips were down and they had gotten information they wanted to be able to sue, they chose that road. i hope there are some serious repercussions against both the DoJ and the industries, because i am willing to bet there is going to be some real nasty information released when the time is right, and it wont be in favour of the industries or government!

The Real Michael says:

If the government will not respect the law, why should anyone else? When the law is inherently unjust and corrupt, you have a duty not to obey, for obedience is compliance — an act of submission.

Since due process has been perverted by the government, their bias has destroyed their own credibility and therefore this case is a mockery of justice, a kangaroo court.

Michael Donnelly (profile) says:

You guys do realize that this case isn't about winning, right?

The government and the **AA don’t care at all about winning the case. They care about getting the case started so they can:

– Shut down the website
– Send armed men and helicopters to visit Kim
– Try to get him extradited
– Destroy the whole goddamn business

They’ve already won. What happens now is of so little consequence that the only discussion around it should be to connect the dots.

A lawsuit is like forcing someone to play a game of American football. They don’t care about the score at the end. They care about beating the shit out of you for several hours.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You guys do realize that this case isn't about winning, right?

? American football.?

It wouldn’t be American football without the thickest rulebook?the most complicated set of rules in pro sports.

For any professional sport. ? Ever. ? In all history.

And underpaid refs to interpret those most complicated rules in the history of pro sports.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: You guys do realize that this case isn't about winning, right?

You know refs have most dangerous job

If we were talking about that other All-American sport, then we could bring up the traditional battlecry:


Never mind an ordinary bench-clearing brawl, there’s some wicked damage that can be done with a baseball bat.

Christenson says:

Re: You guys do realize that this case isn't about winning, right?

For the Copyright Maximalists, the won endgame is Kim Dotcom broke and out of business, and the conviction doesn’t matter. But, there’s a lot of fire being played with here…between the streisand effect, to bringing real reform, to some serious civil penalties. This fire burns slowly, but it burns completely.

It’s gonna be hard to buy ALL the courts…the Supreme court has too much to lose.

kenichi tanaka (profile) says:

Oh! The Appeals Courts are going to have fun with this one. Not only has the government violated due process, talked to a judge ex parte (which is a violation of court procedure) but I wouldn’t be surprised if the judge who allowed this to happen gets dismissed from the bench for corrupting justice.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the government is forced to drop their case against Megaupload as well as criticize the MPAA for their duplicity in this case as well.

I’m shocked that evidence that was being considered to be used in a criminal case was even allowed to be divulged to the MPAA lawyers. I suspect that the MPAA attorneys are going to be called in front of the ethics review board for that one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

due process rights

? Notice.

? Opportunity for a fair hearing

? Impartial tribunal

?Parties whose rights are to be affected are entitled to be heard.? The notice of hearing and the opportunity to be heard ?must be granted at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.?

“The neutrality requirement helps to guarantee that life, liberty, or property will not be taken on the basis of an erroneous or distorted conception of the facts or the law? At the same time, it preserves both the appearance and reality of fairness . . . by ensuring that no person will be deprived of his interests in the absence of a proceeding in which he may present his case with assurance that the arbiter is not predisposed to find against him.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“My money is on the judge,”

Well i hope you have a bundle on the Judge in NZ who so far have ruled a few illegalites with regards to the raid, search and seizure of Dotcoms property and also ruled that the spying against Dotcom was illegal. That Judge should be awarded a bonus for doing their job that they are doing.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Since when did due process mean NOT telling the defendant in a trial that evidence is being handled, that the court is giving a massive advantage to one side of the proceedings and not only that, but is deliberately not handing over exculpatory evidence?
Yeah, we have pondered the possibility. The possibility is ZERO. Mathematically zero.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Sorry, ‘refuses to budge without being extradited’?

When you strongly believe that any ‘trial’ you would receive in another country would be nothing more than a sham, and you’d be railroaded into an already determined verdict, ‘refusing to budge’ is the sane choice, not some implication of guilt.

And that’s not even bringing in the whole ‘jurisdiction’ bit, where they’re trying to get him for breaking US copyright laws, when he and his company are based in another country entirely, and it was only with a massive stretch of legality that they were able to trick a judge into thinking MU fell under the laws they were trying to nail him with.

If the DoJ actually had a case that would stand up in court against Dotcom, one serious enough to justify extradition, they could have easily provided the evidence required to the NZ courts and gotten him extradited. The fact that they’ve failed to do so from the very beginning, and in fact broke numerous laws in their attempts to convict him(not try mind you, the intent was never to give him his day in a fair court) shows just how utterly weak their ‘case’ really is.

Sheogorath (profile) says:

Guess which cloud storage service is next?

You heard it here first, guys. DropBox is gonna get the drop! Think about it, a cloud storage service that allows its users to store any type of file and to share them. The fact that they charge people to use Pack-Rat only confirms the service is ‘an illegal tool that enables widespread copyright infringement’ because the fact that Megaupload charged its users was enough to get it shut down for commercial infringement. Check out the facts on Wikipedia for confirmation of my claims.

kenichi tanaka (profile) says:

I hate to point out the obvious but that any lawsuit the MPAA wringles out of the Megaupload evidence is surely going to get tossed out of court because any co9mpetent judge will realize that the government, working in collusion with a corrupted judge and the MPAA violated the due process rights of Megaupload and obtained evidence in violation of the “Rules of Evidence”.

There’s no way that the MPAA gets to use the evidence collected from those servers/hard drives in any type of trial. Getting the government to confiscate those servers/hard drives and then getting the government to hand over that evidence so that it could file lawsuits.

The MPAA may have harmed its position because any competent lawyer would ask the MPAA where the search warrant is for obtaining that information. Also, the same lawyer would be asking the MPAA if they happened to notify the court and what attorney of record represented Megaupload when they asked for said warrant.

When it comes out (in court) that MPAA obtained the data from the Megaupload servers through an ex-parte process with the government and a judge with NO opposing attorney representing the defendants, THEN ALL HELL IS GOING TO BREAK LOOSE.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Unfortunately, what you point out as obvious is not. This is not because you are speaking off the wall, but because it is important to draw a distinction between criminal and civil proceedings, and that in the context of criminal proceeding a wealth of law does authorize seizures based upon ex parte motions. There are many reasons why this is so, but certainly one is to prevent the spoliation of evidence that may be used in a criminal prosecution.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Not a lawyer here by any stretch of the imagination, but while the purpose of sharing this information may be for the studios to launch future civil suits against MU, the evidence being shared is evidence obtained for an (eventual) criminal trial (if Dotcom ever gets extradited that is).
Can anyone tell me if anything like this has happened before? The US government charges Party A with a crime, but before the trial even starts, they (and the courts) deliberately share evidence with third parties who are (ostensibly) not a part of the proceedings at all. I thought any evidence gathered is supposed to be used only in the criminal trial and not to be handed out to any Tom, Dick and Harry who comes calling.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Talking about spoilation of evidence. Did the government complain in anyway when the Megaupload data on servers that were held by Leasweb were wiped and therefore data on those servers that could prove guilt were destroyed because of that wiping? It was only Megaupload that complained of spoilation because of that not the government.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Indeed they did. It would seem that they were happy to have the evidence deleted. If the evidence actually showed guilt the government would have caused a rumpus over the deletion but the fact they were not the ones who complained shows that they were happy for the evidence to be deleted.

Now all of a sudden they want to the share the evidence that was hosted on the US servers with the copyright holders in sheer desperation (for fear of spoilation and no no doubt it is evidence that they of course have selected) for which evidence they have refused and denied Megaupload access to any of that evidence.

Anonymous Coward says:

There’s another issue we’re not hearing about. The DOJ has one year, just like in the ICE seizures of dajaz and Roja to either make criminal charges or return the seized material back to the owner. They don’t just get to keep it all without charges and setting up a court case. If they do that, they are then liable for killing the business Megaupload. They confiscated a lot of money in this seizure and have activity sought to keep it out of Dotcom’s hands so he would not be able to hire a good defense team. That too will have to be returned.

Funny I’m not hearing anything about this in all the government’s actions.

Rather what I am hearing is about the same sort of spiel that is being dealt out about how the NSA is operating all legal and how fair it is with all this spying stuff. No official comes out with something that isn’t shown to be lying and misdirection within the week. So what we come down to is creditability.

Right now the US government doesn’t have any. All this just makes them look worse in an area where they have already lost all believability. This again looks to be an action of simple spite.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Lets make comparisions...

Someone uses a gun and kills someone, where was the lawsuit from the government to hold them responsible?

Someone uses a car and kills someone, where was the lawsuit against the car maker?

Other than adding “on the internet” these cases aren’t different.

MegaUpload was a tool.
If the law was broken, it was done by the users not the tool.
Despite not having to, MegaUpload followed US law and went way beyond any actual legal requirement to appease the cartels. Even given the access/control they demanded, it was seen as not enough by the cartels.

Just about anything can be used to violate a law, and we need to stop making exceptions for those willing to spend money to get the Government to do their bidding.

Just Sayin' says:

Re: Lets make comparisions...

You arguments don’t make sense.

Someone uses a gun and kills someone, where was the lawsuit from the government to hold them responsible?

Someone uses a car and kills someone, where was the lawsuit against the car maker?

These comparisons would be true for, say, the maker of the networking equipment or perhaps the hard drive maker. They made an entirely neutral product with no intent to commit an illegal act. They may unintentionally profit from the sale of hard drives to Kim, but they lack basic intent.

Mega’s intent was to profit from large, desirable file transfers by selling speedy access to them. Since few people are going to pay to see Uncle George’s vacation pics, it’s clear what they were trading in. Read the whole case, there is plenty there to show intent.

Intent is key, you need to understand it.

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