And here goes an excerpt of the coverage on The Next Web.
The legal team supporting Kim Dotcom argue that Megaupload was used to share a “spectrum of content” including family photographs, academic coursework and files, including videos and music, that was purchased through legal means.
It admits that some of these files including potentially infringing material, but maintains that the case against Megaupload is “grounded in a theory of criminal secondary copyright infringement.”
“In other words, the prosecution seeks to hold Megaupload and its executives criminally responsible for alleged infringement by the company’s third-party cloud storage users,” the team claims.
“The problem with the theory, however, is that secondary copyright infringement is not – nor has it ever been – a crime in the United States. The federal courts lack any power to criminalize secondary copyright infringement; the United States Congress alone has such authority, and it has not done so.”
Kim Dotcom has called for an investigation into the FBI case against Megaupload in a legal review which accuses Prime Minister John Key of being misled by the United States.
The “White Paper” released by Mr Dotcom last night also alleges the illegal spying by the GCSB went on for 10 days longer than the spy bureau has previously admitted.
The 39-page document written by his legal team aims to dissect the FBI investigation against him and three Megaupload colleagues arrested on criminal copyright charges last year. It is entitled “Megaupload, the Copyright Lobby, and the Future of Digital Rights: The United States versus You (and Kim Dotcom)”.
It calls for investigations by US Senate oversight committees, linking the motives for the prosecution to Hollywood studios’ political contributions and support for President Barack Obama.
The paper was released at midnight New Zealand time, coinciding with the visit to New Zealand of United States Attorney General Eric Holder, the head of the US Department of Justice under which the FBI exists. The office of NZ Attorney General Chris Finlayson, QC, confirmed the Megaupload case would be discussed with Mr Holder.
Dotcom’s White Paper stated the case against Megaupload was “propelled by the White House’s desire to mollify the motion picture industry in exchange for campaign contributions and political support”.
It said the Motion Picture Association of America’s membership were “some of the Democratic Party’s strongest political supporters and most generous campaign contributors”.
The paper linked Vice-President Joe Biden to fellow Democrat and former friend and Senator Chris Dodd, now head of the MPAA.
“Together they conceived and executed the attack on Megaupload,” it claimed.
Today we are proud to announce the launch of the White Paper “Megaupload, the Copyright Lobby, and the Future of Digital Rights: The United States vs. You (and Kim Dotcom). The paper is available to the public right here.
The paper not only explores the numerous legal problems with the prosecution’s case, it also argues that a condition of State Capture has emerged with the Hollywood Lobby (MPAA) enjoying excessive influence over areas of public policies and institutions of government, turning them into instruments to further their own profits. This insiduous relationship has created a very dangerous set of conditions for the future of digital rights for all internet users, as the U.S. government moves forward in its determination to be a unilateral, non-accountable regulatory and censor of the global internet.
The text of today’s press release is contained below:
TODAY: Tens of thousands gather for opposition rally, few detained; opposition volunteer killed; Levada Centre told to register as ‘foreign agent’; Kerry visits Moscow to discuss Syria; Lebedev trial begins; Beltyukov suspended.
An estimated 20,000 people gathered in Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square yesterday, calling for the release of political prisoners being held for participating in opposition activities. Police estimates put the number of protesters at 8,000 (the same number estimated for the much larger 2012 protest), with other estimates ranging between 10,000 and 50,000. ‘I thought there would be more of us here. Lots of people are afraid, I guess.’ RFE/RL has press images of the protest, and the New York Times has compiled various social media images and tweets. Only a handful of people were detained. Anti-corruption blogger and opposition figurehead, Alexei Navalny, who is currently facing trial for his political activities, took to a stage to address the crowd, urging protesters to ‘throw [Putin] out of the Kremlin’ and chanting ‘Russia will be free!‘ (His full speech was translated and is available here.) The protest went ahead despite the death of Maxim Melkov, a volunteer who was killed whilst installing sound equipment for the stage; proceedings opened with a minute of silence for him. Organising committees for the pro-Kremlin All-Russia People’s Front are to be opened in all regions before the end of the month.
TODAY: Protesters gear up for May 6 anniversary march; poll says Russians believe Navalny trial is corrupt; Putin praises Kirill as 4 million gather for Easter mass; bird group branded ‘foreign agent’; Moscow official shot dead; missing plane found.
As some protesters await trial and others remain under house arrest for taking part in protests on Bolotnaya Square on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s inauguration last May 6, the opposition are preparing to hold another major demonstration today. A small pre-march rally of a reported 400-1,000 people was held in Moscow last night, calling for the release of those detained. No one was arrested. The main demand of today’s march, according to the Opposition Coordination Council, ‘is to immediately release all Bolotnoye prisoners and other political prisoners’, and organisers are expecting a bigger event than the 30,000-strong protest that has been sanctioned. According to a new Levada Centre poll, more than half of Russians believe that the judge overseeing the trial of Alexei Navalny will face government pressure, and almost half believe that he will be convicted. Over 4 million people took part in a late-night mass on Saturday to celebrate the Orthodox Easter Sunday, which was yesterday, and which provided Vladimir Putin with an opportunity to express gratitude for the ‘selfless labour’ and ‘personal contribution’ of Patriarch Kirill in ‘solving the most pressing issues of culture’. The father of jailed Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova insists that his daughter is a more mature and wiser person as a result of her imprisonment.
This week I had the pleasure of being interviewed for ABC Australia for a segment exploring the 2009 cholera crisis in Zimbabwe and the plight of my client, Georges Tadonki, who tried to blow the whistle but was severely punished by his superiors.
We recently won a landmark case in the UN Dispute Tribunal, but now those same UN officials are appealing, showing no end to their sense of impunity and outright cruelty.
You can watch this ABC report here – highly recommended.
TODAY: China slams Russia-Japan cooperation; E.U. considers Magnitsky sanctions, Ireland abandons similar plans after adoptions ban threat; psychologists push for completion of U.S. adoptions; unsolved journalist murders put Russia on CPJ list; Surkov defends Skolkovo; self-taught diplomacy.
A spokesperson for China’s Communist Party has slammed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent visit to Russia as ‘a naive attempt to contain China’, supposedly spurred by Chinese concerns about Russo-Japenese energy tie-ups. India’s liquefied natural gas importer, Petronet, is seeking a supply deal with Gazprom to diversify imports. Oil output came close to another post-Soviet record last month. The European Union is considering adopting a sanctions list for Russian officials, akin to America’s Magnitsky List, but Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that rumours about a crisis in relations with the E.U. are ‘extremely exaggerated’. An open letter by Russia’s top child psychologists appeals to Vladimir Putin to allow the completion of around 100 adoptions of Russian children by U.S. parents which were already in process when the ban was introduced. Ireland has dropped its plans to impose Magnitsky List-style sanctions on Russian officials, after Russia countered by threatening to ban Irish adoptions of Russian children.
TODAY: Tens of thousands join pro-Kremlin May Day celebrations, Putin hands out Soviet-style awards; media freedom at a ten-year low; U.S. pushing for support on Syria; former Duma deputy charged with attacking a police officer; Olympic champion loses medal over doping.
In what was supposed to be ‘a demonstration of Putin’s power’, yesterday’s May Day celebrations saw hundreds of thousands of people gathering all over Russia to join various pro-Kremlin and state-sponsored marches. Police estimated that 90,000 people marched in Moscow (upping their earlier estimates of 70,000), and 150,000 in St. Petersburg, with larger marches in Chechnya. The Communist Party held a smaller opposition rally in Moscow. The Guardian has some video of the processions in Moscow which, says one participant, are held in honour of ‘the future’. 200,000 police were deployed all over Russia to ensure order, with 10,000 active in Moscow alone. Putin marked the day’s celebrations by handing out Soviet-style Hero of Labour awards to a neurosurgeon, a machine operator, a mining foreman, and the director of the Mariinsky Theatre.
TODAY: May Day demonstrations planned; Agora claims 267 rights organisations subjected to raids; Surgutneftegas and transparency; Skolkovo sues Ilya Ponomaryov; Ukraine and Putin; Gazprom and Europe; U.S. praises cooperation; flights suspended over Syria; Perm blaze owner sentenced.
Roughly 1.7 million people are planning to take part in May Day demonstrations today in over 1,000 Russian cities and towns, according to a trade union representative; gay rights activists are planning to hold ‘Rainbow Mayday’ demonstrations in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The Moscow mayor’s office says it won’t sanction an Opposition Coordination Council march for next Tuesday, arguing that ‘holding a rally on a working day is impossible’. Rights group Agora says that activists have allegedly registered 267 inspections of NGOs all over Russia since the process began in March – itself included. Agora says it will not comply with ‘unlawful’ demands to register as a ‘foreign agent’. The Memorial rights center, also called upon to register as a ‘foreign agent’, plans to ignore the request. Surgutneftegas’s disclosure of mammoth cash reserves has underlined ‘the lack of transparency that continues to weigh on the state-dominated sector,’ says Reuters. Duma lawmaker and opposition member Ilya Ponomaryov is being sued by the Skolkovo Foundation, for as yet unspecified claims relating to a disputed contract for lecturing and research work.
There’s an incisive piece by Leonid Bershinsky on Bloomberg today, which discusses the intricacies of the two fraud cases against anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, who – by the state’s own admission – is the subject of persecution thanks to his political activities. Bershinsky puts the charges into the context of a wider business perspective, thereby calling their absurdity into plain view. Navalny is effectively being persecuted for normal business activity, he says.
The cases have attracted attention both for their political motivation and for their troubling portrayal of the normal business activities of an intermediary as a felony. “It is time for the people on the Forbes rich list to take to Red Square with signs saying ’The Navalny Case Is a Case Against Me,’” Maxim Mironov, an economist at the IE Business School in Madrid, wrote on Slon.ru. “If one looks at them closely, both the Kirovles case and the postal case regard as a crime the principle ’buy cheap, sell dearly.’ And this is the basic principle of the market economy.”