The 'Case' Against Kim Dotcom

It is quite amazing really – because New Zealand's spooks illegally snooped on Kim Dotcom on orders of the US, which ultimately meant he couldn't be extradited, New Zealand now wants to put its own little Stasi in place. The announcement is downright Orwellian:


“New Zealand unveiled plans Monday to allow its foreign intelligence agency to spy on local residents, to fill a loophole exposed when Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom was illegally snooped upon.

Prime Minister John Key said the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) needed additional powers because the challenges facing intelligence agencies had changed enormously in the past decade.

“In large part, this is due to the rapid evolution of technology in areas like cyber-security and the threat of cyber-attacks,” he said. “It’s vital that legislation in this area is fit for purpose and keeps pace with changes in the operating environment, while also safeguarding the rights of law-abiding New Zealanders.”

Existing legislation says the GCSB is supposed to focus on foreign intelligence and cyber-security, explicitly forbidding it from spying on New Zealand citizens or residents.  But it was revealed last year that it spied on Dotcom, a German national with New Zealand residency, before armed police raided his Auckland mansion in January 2012 and arrested him for online piracy.

Key issued a public apology to Dotcom and a subsequent inquiry released last month found another 88 New Zealand citizens or residents may have been illegally spied on. Details of the cases were not released. Under reforms to be introduced to parliament this week, the GCSB will be able to spy on New Zealanders provided it receives permission from Key, who holds ministerial responsibility for the agency.

Dotcom has received clearance from the New Zealand courts to attempt to sue the GCSB and police, alleging wrongful arrest.


(emphasis added)

Never mind that Dotcom's company Mega-upload never represented a 'cyber-threat', not even by the wildest stretches of the imagination. This trend toward establishing Nazi or Stasi-type total surveillance states is now prevalent all over the so-called 'free' world. Only recently it was (once again) admitted that the US National Security Agency in fact records all digital communication of all US citizens. Note also that it will no longer merely be a law that will decide when exactly domestic spying will be regarded as legal in NZ – it will be a man, the same man who just had to admit that he presided over illegal activities in 89 cases.

Meanwhile, Dotcom's lawyers argue that what their client is accused of involves crimes that do not even exist under US law:


“The United States has charged Kim Dotcom with criminal liability for the acts of his Megaupload cloud storage users, a form of secondary copyright infringement,” according to a statement from Dotcom’s attorneys. “But no criminal statute for secondary copyright infringement exists.”


As a matter of fact, Dotcom's company merely provided a cloud storage service, that allegedly was used for sharing copyrighted material. However, if this occurred, then it was done by the company's clients, not by Dotcom himself. The fact that he is being indicted raises interesting questions: shouldn't the entire management board of Google then also be indicted for the mass of copyrighted material that is finding its way onto You-Tube?

If you walk down the street and whistle the melody of a popular song, are you committing a crime? Shouldn't you be forced to pay royalties?  In reality, ideas are non-scarce goods. Using the power of the State to impose artificial scarcity on ideas is a fundamentally misguided approach.

Dotcom's lawyers are providing us with another interesting tidbit:


“The U.S. government’s attack on Megaupload and Dotcom is largely influenced by the Motion Picture Association of America, which is headed by former Senator Chris Dodd and is a major campaign contributor to the Democrats, Amsterdam and Rothken wrote in their report.”


Color us unsurprised.  Note in this context that there have already been numerous attempts to use copyright law to introduce laws that would hand  wide-ranging control over what may and what may not be published on the internet to governments (so far all of these attempts have failed, but they will keep trying). Just as New Zealand is now using the Dotcom case to introduce domestic spying.

And yet, in a way it all feels like like a rearguard battle – the State as we know it at the same time seems to be crumbling before our very eyes. Its debts have become unpayable, its central banks are actively destroying its coercive fiat money and its promotions are widely mistrusted. Meanwhile, all over the regulatory democracies of the West, an ever greater proportion of economic activity appears to be taking place in the 'shadows', as more and more people are simply dropping out. In countries where the authorities are trying to suppress the shadow economy, such as e.g. in Italy, huge economic contractions are recorded, which is probably no coincidence.

For a complete time line of the Dotcom case, see here.




Mega-upload founder Kim Dotcom: indicted for non-existent crimes?

(Photo via Reuters)




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3 Responses to “Accused of Crimes that Don’t Even Exist?”

  • strider:

    That last paragraph (and much of what I see out in the world right now) reminds me of the end of the Roman Empire. The State continues to serve the wishes of the elites and not the people. And they keep the people distracted w/ bread and circuses to keep voting for them. Whee.

  • worldend666:

    Much as I enjoy Piratebay as much as the next guy, it seems obvious to me that the creator of a work has a right to preserve his intellectual property in the same way a builder of a house is allowed to own title to the land. Kim dot Com knew what he was doing. Property rights are central to a functioning capitalist society.

    Google SERPS were riddled with Megaupload results for copyrighted material, just as youtube is now. Google also knows what they are doing. If they really want to prevent copyright infringement they only need to prevent a user from searching for copyrighted names of music and artists, or at the very least they could pass such titles for human review before publication. In a fair world the MD of youtube would be quaking in his boots.

    However wrong it is that people be allowed to get away with facilitating property theft, the current criminalization of this activity is also wrong. Matters such as these should be settled in the civil court. Whilst Kim Dot Com doesn’t deserve to go to jail, he also doesn’t deserve to be rich.

  • Orwell has arrived and taken front stage.

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