Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is eligible to be extradited to the US to face multiple charges, a New Zealand court has ruled.
Kim Dotcom, who is accused of copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering, said he will appeal.
The 39-year-old, born Kim Schmitz, founded the now-defunct file-sharing site MegaUpload where millions of people downloaded movies and songs.
US authorities say Kim Dotcom and others cost film studios and record companies more than $500 million.
Kim Dotcom, a German national who has been living in Auckland and describes himself as an “internet freedom fighter” on his Twitter page, has fought the case arguing that he was not responsible for the copyright infringement.
He told reporters outside the courtroom he would fight the ruling, adding: “I’m disappointed.”
Three other men, who co-founded the site with Kim Dotcom and face similar charges, have also been ruled as eligible for extradition.
The hearing which began in September was not to determine Kim Dotcom’s guilt, but whether he should be sent to the US to be tried.
Judge Nevin Dawson told the court in Auckland that the US has a “large body of evidence” supporting the case and that the defendants “fall well short of undermining the case”, reported news outlet Stuff.
After the ruling, Kim Dotcom tweeted: “Thank you for your support. The fight goes on. Enjoy the holidays. I’m happy to be with my kids. There are bigger things than copyright.”
A member of Kim Dotcom’s legal team, Ira Rothken, also tweeted: “The @KimDotcom team looks forward to having the US request for extradition reviewed in the High Court.”
“We believe the (district court) was wrong… Justice was not served today.”
In an interview with New Zealand Herald earlier this week, Kim Dotcom said he plans to take separate legal action in Hong Kong, where he founded MegaUpload.
He said he plans to sue the Hong Kong justice department and seek more than $2 billion in damages for taking down his site. Earlier this month a Hong Kong court allowed him to access some of his frozen assets held there.
“I now have the opportunity to fight back in Hong Kong and take legal action against those who have destroyed what I have built there and that means I can sue, indirectly the US government by suing the Hong Kong Department of Justice,” Kim Dotcom was quoted as saying.
Rapper Jay-Z has told a Los Angeles jury he was not aware there was a sample of Egyptian songwriter Baligh Hamdi’s 1957 song Khosara Khosara on his 1999 hit Big Pimpin’.
Jay-Z, real name Shawn Carter, and producer Timbaland are accused of using the melody from the song without permission.
The rapper testified for roughly 90 minutes in court on October 14.
“I didn’t think there was a sample in it,” Jay-Z said.
“Timbaland presented me with a track. I didn’t even think about there being a sample,” he continued.
Jay-Z’ss lawyers told the court Baligh Hamdi’s family had repeatedly been paid for use of the song.
Four notes from Khosara Khosara‘s 74 notes are repeated throughout Big Pimpin’, a music expert has testified.
Photo Getty Images
Asked why he did not thoroughly check out the rights to the track, Jay-Z replied: “That’s not what I do. I make music.
“I’m a rapper, I’ve got a clothing line, I run a label, a media label called Roc Nation, with a sports agency, music publishing and management. Restaurants and nightclubs … I think that about covers it.”
The rapper said he had a team of hundreds of people who dealt with his contracts and licensing.
Timbaland – real name Timothy Mosley – later told the court he had found Khosara Khosara on a CD of Arabic music labeled “license free”.
“I’m thinking it’s free music, free songs, and I sampled it,” he said.
Baligh Hamdi’s nephew, Osama Ahmed Fahmy, first filed a legal complaint in 2007, claiming the musicians had purposefully avoided asking permission because of Big Pimpin’s lyrics.
His lawyer, Peter Ross, has already told the court Jay-Z and Timbaland had infringed Baligh Hamdi’s “moral rights” – a legal concept he claimed was well-established in Egypt which would have required the musicians to get permission to use elements of Khosara Khosara in a song celebrating a promiscuous lifestyle.
Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon and Lionsgate Films have been sued by author Peter Gallagher, who claims 2012’s The Cabin in the Woods movie infringes his copyright.
Peter Gallagher, who says that the damages equal or exceed $10 million, claims that the movie was ripped straight from the pages of his book.
In the lawsuit, filed in California on April 13, Peter Gallagher claims that the horror film and his book are “virtually identical” in numerous respects.
The writer claims that he published The Little White Trip: A Night in the Pines in 2006 and registered the book with the Writers Guild of America in 2007. According to the lawsuit, Peter Gallagher published two runs of the book totaling 7,500 copies and hawked them in areas including Santa Monica, California, the Venice Beach boardwalk and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The similarities between Peter Gallagher’s book and the film are myriad, the suit claims.
“Comparing the Book to the Film, the plots, stories, characters, sequence of events, themes, dialogue, and incidents portrayed in the two works are fictional and, in many respects, the elements in the two works are virtually identical,” the complaint claims.
The suit also claims: “Like the book, <<Cabin in the Woods>> tells the story of five friends (three guys and two girls) between the ages of 17 and 22 who take a trip to a remote cabin in the woods. The cabin’s previous inhabitants were murdered by the father of the family, who returns to terrorize the group of friends.
In the end, it is revealed that the friends are being filmed and manipulated by persons behind the scenes, thus becoming inadvertent characters in a real-life horror show for the enjoyment of others.”
Peter Gallagher even says that the two main female characters in his book are named Julie and Dura, whereas in the film they’re named Jules and Dana.
Led Zeppelin faces a legal dispute over the song Stairway to Heaven, widely seen as one of the greatest rock compositions of all time.
The copyright infringement action is being taken on behalf of late guitarist Randy California, who played on the same bill as Led Zeppelin in the 1960s.
Randy California’s lawyers say that he should be given a writing credit on the 1971 track.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the eight-minute song had earned $562 million as of 2008.
The magazine says that the song was so profitable in part because Led Zeppelin did not release it as a single, leaving fans with no option but to buy the entire album, which is untitled but known as Led Zeppelin IV.
The famous Stairway to Heaven opening guitar riff loosely resembles guitar work on Spirit’s instrumental Taurus
Both Led Zeppelin and Warner Music have said they will not comment on the allegations.
Media reports say that the court case is likely to be based on allegations that the famous Stairway to Heaven opening guitar riff loosely resembles guitar work on an instrumental called Taurus.
Taurus was written by Randy California’s Los Angeles-based psychedelic band, Spirit, in 1968.
The plaintiffs include Spirit’s founding bassist Mark Andes and a trust that manages royalties for Randy California, who died in 1997 trying to save his son from drowning.
Randy California is quoted by Bloomberg Businessweek as describing Stairway to Heaven as a “rip-off” shortly before he died.
“It is fairly blatant, and note for note,” Mark Andes told Bloomberg Businessweek.
“It would just be nice if the Led Zeppelin guys gave Randy a little nod. That would be lovely.”
Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page is reputed to have begun writing Stairway to Heaven in 1970 in a remote cottage in Wales.
Earlier this month the band unveiled two previously unheard recordings ahead of the re-issue in June of its first three albums.
Jimmy Page, now 70, meanwhile has scotched rumors of a reunion concert.
For a band that broke up in 1980, following the death of the drummer John Bonham, interest in Led Zeppelin remains intense.
Nicki Minaj is being sued by electronic artist Clive Tanaka for copyright infringement over her hit song Starships.
Clive Tanaka has filed a lawsuit against the rapper, producer RedOne and songwriters Carl Falk, Wayne Hector and Rami Yacoub.
He claims they copied “substantial portions” of his song Neu Chicago for the chart-topping single, which reached number two in the UK last year.
The mysterious electronic artist, who has never revealed his real identity, had attorney Christopher Niro file legal documents on his behalf in Chicago court on Wednesday.
Nicki Minaj is being sued by electronic artist Clive Tanaka for copyright infringement over her hit song Starships
Neu Chicago has amassed 100,000 listens on YouTube and was licensed for two major television adverts in Scandinavia.
The lawsuit alleges RedOne, Carl Falk and Rami Yacoub, who have all lived in neighboring Sweden, had “a very good opportunity” to hear the song.
According to the Chicago Tribune newspaper, Christopher Niro contends: “We believe [the songs] are similar to the point that it is nearly impossible for it to be a coincidence.”
Clive Tanaka is seeking compensation for the damage done to his “professional reputation and goodwill” following the song’s release in March 2012, as well as all the profits Nicki Minaj, 30, and her collaborators have earned from Starships.
This isn’t the first time Nicki Minaj has faced legal trouble over her music.
In 2010, Nicki Minaj was sued for allegedly damaging a pink Lamborghini sports car she rented for her Massive Attack music video shoot.
Ellen Kardashian, Robert Kardashian’s widow, is being sued by Kris Jenner and the Kardashian siblings for copyright infringement.
The reality stars filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in Los Angeles last week against Ellen Kardashian.
They claim Ellen Kardashian “sold their property, such as family photos and writings, to a publishing outlet this past January”.
“Today’s filing should serve as notice that they will vigorously defend their rights when forced to do so,” the Kardashians’ lawyer Marty Singer told The Hollywood Reporter.
The items are said to detail the Kardashians’ lives before they found fame and have featured in magazines Life & Style and In Touch.
Ellen Kardashian, Robert Kardashian’s widow, is being sued by Kris Jenner and the Kardashian siblings for copyright infringement
The February 4 issue of In Touch magazine featured an article titled “The Secret Kardashian Diaries” while Life & Style magazine included a piece with the headline: “Feature on the life struggles of the Kardashians including Khloé Kardashian”.
Ellen married Robert Kardashian two months before he died of cancer in 2003 after dating for around five years.
The widow is alleged to have retained some of her husband’s possessions including his diary and family photographs and licensed portions of the diaries to Bauer Publishing, which owns the magazines.
In their lawsuit, Kris Jenner and Kardashian siblings accuse Ellen Kardashian of a “despicable and unlawful scheme to hold in secret and convert, and now exploit… private personal and copyright protected” material.
The complaint alleges that Robert Kardashian bequeathed the “bulk of his personal tangible and intangible property” to his four children, including Robert Kardashian Jr.
The Kardashians claim that the diary and family photo albums are “incontestably” their inheritance and property.
They allege that Ellen Kardashian has kept her late husband’s belongings “with the express intent to one-day capitalize and exploit the valuable property and celebrity of the famous Robert Kardashian”.
Kris Jenner and her children are now requesting their return.
When Ellen Kardashian filed for bankruptcy back in 2010, she was required to list all assets and property of value but did not list her possession or ownership of the diaries or photographs.
The new lawsuit alleges that Ellen Kardashian cannot claim “any ownership interest” because she failed to disclose the items in the bankruptcy process.
The publication of excerpts of Robert Kardashian’s diary in the magazines was, according to the lawsuit, an effort by Ellen to “peddle and exploit, and disclosed to tabloid and other media, the private and valuable personal papers of Robert Kardashian”.
It asserts that the widow was paid for an interview and provided purported rights to the photographs.
The siblings are now demanding at least $500,000 in damages.
The new filing appears to be somewhat of an about turn from the Kardashians who called into question the existence of the diaries when excerpts were first published.
The family’s representative released a statement, saying: “We have no knowledge of these diaries existing and these accusations are ridiculous and not true.”
Ellen Kardashian received volleys of insults from the sisters after she leaked the diaries she claimed were penned by the late lawyer, in which he says their mother Kris Jenner was guilty of physically abusing Kim.
In the diaries, Robert Kardashian supposedly claims Kris Jenner, 57, kicked, beat and threatened to kill Kim as their 12-year marriage collapsed.
Ellen Kardashian has previously claimed her late husband was not the biological father of Khloe.
She said during an interview: “These are authentic handwritten journals I have shared, that my late husband Robert Kardashian so carefully wrote during 1989 and 1990 at a most trying and touching time of his life. They are my personal possession and he left them to me on his passing.”
Internet users who illegally share music, movies or television shows online could soon receive warning notices from the nation’s five major Internet service providers.
The Copyright Alert System, organized by the recording and film industry, is being activated this week to target consumers using peer-to-peer software.
Under the new system, complaints will prompt an Internet service provider – such as Verizon or AT&T – to notify a customer whose Internet address has been detected sharing files illegally.
A person will be given up to six opportunities to stop before the Internet provider will take more drastic steps, such as temporarily slowing their connection, or redirecting Internet traffic until they acknowledge they received a notice or review educational materials about copyright law.
Consumers who maintain they have been wrongly accused would be forced to pay $35 to appeal the decision. The fee would be reimbursed if they prevail.
Proponents say the focus is on deterring the average consumer rather than chronic violators.
The director of the organization behind the system, Jill Lesser of the Center for Copyright Infringement, said in a blog post Monday that the program is “meant to educate rather than punish, and direct [users] to legal alternatives”.
The Copyright Alert System, organized by the recording and film industry, is being activated this week to target consumers using peer-to-peer software
Each Internet provider is expected to implement their own system.
The program gives each customer five or six “strikes” after a music or film company has detected illegal file-sharing and lodged a complaint.
The first alerts are expected to be educational, while the third and fourth would require the customer to acknowledge that they have received the warnings and understand their behavior is illegal.
The final warnings are expected to lead to “mitigation measures”, such as slowing a person’s Internet connection speeds.
Officials involved in the effort acknowledge it’s unlikely to stop the biggest violators.
There are ways to disguise an IP address or use a neighbor’s connection that is unlocked.
Public wireless connections, such as those offered at coffee shops, also won’t be monitored.
Game of Thrones has become the most-pirated TV show over the internet in 2012, according to news site Torrentfreak‘s latest annual survey.
It said one episode of the series had racked up 4,280,000 illegal global downloads – slightly more than its estimated US television audience.
The site said that overall there had been a “small increase” in the amount of illegal sharing.
That was despite a “leveling out” of the activity the previous two years.
The rise also followed increased efforts to shut down or block websites providing access to copyright infringing material.
Investigations by the US, Mexican and Ukrainian authorities led to two of the best known file-sharing services disappearing earlier this year – digital locker service Megaupload and Bit Torrent link site Demonoid.
The administrators of Newzbin2 – a site which aggregated links to illegally copied material sourced from Usenet forums – also abandoned the operation after the UK courts forced internet service providers (ISPs) to block access.
In addition, UK-based Surfthechannel went offline after its owner went on trial for “facilitating” copyright infringement – a crime which resulted in him receiving a four year prison sentence.
Several countries ISPs have also been ordered to block The Pirate Bay, although political activists at Europe’s Pirate Parties continue to offer proxy-based workarounds.
Despite all the closures, one episode of Game of Thrones racked up 4,280,000 illegal global downloads, according to Torrentfreak. That was slightly more than its estimated US television audience.
The level of piracy may be linked to the fact that the TV company behind it – HBO – does not allow Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or other US streaming services access to its programmes. It instead restricts them to its own HBO Go online product, which is only available to its cable subscribers.
Outside the US, Torrentfreak noted that Australia was responsible for a disproportionate amount of illegal copies of Game of Thrones and suggested this may have been because episodes were broadcast locally a week later than in the US.
Game of Thrones has become the most-pirated TV show over the internet in 2012
Torrentfreak‘s editor acknowledged that, despite his findings, HBO might still want to keep its current model.
“Not all of the people who pirate do it because it’s free – availability is also a big factor,” said Ernesto Van Der Sar.
“Most of the titles in the top 10 list are behind paywalls and are not distributed very widely. If TV companies offered them online to a broader audience, piracy would be lower than it is now.
“But I’m not sure that would be best for their revenues as they rely on expensive subscriptions which they still sell a lot of. If they allowed people to download individual episodes from Netflix, for example, they might not make as much money.”
The latest effort to combat piracy is a newly announced action plan by Russia and the US.
It involves the two countries:
Co-ordinating efforts with rights holders and law enforcement agencies to force copyright infringing content off the net and take action against those responsible for putting it online.
Pledging to seize and destroy equipment used to make the pirated files.
Working together on legislation, including plans for a Russian law to make ISPs liable for piracy carried over their networks.
“Intellectual property rights not only protect our creators and innovators, but also promote foreign investment, economic development, and job creation,” said US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
It follows success at introducing other anti-piracy action over the past year.
A series of website blackouts and protests led to the US’s House of Representatives abandoning its Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) and the Senate its Protect Intellectual Property Act (Pipa) in January.
An attempt to bring in an international treaty – the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) – was also derailed after the European Parliament rejected it in July.
However, more recently countries have signaled they intend to press forward with anti-piracy efforts,
In September, Japan changed the law to introduce a maximum two year jail sentence for users found guilty of downloading pirated files.
Major ISPs in the US have announced plans to launch a “six strikes system” early next year, under which suspected pirates would be sent a series of warning letters before facing bandwidth throttling and other punitive measures. And the UK also plans to introduce a letter-writing scheme in 2013.
Many people especially in the UK will have heard and read about 24yr old Sheffield Hallam University student Richard O’Dwyer’s fight against extradition to the USA on a charge of copyright infringement over a linking site he made (TVShack.net) even though he has not been to America since he was 5 years old!
His mum Julia describes this as “The Fight of Our Lives” Richard if convicted in a US court could find himself in a Federal prison for up to 10 years and subject to a $250,000 fine. Though Richard and Julia are fighting against this disproportionate extradition and with no help from the British government who have rubber stamped Richard’s extradition, in reality hardly any British citizens have successfully fought extradition to the USA. You can find out more about Richard’s situation by following Julia on twitter @jrodwyer and have a look on her blog http://juliasblog-the-fight-of-our-lives.blogspot.co.uk/
Everything is stacked against Richard even though he has yet to have his appeal. Julia needs to plan for the worst in case Richard is extradited to the USA. Fighting extradition has been costly so far even though Richard’s legal costs have been funded by legal aid in the UK.
Sheffield student Richard O’Dwyer, 24, faces extradition to the US and up to 10 years in prison for alleged copyright offences after setting up a website with links to TV shows called TVShack.com. Here, he discusses why he set up the site; his arrest and detention; and the battle his family faces to keep him in the UK
TV Shack Admin Richard O’Dwyer “Almost Certain” To Be Extradited To US
The recent decision not to extradite hacker Gary McKinnon to the United States was considered by some as a sign of hope for the predicament of former TVShack admin Richard O’Dwyer. But while there is still a High Court appeal around the corner, things still don’t look good. Speaking with TorrentFreak, Richard’s mother says her son’s extradition is now “almost certain” which is forcing her to plan for a worst case scenario in which he is sent across the Atlantic with little notice. Can you help?
In 2011, Richard O’Dwyer was arrested by police for operating TVShack, a website that listed user-submitted links to TV-shows hosted on other websites.
Earlier this year UK Home Secretary Theresa May officially approved an extradition request from US authorities and ever since Richard and his mother Julia have battled against it. Their campaign has received high-profile support from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who characterized the case as a clash between civil liberties and the interests of the copyright industries.
Right now Richard is awaiting his appeal to the High Court against the decision of a judge in a lower court to allow his extradition to go ahead. That appeal is scheduled for December 4 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
Speaking with TorrentFreak, Julia O’Dwyer says the appeal will take place on a number of issues but mainly against the lower court judge’s decision.
“In order to proceed with an extradition the alleged conduct must be a crime punishable with more than 12 months in prison in both countries. Despite the Judge saying at the Oct/Nov hearings last year that we had a good strong legal argument supporting this (an opinion which was agreed by the prosecution Barrister), when considering his decision he strangely changed his mind and decided the other way,” Julia explains.
Since it was very similar in function, on many occasions Richard’s site TVShack has been compared to the now-defunct site TV-Links. The admins of TV-Links were also subjected to legal action but were cleared after a judge ruled that Section 17 of the European Commerce Directive 2000 afforded TV-Links a defense when it linked to other web sites. This ruling will form part of Richard’s appeal.
“We will be strengthening these arguments at appeal and as you might expect have sought expert IP opinion on the matter,” Julie adds.
Last week, UK Home Secretary Theresa May decided that alleged hacker Gary McKinnon would not be extradited to the US. She also announced that the government will make some changes to the existing extradition treaty, including the so-called Forum Amendment, which many viewed as good news for Richard’s case, but that’s not necessarily the case.
“This means that where an accused has committed all or a significant amount of the alleged conduct in the UK, then the courts will be able to decide whether they should be tried in the UK,” Julia explains.
“This is a major breakthrough and is what the campaigners for extradition reform have been fighting for for years. This would apply in Richard’s case but as the law has not yet been changed and I don’t know when it will, this is not likely to benefit Richard.”
While Julia notes that the UK government does technically have the power to apply the changes to Richard’s case, the McKinnon decision may mean that they choose not to.
“[The UK government] has just upset the US by keeping Gary Mckinnon here and they are already trying to sabotage any law changes planned by sending over a US Judge to give a lecture to the UK Parliament later this month,” she reveals.
Furthermore, while not a single US citizen has ever been extradited to the UK for a crime committed from the US, aside from the McKinnon decision Julia says that nearly all extraditions to the US of UK citizens (including those who have never set foot on US soil) have eventually gone ahead.
Faced with this bleak outlook, Julia informs TorrentFreak that she is “almost certain” that Richard will be extradited to the US. To this end she is now being forced to prepare for this worst-case scenario.
Fortunately, several people have already offered to finance or work for free on Richard’s case in the US but there are additional costs still to be met.
“There still remains the worry of financial costs in the US. There will be personal financial costs associated with travel to the US, accommodation and the cost of securing an address for Richard to live at in order to be allowed bail. These costs will have to be covered by me somehow,” Julia explains.
“What concerns me are the unknown additional costs which we could be faced with such as a large bail bond or an even more costly financial penalty running into hundreds of thousands of dollars if Richard were to be found guilty,” she adds.
To prepare for this eventuality, a supporter has set up a fighting fund for Richard on GoFundMe with an initial target of £25,000.
“This is a large amount to be raised and I know times are hard for many of us so with that in mind please donate only if you can afford to do so. Your online and public support has been invaluable and has helped get us through this dreadful situation,” Julia concludes.
The petition set up by Jimmy Wales attracted hundreds of thousands of signatures – the hope is that just a few percent of those people will donate one or two pounds, euros, or dollars each.
Businessman Howard Mann has been banned from selling Michael Jackson memorabilia and using the singer’s name online, after a US judge ruled he was guilty of copyright infringement.
District Judge Dean Pregerson granted an injunction blocking Howard Mann from using his sites including MJgives.com and michaeljacksonsecretvault.com.
The sites featured Michael Jackson video clips, art from This Is It and Jackson logos.
Businessman Howard Mann has been banned from selling Michael Jackson memorabilia and using the singer's name online
Michael Jackson’s estate sued Mann over copyright and unfair competition.
The estate holds the copyright to Michael Jackson’s image and music for the benefit of the singer’s mother Katherine and his three children.
Judge Pregerson said: “There is undisputed evidence that [Howard Mann] intended in bad faith to profit from use of Jackson’s name, by registering multiple domain names containing his name or the initials MJ to sell Jackson-related products.”
Howard Mann was not unknown to the Jackson family. He had worked with Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine on several projects since 2009.
These projects included a book published in 2010 entitled Never Can Say Goodbye, which featured recollections of her son, as well as a DVD and calendar containing exclusive photos and video.
All were sold through Howard Mann’s “secretvault” website.
Howard Mann said he obtained the rights to the material at a bankruptcy sale involving members of Michael Jackson’s family several years ago.
Michael Jackson estate executors John McClain and John Branca said in a statement they were “extremely pleased” with the court’s ruling which will prevent Howard Mann from “continuing to unlawfully profit from Michael Jackson and his intellectual property”.
A further court hearing on 4 September will decide how much Howard Mann will have to pay in damages to the Jackson estate.
Hollywood studios are calling on the courts to force the popular file-sharing site Hotfile offline following similar action against Megaupload.
Court papers unsealed this week reveal that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has filed a motion for a summary judgement.
If approved, the move could lead to action against the service without the need for a lengthy trial.
Hotfile says it removes copyright-infringing files on request.
Details of the development were revealed by Mediapost News and the Torrentfreak blog.
It marks the latest step in the Hollywood’s year-long legal effort to have Hotfile shut down.
The court papers name Disney, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros as the plaintiffs.
They claim that “Hotfile actively fosters the massive copyright infringement that fuels its business”, adding that “more than 90% of the files downloaded from Hotfile are copyright infringing, and nearly every Hotfile user is engaged in copyright infringement”.
The studios claim that Hotfile’s business model is “indistinguishable” from that of Megaupload and draw attention to its affiliate programme.
This offered users payments based on how many times their files had been downloaded. The studios claim this encouraged “the uploading of <<popular>> [i.e. infringing] content”.
Hollywood studios are calling on the courts to force the popular file-sharing site Hotfile offline following similar action against Megaupload
Panama-based Hotfile has claimed safe harbor protections under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
These offer sites immunity if they take down illegal material when asked and protect services such as YouTube from being forced offline if a member uploads someone else’s video.
However, the studios claim Hotfile does not qualify because it did not identify, keep track of or “terminate” repeat offenders. The movie makers say their own efforts to identify repeat offenders found that some had received 300 or more infringement notices.
The studios add that nearly all of Hotfile’s top affiliates who had received payments “were egregious repeat offenders”.
Hotfile website notes that it has made changes to “facilitate the identification of repeat infringers” and goes on to say it has become “more aggressive” about terminating accounts.
Hotfile adds that it has installed new “fingerprint” technology to block copyrighted files from being uploaded and has also changed the way its affiliate payments are calculated.
Although the case against Megaupload has yet to go to trial, the Media Industry Blog’s Mark Mulligan said the fact the site had been taken offline had given copyright holders fresh impetus to target other digital locker services.
“These lockers are the easiest target to hit to take out a very sizeable chunk of the piracy market,” Mark Mulligan said.
“If the service providers are serious about wanting to heed the industry’s concerns then instead of assuming that all of the content is legitimate until found otherwise, they should actually assume that most of the content is illegal and take action.
“Much of the content on these service is very high quality video files – how many consumers genuinely create large high definition videos of their own and upload them?”
However, Mark Mulligan warned that even if the studios succeed in shutting other lockers down – the victory might be short-lived.
“Closing such sites down will undoubtedly be a body blow to piracy, but the history of music piracy shows us that every time you close something down it’s like a game of digital whack-a-mole – another one pops up.”
US government has filed a formal request for the extradition of Kim Dotcom, Megaupload’s founder, in New Zealand.
Prosecutors had had 45 days to make the application following Kim Dotcom’s arrest in January. The papers also call for the extradition of three other senior members of Megaupload’ staff.
The members of Megaupload’ staff are accused of helping make it possible for users to illegally download copyrighted material through their file-sharing site.
They denied criminal misconduct.
New Zealand court officials said the papers were filed on Friday. An extradition hearing has been scheduled for 20 August.
US government has filed a formal request for the extradition of Kim Dotcom, Megaupload's founder, in New Zealand
The US has accused Megaupload’s staff of racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud among other charges.
Prosecutors allege that the website cost copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue.
However, Kim Dotcom has described the scale of the claim as “nonsense”, telling New Zealand’s Channel 3 News that: “I’m no piracy king, I offered online storage and bandwidth to users and that’s it.”
Kim Dotcom, a German national, was released on bail 12 days ago despite protests by the US that he posed an extreme flight risk.
However, a judge ruled that an electronic monitoring bracelet that he has to wear and the fact that his assets had been seized had reduced that risk.
Pending the hearing to determine if he should be sent to stand trial in the US, Kim Dotcom has been forbidden to use the internet and has been ordered to remain within the grounds of his leased Auckland estate.
Wire fraud and additional criminal copyright infringement counts have been added to the US case against file-sharing site Megaupload.
New details have emerged as officials filed a 90-page superceding indictment against the company and its founder Kim Dotcom.
Megaupload is accused of costing copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue.
The company says it was diligent in responding to pirated material.
In the indictment, the Department of Justice alleges that Megaupload organized the company’s computer system’s architecture around the “rapid and repeated distribution” of copyrighted works.
The company allegedly reproduced materials from other websites, including YouTube, and made them available on Megaupload.
The new wire fraud charges are based on communications from the company to copyright holders.
In those emails, defendants falsely represented that infringing content had been removed when it had not been removed, Justice Department officials say.
US prosecutors filed a 90-page superceding indictment against Megaupload and its founder Kim Dotcom
The document also highlights one account holder that uploaded 16,950 files to sites the company owned, generating more than 34 million page views over the course of six years.
User “VV” was subject to numerous requests for removal, but records show no deletions of any of VV’s uploaded files.
Megaupload paid user VV $3,400 through its rewards programme over the course of two years.
The indictment also contends that Megaupload did not have as many registered users as they claimed, and that of the 66 million registered accounts, only 5.4 million had ever uploaded a file to the service.
The Department of Justice has also added various properties, jet skis and jewellery to the list of assets subject to forfeiture.
Earlier this month, Kim Dotcom was denied bail in New Zealand.
Kim Dotcom has denied the charges and has said he would fight an extradition application by the US.
Hackers group Anonymous launched a massive cyber attack against U.S. government and anti-piracy websites yesterday in response to Megaupload.com shut down.
Megaupload.com, one of the world’s biggest file-sharing services has been shut down by U.S. authorities and its founder and several company executives were arrested on charges of violating privacy laws.
Federal prosecutors have accused it of costing copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue. The firm says it was diligent in responding to complaints about pirated material.
In response, the hackers group Anonymous has targeted the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice websites.
The news came a day after anti-piracy law protests, but investigators said they were ordered two weeks ago.
Hackers group Anonymous launched a massive cyber attack against U.S. government and anti-piracy websites yesterday in response to Megaupload.com shut down
The U.S. Justice Department said that Megaupload’s two co-founders Kim Dotcom, formerly known as Kim Schmitz, and Mathias Ortmann were arrested in Auckland, New Zealand along with two other employees of the business at the request of US officials.
It added that three other defendants were still at large.
“This action is among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States and directly targets the misuse of a public content storage and distribution site to commit and facilitate intellectual property crime,” said a statement posted on its website.
The FBI website was intermittently unavailable on Thursday evening due to what officials said was being “treated as a malicious act”.
The hackers’ group Anonymous said it was carrying out the attacks.
The Motion Picture Association of America’s website also suffered disruption.
The charges included, conspiracies to commit racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering.
A federal court in Virginia ordered that 18 domain names associated with the Hong Kong-based firm be seized.
The Justice Department said that more than 20 search warrants had been executed in nine countries, and that approximately $50 million in assets had been seized.
It claimed that the accused had pursued a business model designed to promote the uploading of copyrighted works.
“The conspirators allegedly paid users whom they specifically knew uploaded infringing content, and publicized their links to users throughout the world,” a statement said.
“By actively supporting the use of third-party linking sites to publicize infringing content, the conspirators did not need to publicize such content on the Megaupload site.
“Instead, the indictment alleges that the conspirators manipulated the perception of content available on their servers by not providing a public search function on the Megaupload site and by not including popular infringing content on the publicly available lists of top content downloaded by its users.”
Before it was shut down the site posted a statement saying the allegations against it were “grotesquely overblown”.
“The fact is that the vast majority of Mega’s internet traffic is legitimate, and we are here to stay,” it added.
“If the content industry would like to take advantage of our popularity, we are happy to enter into a dialogue. We have some good ideas. Please get in touch.”
The announcement came a day after thousands of websites took part in a “blackout” to protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has defended the proposed laws saying that enforcement agencies “lack the tools” to effectively apply existing intellectual property laws to the digital world.
Industry watchers suggest this latest move may feed into the wider debate.
“Neither of the bills are close to being passed – they need further revision. But it appears that officials are able to use existing tools to go after a business alleged to be inducing piracy,” said Gartner’s media distribution expert Mike McGuire.
“It begs the question that if you can find and arrest people who are suspected to be involved in piracy using existing laws, then why introduce further regulations which are US-only and potentially damaging?”
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