New Zealand: Notorious video pirate is fined NZ$2,500

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Prior to the 2012 shutdown of the file-sharing site Megaupload, New Zealand’s Government Communication Security Bureau (GCSB) had been monitoring the personal communications of Kim Dotcom, operator of that site, as part of a request by the United States.  He and some associates had been living there.

He claimed that this surveillance was illegal and filed a civil suit for damages.  New Zealand’s Supreme Court has declined to hear the case and has fined Dotcom NZ$2,500 for expenses.  The Court agreed with a lower court reasoning, that public disclosures relating to the surveillance would “harm national security and international relations.”

A separate New Zealand Supreme Court decision is still pending, as to whether Dotcom will be extradited to the United States to face copyright infringement charges there for operating Megaupload.  He has fought extradition through the New Zealand court system for years, but this decision may come soon.

Read further details at Complete Music Update

Why it matters

Megaupload, a file sharing site that was shut down nearly a decade ago, was one of the world’s older and more notorious cases of digital media piracy.  In its heyday, Megaupload was estimated to make up about 4% of all traffic on the Internet – which, in 2012, was a much smaller place than it is today.

In its criminal indictment of Megaupload, the US District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia estimated that Megaupload generated “more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and cause(d) more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners.”

The site was siezed by US in January 2012. Its founder, Kim Dotcom and several co-defendants related to the site migrated to New Zealand, where they were arrested by New Zealand officials acting on a request from the US FBI, imprisoned, and later released.

Read the court summary of the Megaupload case: United States v. Kim Dotcom, et al, Crim. No. 1:12CR3 (E.D. Va. O’Grady, J.)

Read the criminal indictment from the US District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia.

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