back to article Canadian court refuses to let Feds snoop on Megaupload servers

A Canadian appeals court has told the FBI it's not allowed to review servers from file-sharing service Megaupload held north of the border. "In my view, it is offensive to the appearance of fairness, and specifically the appearance of judicial impartiality, to have an entity closely associated with one of the adversaries …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    If the lawyers are on a no win,no fee agreement, he's probably got all the $175 million otherwise he's got zero and the lawyers, after cleaning him out, are doing it pro bono.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      The various governments have frozen his funds in an effort to get him out of court and onto a plane, but the courts keep making them give him some money back so he can fund his defense.

      Having the former Mrs. Megaupload take half probably didn't help.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Not sure if that model is common outside the US.

  2. The Nazz

    Am i too simple to understand .....

    If, as alleged,the $175m is the profit from criminal activities and most likely the bulk of that will end up in the hands of the lawyers,

    are the lawyers thus not living on the proceeds of crime?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Am i too simple to understand .....

      Couldn't the same be said of ANY lawyer that practices criminal law - on both the prosecution and defense side of the isle - and any judge hearing the case?

      Posted anonymously because I service the legal vertical market

      1. P. Lee

        Re: Am i too simple to understand .....

        Surely a good case for having your own legal team

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Am i too simple to understand .....

      are the lawyers thus not living on the proceeds of crime?

      Depends who you speak to, some consider that a default :).

  3. Schultz


    "1,000 servers based in the US were seized [...] 32 based in Canada may be crucial to proving the case against Megaupload."

    That sounds like a gigantic fishing operation. Maybe some people at the FBI will be happy about this outcome: it's not that they have a weak case, it's just that all the crucial evidence is hidden on those darn Canadian servers ...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's he done wrong that others haven't

    The bit I don't understand is what he's done wrong that many other companies haven't. He basically provided a storage service for files. Yes, this was used by various people infringing copyright and he (despite his denials) knew full well this was the case. However, ISPs sell services to people in the full knowledge that some at least are infringing copyright. Indeed, if the ISPs looked at your browsing history, some of the culprits would be easily identifiable. Youtube also hosts lots of material that breaches copyright as well.

    So, what's he done that other companies haven't, are still doing and are making good money out of? I don't deny that he may have provided a platform for illegal activities and even turned a blind eye to it, but plenty of others are as well and none are being persued with the same vengence as he is. I'm no fan of dotcom, as he appears to be a total w**ker. However, if being that is reason to arrest someone, prisons are going to be full.

    If the law is to stand for anything, it has to apply, to everyone equally. If someone is persued for a particular infringement, you can't ignore the same infringement for others.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: What's he done wrong that others haven't

      The main difference is that his platform was primarily for facilitating copyright infringement, whereas all the others were incidental. The allegations are that the site owners knew this and yet encouraged people to host and download unlawfully, and indeed downloaded stuff themselves. They had technology to find infringing content but didn't use it.

      The allegations are also that their business model was oriented around serving ads on downloads; complaints that could quite happily be made against YouTube too.

      Wikipedia has a link to the official documentation.

      1. Mad Mike

        Re: What's he done wrong that others haven't

        @Adam 52.

        "The main difference is that his platform was primarily for facilitating copyright infringement, whereas all the others were incidental."

        How can you say that? The platform was primarily to make dotcom lots of money. Same can be said of ISPs and Youtube or any of the others out there. I'm sure dotcom didn't mind what the content was or where it came from (legitimate or not), as long as he could sell advertising space and make money. Not an unusual business model for many websites. I could just as easily claim that ISPs are providing a platform (their internet connection) primarily for facilitating copyright violation and porn in general, especially as studies have shown this is the majority use of the internet. So, again why is he different?

        "The allegations are that the site owners knew this and yet encouraged people to host and download unlawfully, and indeed downloaded stuff themselves."

        And Youtube isn't? They know full well their site is used for copyright infringing material. How did dotcom encourage people to host and download copyright infringing material any more than any other material? He wanted material on his site, didn't really care where it came from. Again, same as Youtube.

        "They had technology to find infringing content but didn't use it."

        Given that copyright infringement is a civil offence, he isn't obliged to do so. All the other file sharing sites are being used for infringing content as well and plenty aren't doing much about it. Strangely, even if you're aware a crime is being committed, you're not obliged to stop it. Especially, as the copyright owner simply needs to sue the infringing for losses. Unfortunately, Hollywood and the music businesses don't want to do this as it takes time and money and also because shoping loss is very hard for them. They claim all sorts, but actual proof is somewhat harder to find. So, they choose to bribe a national police force (FBI) into doing their dirty work for them.

        I really don't see how dotcoms business model was any different to that used by Youtube or many other hosting sites of one form to another. They all want content, don't care too much what it is and simply want to make money out of it or advertising.

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: What's he done wrong that others haven't

      In short - not big enough and not American.

      Take a look at the complaints about YouTube screwing over artists / producers since its inception and wonder if it did not have Google's might behind it and all that lovely campaign money to US politicians why it survived.

      Edited to add: As Adam also raised the point - Google too has the ability to restrict copyright material but only if you sign up for a pittance from their services.

  5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    FBI's overreach

    Nice to see the court's standing up to US bullying for once: the FBI's remit is the US and this kind of extraterritoriality is not good for anyone.

    Whether or not Kim has been involved in illegal activities is not relevant. It's whether or not he broke Federal law in the US. For everything outside the US the FBI can only ask other countries to assist in its investigations.

  6. Alan Brown Silver badge

    What he's done wrong:

    On the US side:

    1: Isn't American.

    2: Didn't grease the right palms

    3: Setup his own music label and started poaching successful artists.

    on the NZ side:

    1: Is "foreign"

    2: has a criminal record.

    3: Is rich, flamboyant and annoying (a serious faux pas in NZ).

    4: Believed that NZ was a safe haven, where he could pay politicians to keep out of trouble instead of a banana republic where his money would be accepted but he'd happily be thrown under a bus anyway.

    The NZ government was seduced by the thought of seizing all his assets and cash(*)(**) thereby preventing him from mounting a competent legal defence and railroading him out of the country.

    (*) Why put up with only getting eggs when you can have the golden goose instead?

    (**)Seizure is the standard tactic in NZ - it forces people to rely on court-appointed defence lawyers who generally aren't much good and are under a lot of pressure not to mount a decent defence (it can be "career-limiting" to do so in NZ high profile cases with many such lawyers ending up working outside the country as they can no longer get employment in NZ). Dotcom is one of very few people who've been able to get assets released to cover his defence costs.

    There have been a bunch of major miscarriages of justice in New Zealand over the years - to the point where they dumped the Privy Council as the highest court because it kept bringing down decisions excoriating NZ courts and policing. Things aren't helped by juries having the mentality "He's been charged therefore he's got to be guilty" and convicting people despite outrageously flimsy evidence(***) (Look up "noble cause corruption" - NZ policing has more than its fair share of Gene Hunts)

    (***) In one murder case against someone who was a customer of mine the prosecution case hinged on an accusation that the guy drove a 180 mile round trip in peak traffic and killed his wife and kid all in less than 2 hours. When the police attempted to replicate the drive to prove their case they triggered more than a dozen 111 (999/911) calls from concerned motorists and still only managed to do it in 3 hours - this was presented as evidence in court and should have resulted in the collapse of the case. He was still found guilty and the Privy Council ripped the courts a new one when it got to them.

  7. Christoph

    If the case goes on much longer, he should maybe change his name again - from Dotcom to SCO

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Makes sense to me

    Sounds like their service was being used by criminals and they should be held responsible just as other companies are. Use the mail service, phone, banks, financial systems or roadways for crime and those companies face similar action. It isn't just the crime that is illegal but anything to do with it.

    Unless you are the government, then your crimes are OK.

  9. Alistair

    Haven't had the opportunity to read the decision

    (as it hasn't made it to the 'freely viewable' site)

    I've been watching this cesspool of hypocrisy ooze it's way through the various court systems. If this was from the judge I believe it was from it will be a reasonably thought out decision. One of the few things I've seen here of late is that even the most brutally 'toe the line' judges in this province started to get kinda peeved with the enforcement arm after Fantino decided that Ontario was going to go 'back to the 50's'. I just hope that the 'review committee' selected includes someone with a brain cell or 6.

  10. JJKing

    Doesn't apply to all.....wonder why? CASH is KING!

    3: Is rich, flamboyant and annoying (a serious faux pas in NZ).

    Funny that it doesn't seem to apply to the cocksucker Peter Thiel.

  11. kend1

    No sweat

    As long as he refuses to unlock his phone, he will be stopped from entering our fair land.

  12. JaitcH
    Thumb Up

    Good for Canada and The Court of Appeal for Ontario!

    The Court of Appeal for Ontario is located in historic Osgoode Hall in downtown Toronto and has, historically, awarded several pleasantly surprising judgements.

    In 1996, the case of Guelph activist Gwen Jacob led the COURT OF APPEAL FOR ONTARIO to rule that going topless is not, in and of itself, an indecent act. 1996 yet!

    The next Court which would have jurisdiction is the Supreme Court of Canada - and good luck with that one. FBI, they are NOT a bunch of government sheep like the US Supreme Court

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon