Police violated numerous laws in New Zealand when pursuing their case against Kim Dotcom and MegaUpload, Dotcom’s lawyer Ira P. Rothken said during a panel at the SF Musictech Summit in San Francisco Tuesday, which is why he is hoping that the case will soon be dismissed in its entirety. There has been a trail of illegality,” Rothken said, adding: “We strongly believe MegaUpload will win this case.”
Rothken was joined on the panel by EFF staff attorney Julie Samuels, whose organization is interceding in the proceedings on behalf of a MegaUpload user. The user is attempting to get access to his data, which was taken offline as part of the raid on MegaUpload’s U.S. data center earlier this year. Samuels agreed that the case looks pretty good for Dotcom overseas, stating: “The case is procedurally falling apart in New Zealand.” The situation is a little different in the U.S., in part because the warrants used to raid MegaUpload’s file hoster Carpathia are still under seal.
Samuels put the proceedings against MegaUpload into the context of other take-down cases against other websites, including Rojadirecta. “There is this lack of due process,” she lamented, saying that the government often relies on information from organizations like the RIAA to seize domains, only to turn them back over 12 to 18 months later if a site owner fights back. The problem is, she added, that many of the affected site owners don’t have the means or willingness to go to court against the government. “We are lucky that MegaUpload is in the position to fight back,” she said.
Dotcom has been working on bringing back MegaUpload, as well as launch a new cloud music service called Megabox. Rothken said that he was working on Megabox even before the raid. “Megabox was designed to cut out the large middle man and to allow artists to monetize their music directly with the consumer,” Rothken said, adding: “Days before Megabox was rolled out, the raid on MegaUpload occured.”
However, Rothken reminded his audience Tuesday that this isn’t just about the legality of a cloud storage business, but aslo about real-life consequences for Dotcom and his co-defendants. “(This) is more than just a case for them. Their liberty is at stake,” he said.