Not that I DON'T think this is the DoJ going overboard on this poor guy, and I'm certain that his plea agreement was nothing more than an attempt to just get all of this over with, but the criminal charges don't seem too far fetched to me. The criteria listed in § 506 are:
1) the person has committed copyright infringement; 2) for the purposes of commercial gain; 3) through electronic means and the works have a value of more than $1000; and 4) the work was "prepared for commercial distribution"
Mega was a business and he was getting paid, so 2) isn't going to be too tough. 3) and 4) are also not going to too difficult: there were probably plenty of Blockbuster Hollywood movies in the mix there, and no matter how much you want to argue about how to "value" the cost of movie piracy, $1000 is not a high bar to reach.
So we're pretty much left with the first question, which is: did he commit copyright infringement in the first place? After the isoHunt and Grokster cases, it seems pretty clear that courts are happy to nail you for contributory infringement if you're running a supposedly content agnostic service but the evidence shows that you were aware of specific copyright infringing content being traded. Maybe if this had gone to trial they wouldn't have been able to prove that part. But since he admitted as part of his plea that he had downloaded copyright infringing content himself from MegaUpload, that part is pretty much taken care of.
I'm not saying they had an airtight case against the guy, but the criminal copyright charges aren't THAT far out there.
Agreed. I pay $10/month for Google Play All Access, and before that I used Sony's Music Unlimited service. I listen to a ton of music, at home, in the car, at work when I can get away with it. Having access to that huge library of music, including brand new releases, is of tremendous value to me. I love having a friend text me to say "Oh, did you hear so-and-so released a new album" and 30 seconds and 10 clicks later, be listening to it, is of huge value to me. I've often remarked I'd pay double (or even more) what I currently pay for a good streaming service. I get far more value out of the music streaming services than I do out of my Netflix subscription.
That might not be true for everyone, or even most, but I find $20/month to be perfectly reasonable.
This article reminds me again of what a difference statutory damages can make. In Canada, statutory damages actually serve to discourage copyright litigation: in many (but of course, not all) cases, they're set so low that the money a litigant might be able to get out of a lawsuit is less than what their lawyer's bill would be. This really discourages suing unless you can prove substantial actual damages.
(And yes, this is true even though we have a costs system, where the losing side has to pay part of the winning sides legal fees. Even when you win, you never get 100% of those fees covered).
I'd also never heard of his nickname or "reputation" before this story, and I've never seen anyone wearing one of those t-shirts. And I live in Calgary (although I'm admittedly not much of a Flames fan, so I don't pay much attention to what their players get up to).
But the judge doesn't know. The judge is not an expert on how these radar guns work. And there are limits on how much independent investigation judges are allowed to do. They are generally expected to work with what has been put on the record: the evidence introduced by the parties.
If the defendant's lawyer was going to argue that the use of these radar guns was unconstitutional, (s)he should have made sure the judge was educated on just how these guns work.
When I lived in Halifax there was a case of a guy getting arrested in a donair shop late at night. I don't remember exactly what the charge was but there it was something similar: he was drunk and disorderly.
Sadly, I can't find a copy online, but the judge dismissed the case and talked about the need for context for these kind of charges, stating "Tony's Donair Shop at 2am is not the Vatican Library". (As anyone who has ever been to Tony's at 2am can attest to).
I'm frankly not entirely certain how the city's trademark was granted in the first place, since I'm not clear on how having a sign announcing what city the person reading it is in denotes any kind of commercial application.
Is commercial application an absolutely requirement for a trademark under US law? In Canada, all a government has to do is let the trademark office know that they have "adopted" a mark and then no one else is allowed to use it. The US might not go THAT far, but still, I'd be surprised if governments aren't allowed to register trademarks even when they aren't being used for "commercial" purposes.
I'm going to nitpick, because I think this is an important detail: in discussions of criminal law, motive and intention are not the same thing. Motive refers to your reason for doing a thing, and intention refers to whether you intended to do a thing. You might have had a very noble reason for doing a thing, but you still INTENTIONALLY did it.
The mens rea requirement in criminal law only looks at intention, not motivation. So while the Espionage Act might be unique in that it removes the requirement for the state to prove intention, the fact that motive doesn't matter isn't unusual. That's almost always the way it goes in criminal matters. (Though once guilt or innocence has been proved, motivation sometimes becomes a factor in sentencing).
The news reports I've read said that the two suspects were already known to police and were under surveillance. For example, this Reuters article states:
The fugitive suspects are French-born sons of Algerian-born parents, both in their early 30s, and already under police surveillance. One was jailed for 18 months for trying to travel to Iraq a decade ago to fight as part of an Islamist cell. Police said they were "armed and dangerous".
What kind of information was a broad, untargeted "mapping" program going to reveal that targeted surveillance hasn't?
Internet Explorer is fourth, though still with a fair bit of usage (who are you people?).
To suggest a serious answer to what was not a serious question: we are people whose corporate IT departments still love Internet Explorer because all the internal web-based corporate applications were designed 10 years ago to work on IE and nobody wants to devote the resources needed to confirm whether they work on any other platform, or to update them if they don't.
I notice in their Reasons For Watching Unofficial Copies of Movies or TV Shows slide, they don't have a figure for "An official version has never been released in my region".
Now, maybe that's because, if the survey was being done in Kansas City, that's not a problem for the people being surveyed. But I'd wager if you conducted a similar survey anywhere outside of the US, that would be a popular response.
As a Canadian, I can't even count the number of times I have been frustrated in my attempts to pay money for content. It makes me feel like yelling at the TV "ALL I WANT TO DO IS PAY YOU MONEY FOR YOUR CONTENT, ISN'T THAT YOUR F**KING BUSINESS MODEL?!"