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MegaUpload founder: Copyright charges include songs I own

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, March 26, 2012 17:24 EDT
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MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom. Photo: AFP.
 
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MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom, the eccentric New Zealand millionaire accused of running the largest copyright theft operation in history, told a technology publication Monday that he is readying an “entertaining” motion in response to the U.S. government’s charges against him.

One of the main charges, he told Torrent Freak in an exclusive interview, alleges that Kim uploaded an audio file of a song by rapper .50 Cent, then shared it with his colleagues. The indictment adds that the email he used to share the song is also part of the prosecution’s evidence.

Dotcom told Torrent Freak that he actually owned the file, purchased legally, and that a link to it was only sent to his colleagues to test the website’s new email feature. Dotcom added that it was downloaded zero times, and that he had originally posted it in 2006 — meaning the statute of limitations has expired. He further claimed that a Louis Armstrong song mentioned in the indictment was legally obtained.

Dotcom added that evidence which seems to portray him as refusing to cooperate with film studio Warner Brothers actually proves that he was more than willing to work with copyright holders to remove infringing content from his service.

“The indictment contained an email in which I suggested to provide Warner Bros. with a limited number of deletes per day,” he said. “In fact, days later Warner Bros. got the maximum quota of 100,000 deletes per day.”

He added that Warner Bros. deleted more than 1 million files from MegaUpload using the site’s built-in infringement reporting tool.

He went on to claim that over 15,000 members of the U.S. military used MegaUpload, most of them likely sharing photos and videos with loved ones. Many other users held accounts, and even paid for them, to exchange non-infringing materials over a long distance without the need for portable physical storage media, like a CD, DVD or memory stick.

His motion in response to the charges remains pending, but Dotcom added that it would be rather “entertaining” to read, and promised that it would come soon.

It’s not yet clear if his allegations will be backed up by his evidence, but a more detailed rundown should become available with his forthcoming motion. A judge in New Zealand ruled just last week that police seized his assets with a bogus warrant, which authorities had acknowledged by filing for another warrant after the fact, seeking to make it retroactive. If the judge decides to deny the retroactive warrant request, Dotcom could see all his assets returned to him.

U.S. music and movie studios claim that MegaUpload facilitated more than $500,000 in damages by allowing its users to upload and share copyrighted materials, but MegaUpload says it was a “cyber-locker,” which allows users to store anything as a “private upload.” Kim Dotcom was arrested and granted bail, but remains on house arrest pending an extradition request by U.S. authorities.

The charges against MegaUpload are not dissimilar to those against another cyber-locker website called HotFile. Film studios sued HotFile last year and claim that it is a haven for media piracy, but HotFile’s defense claims it is protected by copyright law because it works with content creators to remove infringing content. Search giant Google recently weighed in on that case, saying that HotFile did nothing different than what it does by responding to copyright holders in a timely manner to remove their content.

In a brief filed on HotFile’s behalf, Google’s lawyers explain that the studios are attempting to mislead the courts by claiming that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act requires blind hosts like HotFile to actively police their users’ activities. They instead say that it is incumbent upon copyright holders to search out infringing activities and report them to the hosting company, which would then be required to remove links to those files.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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